HATFIELD TWP. PA Feb 2 2017 A 26-year-old Towamencin man is behind bars and charged with robbery and other offenses for allegedly stealing items from a Hatfield Township supermarket and getting into a physical altercation with store employees who tried to stop him, according to police.
Erik Matthew Detwiler, of the 1100 block of Sumneytown Pike, has been charged with two counts of felony robbery, one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, and several summary offenses, including disorderly conduct, retail theft, receiving stolen property and harassment, in connection with the alleged Jan. 27 incident.
Hatfield police said in an affidavit of probable cause that shortly before 4:30 that afternoon, cops responded to the ShopRite at 170 Forty Foot Road for a report of a man involved in a fight with supermarket security.
Upon arrival, police found Detwiler in handcuffs on the floor inside the store security office with two employees holding him down, according to the affidavit. Detwiler allegedly told police there was ShopRite property inside his jacket and his backpack but said that since he hadn’t actually left the store, “he didn’t feel he stole the items,” the affidavit states.
A store loss prevention supervisor told police he’d observed Detwiler placing merchandise inside his backpack and then walk out of the main entrance, then confronted Detwiler and told him to accompany him to the security office, court documents state. When he took Detwiler by the arm, Detwiler tried to pull away, and he had to push Detwiler into the office and place him in a chair as two other store employees came in, according to the affidavit.
Detwiler then got up and tried to escape the office, but the store employees managed to take him to the ground and secure him with handcuffs, although during the struggle Detwiler damaged a nearby storage box and a plastic bin, police said.
After searching Detwiler’s jacket and backpack, police recovered numerous items he’d allegedly stolen, including bottles of Axe body spray, Tylenol, salt, a jar of mayonnaise, mouthwash, shredded cheese, cooking spray and a Krispy Kreme-scented candle, according to court documents. The total value of the items was $72.72.
Cops said they also found in Detwiler’s wallet a small glassine baggie stamped with black penguins that had “a trace amount of a white, granular substance” inside. According to the affidavit, Detwiler admitted that he injects narcotics, and police observed needle marks on his forearms.
Court documents indicate Detwiler was charged with robbery because “in the course of committing a theft of merchandise...(he) did intentionally put (a store employee) in fear of immediate bodily injury” and that “in the course of stealing items from the ShopRite, (Detwiler) did physically take or remove property from (a store employee) by force, however slight, namely pulling away from him and trying to push past him to escape.”
Detwiler is being held at Montgomery County jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail — as a well as a probation violation detainer that currently blocks his release — while awaiting a Feb. 10 preliminary hearing in Lansdale district court.