Mahoning Township police were called to the WalMart Supercenter on Route 443 at 8:53 p.m. Monday, where store security workers were chasing a man they believed shoplifted a laptop computer. The man, later identified as Robert E. Stalter, Jr., 38, of the 600 block of West Diamond Ave. Hazleton, fled in a maroon Nissan Pathfinder.
Police spotted the car on Route 443 and tried to stop it, but the driver kept going, heading west as police gave chase, lights flashing and sirens sounding. Stalter led police up Route 902, onto Mill Road and then onto Leininger Road before he ran out of gas.
Stalter got out of the car and ran into the woods, where police caught him. Stalter refused to comply with police demands, and police used a Taser to subdue him, Chief Kenneth Barnes wrote in a news release issued Tuesday morning.
After being arrested, Stalter was taken to Gnaden Huetten Hospital, Lehighton. He was admitted to the hospital because he had allegedly been using drugs, possibly crack cocaine, and needed to have his heart functions monitored.
Stalter was served with a criminal complaint charging him with retail theft, fleeing or eluding a police officer, driving under the influence of a controlled substance, and reckless and careless driving. Also, it was learned that there is an outstanding warrant from the Luzerne County Probation and Parole Department for a violation of probation.
At the time of this release (approximately 9:45 a.m.), Stalter was still in Gnaden Huetten, under guard by a Mahoning Township police officer, waiting for his discharge and subsequent arraignment.
Lehighton, Summit Hill, Lansford and West Penn Township police departments also reportedly assisted in the matter.