A man charged by Lehighton Borough Police with burglarizing a pawnshop in the community reportedly told police he doesn't remember much about the incident; that he was high on bath salts at the time.
Douglas Ahner Jr., 29, who police said has no known address, was arraigned yesterday before District Judge Edward Lewis on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful taking, all (all felonies) and criminal mischief (a misdemeanor).
He was committed to Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 (10 percent) bail.
He allegedly burglarized the Time Will Tell store at 131 N. First St., Lehighton, at about 7:45 a.m. Sunday.
Some of his activity inside the Time Will Tell store was recorded on a surveillance video. Allegedly he attempted to damage some of the surveillance equipment but the actions were already recorded, police said.
The police investigation determined that it was Ahner who did the burglary. They were informed that he was at the Country Inn & Suites in Franklin Township.
Detective Mike Svetik of the Lehighton Police Department said there was concern that Ahner might be considering leaving the area, so it was agreed to arrest him there.
Svetik, Officer Scott Prebosnyak of the Lehighton Police Department, Franklin Township police, and troopers from the Lehighton barracks of the state police located Ahner in a room at the motel with his girlfriend. He was arrested without incident, Svetik said.
According to Svetik, the female has not been charged.
Svetik said Ahner told him he was on bath salts at the time of the burglary and didn't remember all the details. He appeared surprised by some of his actions when he was shown the video tape, Svetik said.
Bath salts, a hallucinogen which contain various potent chemicals, including mephedrone, a stimulant, have been banned in many states. They reportedly have effects similar to cocaine or methamphetamine.
On June 23, Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law which bans the sale of bath salts in the commonwealth.
The law takes effect 60 days after June 23, but Corbett and state lawmakers called on stores to stop selling the designer drugs immediately. More than 20 states have already banned bath salts.
The law makes conviction on a first offense for delivery or intent to deliver the designer drugs punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and $15,000 fine. Conviction for possessing the drugs is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Svetik said Ahner told him he purchased the bath salts in the Allentown area. The detective added that unfortunately, they aren't banned yet.
A preliminary hearing on Ahner is tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday in front of Lewis.
The police officer said there are also charges pending against Ahner for an apartment burglary which occurred near the Time Will Tell store.