Police find fugitive hiding in mom's attic
KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua Patrolman Tom Rodgers prepares to transport Keith D. Neff, 29, to the Schuylkill County Prison after an arraignment before District Judge Stephen Bayer, Tamaqua. Neff was wanted on a felony warrant in connection with a burglary at his grandmother's Tamaqua apartment.
A Tamaqua man wanted on a felony burglary warrant was apprehended early Thursday morning after officers learned where he was hiding.
Keith D. Neff, 29, was taken into custody after he was discovered hiding in the attic of his mother's home. Police also charged his mother, Gladys B. Neff, 56, of 119 Pine St., in connection with the incident.
The incident began Wednesday night when officers were asked to check on a property at 307 Arlington St. The owners had received information that someone was in the home when it should have been empty.
Officers responded at 10:56 p.m., along with one of the owners, and discovered two people, Crystal Milner and Jake Bynon, inside. The duo said they had permission from the absent tenant's girlfriend. They were advised the girlfriend did not have the authority to grant such permission and both left the premises. Before leaving Bynon told officers that Neff was also in the home.
A room to room search was conducted but Neff was not found.
One of the owners decided to stay overnight to ensure the residence was not re-entered.
At 2:40 a.m. Thursday, the owner was roused from sleep by a woman, identified as Gladys Neff, knocking on the door. Ms. Neff said she was there to retrieve her son's clothes. She was told to return at a decent hour. Minutes later Keith Neff walked down the interior steps and said he had been hiding upstairs from the police. He took several bottles of medicine from the refrigerator and left. The owner immediately contacted police.
Officer Tom Rodgers went to Ms. Neff's apartment and was told the son was not there. Despite the officer explaining he knew she had been at the Arlington Street address and that a felony warrant had been issued for Keith Neff, she continued to deny any knowledge or involvement with her son. Inside the Neff home, Rodgers and Rush Township Patrolman Kyle Rehatchek conducted a room to room search and discovered Keith Neff's medication, cell phone, wallet and clothing, indicating he had been inside. Additional officers arrived, including Tamaqua Patrolman Michael Hobbs, Coaldale Patrolman Keith Krapf and Tamaqua Police Chief Dave Mattson.
Keith Neff was found in the attic, stuffed in a small space surrounded by neatly stacked boxes. He refused to cooperate with officers and had to be forcibly removed from the hiding space.
Both Neffs were arraigned before District Judge Stephen Bayer, Tamaqua, later in the morning.
Ms. Neff was charged with hindering the apprehension of a criminal. Bail was set at $25,000 unsecured.
Keith Neff was arraigned on charges of trespass and resisting arrest, as well as the charges connected to the felony warrant. Those charges include burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, and criminal mischief in connection with a June 9 incident, where he allegedly stole money and jewelry from his grandmother's apartment in the Tamaqua ABC High Rise. His bail was set at $25,000. Unable to post the required 10 percent, he was incarcerated in the Schuylkill County Prison, Pottsville.