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Alleged beef jerky theft nets driving charges

Published February 23. 2013 09:02AM

Timothy Morales Jr., 20, of 110 E. Nesquehoning St., Easton, faces charges from an incident which took place on Dec. 3 at 6:32 p.m. at Boyer's Market, Lansford. Charges of retail theft, driving under suspension, and careless driving were filed by Officer Christopher Ondrus.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what happened:

At 6:32 p.m,., Ondrus received a call about a retail theft at Boyer's, and that the suspects had driven away in a white Subaru Outback, possibly headed for Summit Hill. Ondrus was unable to find the car, and went to the store to talk with employees.

He spoke with managers Deborah Strausser and Joseph Knepper. Knepper knew Morales and identified him. Strausser said she saw Morales hold a bag of Jack Link beef jerky in his hand while in one of the aisles, then put the bag in his pants. She followed him into another aisle, where he met up with two females. Morales then went to the checkout, but did not pay for the jerky. He left the store. Strausser, Knepper and another employee, Ryan Porambo, went into the parking lot to confront him.

Morales was in the driver's seat, Genevieve Snyder in the passenger seat, and an unidentified female in the back seat. Strausser asked Morales several times to return the jerky and come back into the store, but he refused. She wrote down his license numbers.

Morales said, "If this is what you want, here it is," and threw the jerky into the parking lot and drove away, with the door still open. Strausser had to move back and pull Knepper back in order to avoid being hit. All three employees watched Morales drive away, turning onto West Patterson Street.

Knepper said he saw Morales with four packs of Wild Bill's beef jerky and one pack Jack Link beef jerky. When he confronted Morales, he only had the Jack Link jerky. Porambo said he saw Morales put two packs of jerky into his pants. He also saw him put a pack of full size BIC lighters in his pocket without paying for them.

The stolen items added up to $20.08.

The license plate revealed the car belongs to a woman at 430 E. Bertsch St., Lansford. Ondrus went to her house and was met by her granddaughter, Snyder. He asked her if she was aware of what had happened at Boyer's, and she said she didn't know of anything having been stolen until the confrontation in the parking lot. She said Morales was her boyfriend, but said she did not know where he was. She allowed Ondrus to search the house, but there was no sign of Morales. Ondrus asked her to call him when Morales showed up, but he never received a call.

On Dec. 17, he spoke with Snyder's grandmother at her home. He told her what happened, and that her car was involved. She told Ondrus that he and her granddaughter lived in the home, but were out. Ondrus asked her to have Morales contact him. Morales never did.

Ondrus called Morales' cell phone several times, but the mailbox was full and would not accept any new messages. Numerous attempts to contact Morales failed. A check on Morales' driver's license found it was suspended, and that he has a previous retail theft conviction, making this one a misdemeanor.

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