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A smashing rampage

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Lansford Police Chief John Turcmanovich, left, arrests Carl Stevens Jr. after Stevens smashed out all the windows in the police station and tax collector's office at 1 W. Ridge St.
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Lansford Police Chief John Turcmanovich, left, arrests Carl Stevens Jr. after Stevens smashed out all the windows in the police station and tax collector's office at 1 W. Ridge St.
Published March 14. 2013 05:02PM

A Nesquehoning man is behind bars today after taking a tire iron to every window in the Lansford police station Wednesday afternoon, smashing the glass door to the tax collector's office and a large adjacent window, and sitting down for a smoke while he waited to be arrested. He waved at Police Chief John Turcmanovich as he arrived.

But Carl Stevens Jr., 33, 48 Rhume St., whom police believe was under the influence of either drugs and/or alcohol, wasn't finished. When police took him to District Judge Casimir Kosciolek's office to be arraigned, he flipped over a desk and fought with police.

Later, he told police he did the damage because he wanted to go to jail.

Stevens, who has a lengthy criminal history, is charged with attempt of criminal trespass, institutional vandalism, one count of felony terroristic threats, one count of misdemeanor terroristic threats, possession of an instrument of a crime, resisting arrest, two counts of persistent disorderly conduct, and public drunkenness.

He's in Carbon County prison under $50,000 cash bail.

According to police, Stevens went on his smashing spree at 2:38 p.m. He smashed every window in the police station, which is on the ground floor of the borough building at 1 W. Ridge St.

The entire incident was captured on the borough's video surveillance system. On the video, Stevens is seen walking east on Ridge Street, and begins walking toward the police station. He walks up to the station, and begins smashing out the windows. He also begins prying at the main entrance door of the police station in an attempt to get inside, and hits the door of the station with the tire iron.

After smashing the windows of the police station, he went into the office of Tax Collector Daniel Wynn, and told everyone inside to stay back as he was going to smash out the door and window. Wynn and numerous residents were inside.

Stevens left the office and smashed the front door. He then went back into the tax office and left again. At that time, he smashed out the window. Stevens also attempted to smash out the glass doors to the entrance of the borough office, which is next door to the tax office, but was unsuccessful, police said.

Council President Rose Mary Cannon and secretary Jill Seigendall were inside the office at the time. Stevens then waited for police to arrive, sitting on the front steps, smoking a cigarette. He waved to the chief as he pulled up to him.

Lansford police were assisted by Summit Hill and Nesquehoning police departments.

Cannon later thanked everyone who helped clean up the mess Turcmanovich was still sweeping up shattered glass at 6:30 p.m.

"We're just fortunate it was only broken glass," she said.

Wynn said he called 911 as Stevens started smashing the police station windows. A few minutes before, Stevens had been sitting on a bench across the street, staring at the building.

"A maniac is smashing out all the windows in the police station," he told the dispatcher. Meanwhile, Stevens starts coming up the steps, Wynn said.

Three people, including an elderly man, were in his office at the time. Stevens, Wynn said, was "icy calm, but polite" as he asked people to move back.

"Would you gentlemen please stand back? I'm going to smash this glass," Stevens said, according to Wynn.

They moved back as Stevens, whom Wynn described as 6 feet, 1 inch tall and about 220 pounds, spoke.

The only time Stevens' tone changed to angry was when he asked, "Where are your police?" Wynn said.

He said that Stevens then went out and smashed the plate glass window. He then went next door to the borough offices, intending to smash the glass doors.

But before he could break the glass, Stevens spotted Turcmanovich coming.

He saw Turcmanovich, sat down and pulled a cigarette out of the pack and lit up.

"Do you mind if I finish my cigarette?" Wynn heard him say to the chief.

"Yes, I do. You're under arrest," Turcmanovich responded.

Wynn said he wasn't afraid, but that the incident was the last thing Lansford needed.

"Thousands of dollars in damage, and they'll never recover a penny from this lunatic," he said.

The Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System online records show that Stevens, who was born on Christmas Day in 1979, has racked up a series of criminal charges in Carbon and Schuylkill counties dating back to 1999. The charges range from theft to burglary to simple assault to prowling and loitering to furnishing alcohol to minors. The records also indicate Stevens moves around a lot, having lived in Lehighton in 1999, Pine Grove in 2003.

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