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Lehighton man’s bail set at $200K in No. 9 mine break-in

A district judge set bail at $200,000 for a Lehighton man who broke into the No. 9 Coal Mine in Lansford, threatened workers and barricaded himself 20 stories underground.

District Judge Casimir Kosciolek on Tuesday arraigned David Eisenhower, 43, on charges of burglary, causing catastrophe, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and defiant trespass.

Eisenhower, who holed up inside the mine for nearly 13 hours cutting a padlock to gain entry in the early morning hours of May 25, was medically cleared and remanded to the Carbon County Correctional Facility following his surrender.

He was unable to post bail following the arraignment, and remains in the county prison. Eisenhower was held over the holiday weekend on outstanding warrants. A preliminary hearing is scheduled June 7 before Kosciolek.

Workers at the mine found the cut lock, investigated the break-in and discovered someone was on a lower level of the mine, below the area open for tours, according to court papers. The area is normally secured by steel, fenced doors, which were broken, court papers said.

Eisenhower told workers that he had a gun and threatened to shoot anyone who came down a lift used to access the lower level, where he barricaded himself 20 stories below ground, arrest papers said.

Clothing was found on the path leading to the second level, and police believed that Eisenhower could be naked, arrest papers said. They also believed he had started or attempted to start a fire to keep warm due to the heavy smoke coming up from his position, arrest papers said.

Lansford police along with personnel from the state Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Mine Safety, Carbon County Emergency Management and county detectives’ office, and the Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team responded.

State police and mine experts entered the mine after 2 p.m. and brought Eisenhower out just before 4:30 p.m.

Eisenhower emerged from the mine train car and walked to a waiting ambulance. He was taken to a hospital to be evaluated and treated for possible hypothermia, given the cold, wet conditions inside the mine.

Police did not recover a gun, and said it may be impossible to find one hidden in the depths of the mine.

Officials stand outside the No. 9 Coal Mine in Lansford on May 25. A Lehighton man has been charged with breaking into the mine that day. KELLY MONITZ SOCHA/TIMES NEWS