New Towne Mall theft escalates into robbery www.privateofficer.com
NEW PHILADELPHIA OH Nov 25 2011 — A shoplifting incident reported Tuesday afternoon at New Towne Mall became a robbery when the suspect pushed down a woman, injuring her, as he fled.
Dennis Bachtel, 23, of Canton, was being held in the city jail Tuesday night on an open felony charge.
Police Capt. Shawn Nelson said Bachtel has confessed to the incident, reported at about 2 p.m. at the Elder-Beerman store.
Nelson said Bachtel was apprehended quickly because of the availability of five officers who converged on the area quickly. The officers, he noted, were able to gather information by speaking to witnesses and the victim, and were assisted greatly by a hostess of the nearby Red Lobster Restaurant.
The hostess, whom Nelson credited with being alert and aware of her surroundings, informed him that she had seen a man without shoes get into a gold-colored car that was just leaving the Red Lobster parking lot.
Nelson said he jumped back in his cruiser, got behind the car, and stopped it before it was out of the mall parking lot area. Upon approaching the vehicle, Nelson discovered that the man didn’t have shoes on and was wet.
“I took him into custody, (read him his rights) and he’s already confessed that he’s the one that committed the … in his mind it’s a shoplifting, but it makes it a robbery because someone was injured in the commission of the offense,” Nelson said.
While searching the vehicle, which was later impounded, officers found other merchandise, which Bachtel confessed to stealing, and a heroin kit. “He admittedly is a heroin addict and attempting to feed his habit by stealing,” Nelson said.
The 63-year-old Gnadenhutten woman who was pushed down was treated in Union Hospital in Dover. Nelson said the woman suffered badly bruised ribs.
Mike Ernest, an assistant Tuscarawas County prosecutor, was consulted from the scene “and he was able to verify that the circumstances in this case sound like a felony robbery,” Nelson said.
A warrant is to be obtained, and the case ultimately would go before a grand jury.
Nelson added that Bachtel had taken a large mixer, valued at $300, and a pair of jeans from the Elder-Beerman store. He said store officials have recovered the items.
He noted that Bachtel had been in the mall earlier with his girlfriend and their four-month-old baby, both of whom were being left behind as he attempted to flee.