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Police make quick arrest after attempted robbery in Spring

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 05 2012 11:11:30 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 05 2012 05:43:36 PM CDT

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SPRING TWP., Pa. -

A Reading man was captured by police moments after a bizarre robbery attempt inside an insurance office.

The attempted holdup happened around 10:45 a.m. Friday at the State Farm Insurance office in the 2600 block of Penn Avenue in Spring Township.

"This person comes in here and he had a can of mace, but he could have had a gun in his pocket," said Merita Kissinger, while tears rolled down her cheek.

Kissinger was in the office when the attempted holdup happened. The sign on the door says, "No money is kept in this office," but police said a brazen bandit, wearing a black ski mask and armed with pepper spray, walked up to the counter.

"He asked me to give him the money, asked me to give him all we had," said Kissinger.

When Kissinger first opened the window in the office and saw the man's mask, she said she thought it was a client joking around, but when he pulled out a can of pepper spray, that's when she bolted into the next office.

"She said, 'Dial 911,' so I immediately dialed 911, but I was just shocked," said Maureen Cavallucci, who runs the Spring Township office.

The man left empty-handed, but Kissinger followed closely behind.

Jorge Gomez lives a block up the street, and saw what happened. He sprung into action and ran after the suspect, all the way across Penn Avenue.

"He said, 'Who are you?' and reached into his pocket and tried to pepper spray me. He got me on the back of my neck, and I just turned my head," said Gomez.

Police captured the masked man, identified as John Henry, over the railroad tracks near Cleveland Avenue, behind the Ranch House restaurant.

Henry, 54, of Reading, was charged with robbery criminal attempt theft, simple assault and possession of instruments of crime.