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Police: man who punched guard surrenders

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 04 2013 09:32:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 04 2013 11:03:59 PM CDT

Police say a man who shoplifted at the Berkshire Mall and then punched a female security guard in the face has turned himself in.

Police say a man who shoplifted at the Berkshire Mall and then punched a female security guard in the face has turned himself in. Detectives say back on August 15th Robert Emerich stole a power washer from Sears. But that was not his first arrest for theft. In this case, they say Emerich also used violence, something they are seeing more and more of.

"He is what we call a regular. So he knew what was going to happen to him when he turned himself in. So there was no surprises here for him," said Wyomissing Police Detective George Bell.

Detective Bell says retail thefts are becoming more serious than they used to be. In fact, police had some information that Emerich was violent during a previous retail theft, but he was never charged.

"Our normal run of the mill retail thefts, we would write tickets and leave. But now, they are becoming more violent because they do not want to go to jail. Especially the drug offenders, they know they have to go cold turkey when they get to jail. So they will do anything not to get themselves arrested," said Bell.

Wyomissing Police alerted the public after the initial incident occurred. They say Emerich's parole officer identified him after seeing the security footage on 69 News. The female security guard also picked him out of a lineup. Emerich was booked and is at the Berks County Prison. He is facing various charges including retail theft, robbery and assault.