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Matthew Strohl commits carjacking in front of off-duty police officer

Published On: Mar 11 2013 04:13:05 PM EDT

A man was captured shortly after committing a carjacking in front of an off-duty police officer, officials said.

Matthew E. Strohl was taken into custody after he tried to run away from police officers who had spotted him in the parking lot of the Kmart at 3843 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem Twp., Northampton Co., a short time after he committed a carjacking across the street in the Walmart parking lot at 3926 Nazareth Pike at about 4:15 p.m. Friday, officials said.

The carjacking victim, Meeta Verma, told police she was waiting to park her 1999 Mercury minivan when Strohl jumped into the passenger's side, officials said, adding that Verma jumped out and started screaming as Strohl drove off.


Strohl abandoned the minivan a short distance away, near the Burger King at the entrance to the shopping center, officials added.

An off-duty police officer, Samuel Del Rosario, witnessed the car- jacking, and he and Verma identified Strohl as the culprit after he was captured, officials said.

Strohl was arraigned on charges of robbery of a motor vehicle, theft and receiving stolen property and committed to the Northampton County Prison on $5,000 bail, according to court documents.

A preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m., March 18.