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Man waves box cutter at 2 after stealing deodorant, police say

Published On: Sep 10 2013 11:50:13 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 10 2013 11:57:19 AM CDT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

A man took swings at a police officer and housing authority employee with an open box cutter after he was chased down for shoplifting deodorant products from a supermarket, officials said.

Albert Rivera Jr. attacked Ofc. Kristopher Shirk and Bethlehem Housing Authority fraud investigator Arthur "Bud" Gerlach with the open box cutter, trying to slash them in the neck and face, near the parking lot area of Marvine Elementary School, 1425 Livingston St., Bethlehem, late Monday morning, officials said.

Rivera was being chased by police after shoving David J. Vresics, the manager of Valley Farms Market, 1880 Stefko Boulevard, Bethlehem, into a sliding glass door when Vresics tried to stop him from leaving the store with several deodorant products hidden in his pants, officials said.

Rivera was in the store several times on Monday, and at least once, he took deodorant products from Valley Farms' Health and Beauty aisle, stuffed them in his pants, picked up and paid for a loaf of French bread and left, officials said.

Several of the deodorant products dropped from Rivera's pants during the scuffle with Vresics, which knocked the siding door off its track, officials noted.

Rivera began brandishing the box cutter as he ran through the Valley Farms parking lot, across Jill Street and into a back yard with store employees in pursuit, officials said.

More police arrived on the scene after Rivera threatened Ofc. Shirk and Gerlach with the open box cutter, and they fought with Rivera before taking him into custody, officials said.

Rivera had 19 stolen deodorant products on him when he was arrested, and another 50 were found in a green canvas bag in a black Jeep Cherokee Rivera had driven to Valley Farms, officials said.

In total, Rivera stole 76 deodorant items worth $421.92 from Valley Farm, officials noted.

Rivera, 36, of 402 South 15th St., Allentown, was arraigned on charges of aggravated and simple assault, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, harassment, criminal mischief, retail theft possessing a prohibited offensive weapon and disorderly conduct.

He was committed to the Northampton County Prison on $150,000 bail, according to court documents.

A preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. Sept. 18.