.

Police: $300 Worth of Copper Leads to Car Chase and Attempted River Escape

Lower Providence Police led the chase of alleged copper thieves, which ended in an attempted swim escape across the Schuylkill River.

Lower Providence Police report that the discovery of an attempted theft of approximately $300 worth of copper piping from the Collegeville Inn, resulted in a multi-municipal police car chase, after which, one of the suspects attempted to elude authorities by swimming across the Schuylkill River. 

The incident was reported on Dec. 28, when Lower Providence Police officer Jeremy Bonner was on routine patrol at approximately 9:32 a.m. The officer observed a length of rope hanging between the rear door of the Collegeville Inn, located at 4000 Ridge Pike in the Collegeville section of the township.

Upon investigating, the officer found the rope opened the door when pulled. Inside the doorway, a large amount of copper piping was placed. According to the report, the officer determined that someone may have entered the building and stripped the copper piping with the intention of returning at a later time to retrieve it.

After other Lower Providence Police officers arrived on the site, Bonner left and returned in an unmarked police vehicle to observe.

At approximately 10:50 a.m., Bonner reported a maroon-colored Ford Expedition stop directly in front of the door, where two men got out and proceeded to load the vehicle with the copper piping.

The two men were later identified as Kenneth Holmes, 43, of the 3800 block of Germantown Pike in Collegeville and Gerald Salvo, 42, of the 1200 block of Swede St. in Norristown.

The officer drew his service weapon after the two men saw his approach. The men failed to adhere to verbal commands given by the officer, instead they were reported to have entered the Ford Expedition and exit the parking lot. Bonner then reported the direction in which the vehicle fled.

Later police investigation found that the vehicle was traced to Holmes, who was also the driver.

 

Hot Pursuit

According to a supplemental report, Lower Providence Police Sgt. William Hopkins picked up the car pursuit, following the Expedition into Upper Providence Township, and soon involved officers from that township’s police department. The report states that while the vehicle did not exceed 50-miles-an-hour at this point, it did enter oncoming traffic lanes, disregarded red traffic signals and went around stopped traffic.

At approximately 11 a.m., along the 700 block of Collegeville Road, the vehicle slowed, and Salvo was reported to have disembarked. After a brief foot pursuit, police apprehended Salvo.

The Expedition was then reported to have continued onto Route 422, reaching speeds in excess of 75-miles-an-hour.  Continuing onto N. Gulph Road, the vehicle then entered Valley Forge National Historic Park, at which time Upper Merion Township Police and Valley Forge Park Rangers became involved in the chase.

Valley Forge Park Rangers set up a blockade near the Visitor’s Center, but the vehicle exited the park through grass.

The pursuit ended near Supplee Mansion, located near 1700 S. Trooper Road, where the driver stopped at the dead end at Betzwood Bridge. The report states that the driver exited the vehicle and fled on foot with officers still in pursuit. Holmes was then reported to have entered the Schuylkill River in an attempt to swim across. Officers persuaded him to turn around, and had him in custody at approximately 11:18 a.m.

According to Lower Providence Police, Holmes made a written statement to police of his involvement with the alleged copper pipe theft and pursuit. He admitted to police that he enlisted the help of Salvo that day. Holmes told police that he needed money and had not worked in some time. He further told police that he was an opiate addict.

Both men were transported to Montgomery County Correctional Facility. Respectively, Holmes’ and Salvo’s bail was set at $75,000. A preliminary hearing date has been set for both men Jan. 7.

According to court documents, both Holmes’ and Salvo were charged with burglary, receiving stolen property, fleeing or attempting to elude officer, and other crimes, as well as individual charges.

Jennifer January 07, 2013 at 11:14 PM
They are destroying our landmarks, this makes me sick to my stomach! How much money does it cost to fix all of the things they have destroyed trying to fuel their drug habit. They have destroyed the Gypsy Rose and now The Bridge Hotel!
diggity January 08, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Gerry what did I say wrong?? Please let me no!!
Gerry Dungan January 08, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Hi diggity, sorry to have pulled your response, but, specifically, it was the use of profanity that breached the Patch Terms of Service (http://lowerprovidence.patch.com/terms) - I definitely encourage you to share your thoughts about this and any Patch article!
diggity January 08, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Gerry sry about the language! But I no salvo an it just makes me sick to c a Guy just never get it!!! Always In to something. This Guy been doing this type of crap for 30yrs!!
Dynamo47 January 09, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Nice job Officer Bonner. Had it not been for his keen eye they may have never been caught. I do think the officers need more freedom in stopping these high speed chases before they start. I agree with Timothy that the officers should have shot out the tires or even the perps before the chase got started. While no one was injured in the chase, an innocent person, child or family could have been killed in the perps desperation to escape.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »