SANATOGA PA – It took Lower Pottsgrove Township police only 9 hours Thursday (Aug. 23, 2012) to locate and apprehend a suspect they allege was involved during the early morning in what was reported as a robbery at the Days Inn, 1600 Industrial Highway.
Arrested was Jason Norwood, 33, of Pottstown, on a warrant that charged him with robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. It was the second time within the past 12 days that investigators alleged Norwood, a former employee of the hotel, was involved in theft there.
An anonymous tipster reportedly called police to alert them Norwood was in the area of High and Hanover Streets in downtown Pottstown, where he was arrested. During an arraignment later in the day, according to The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper, his bail was set at $100,000.
Events took a dramatic turn when Norwood initially seemed to have escaped law enforcers. The incident, its investigation, and news from township Chief Michael Foltz that Norwood had been finally captured evolved through mid-day.
Foltz said Ofc. David Slothower responded to a call of a robbery in progress at 3:29 a.m. By 8:56 a.m., Foltz himself had released details to the news media, imploring public help to find or provide information leading to Norwood. Then, at 12:34 p.m., Foltz again contacted the media with a brief, 18-character e-mail message: “In custody at 1231 hrs,” he wrote of Norwood.
Here’s how the day unfolded, according to Slothower’s written report:
The Days Inn’s night desk clerk claimed Norwood, whom he knew and identified for authorities, walked into the building lobby and commented to the clerk about being implicated in an Aug. 11 theft, also at the hotel, for which Norwood had earlier been arrested by Lower Pottsgrove police. His comment, Slothower wrote, caused the clerk to “immediately” fear physical harm from Norwood as “retaliation from the prior incident.”
“Norwood needed to leave,” Slothower said the clerk responded, and he threatened to call police. Norwood “then jumped over the front counter and physically pulled” open a cash drawer there, “breaking the locking mechanism.” It was during that period – at about 3:29, the officer noted – that the clerk dialed for assistance as, Slothower alleged, “Norwood removed an undisclosed amount of cash from the drawer” and then fled the hotel.
Slothower called in other members of the force, as well as police officers from West Pottsgrove, North Coventry and Pottstown, and a Pottstown Police canine, to search the area but Norwood wasn’t found. Police believed he may have had a car parked nearby and left in it before police arrived.
Lower Pottsgrove issued an alert on the Pennsylvania Justice Network, a state-operated emergency notification system, to let other law enforcement groups know Norwood was being sought.
- UPDATED: Lower Pottsgrove hotel robber caught (The Mercury)
Photo from Lower Pottsgrove police