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Witness aids in arrest of shoplifting suspect

By Staff | Aug 23, 2016

MUNCY – A witness is credited with helping state police nab alleged shoplifter Howard Wilson Mathews after the 51-year-old city man stole two large boxes of lawn furniture outside the Weis Market on East Penn Street in Muncy Creek Township about 11:50 p.m. June 17.

After alerting store employees to the theft, the witness got into his car and followed Mathews from the store and onto the westbound lanes of Interstate 180 from Route 405. The witness also called 911.

A dispatcher alerted state police that an alleged shoplifter was being followed on the interstate.

Trooper Erik Barlett intercepted the witness as Mathews was exiting at Basin Street in the city.

The trooper saw two large boxes sticking out of the raised trunk of Mathews’ 2003 Ford Crown Victoria.

After pulling the driver over, Barlett noticed Mathews’ eyes were “bloodshot and glassy,” according to the officer’s affidavit. Mathews’ speech also was slurred, Barlett added.

Mathews, of 652 Krouse Ave., opened the glove compartment, revealing 41 pills of the painkiller Tramadol, Barlett said, adding that Mathews did not have a prescription for the narcotic.

A blood test showed that Mathews’ blood alcohol content level was .09, Barlett said.

The $423 in stolen lawn furniture was recovered from the car.

Charged with misdemeanor shoplifting, driving under the influence of intoxicants, possession of narcotics without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia, Mathews has been sent a summons to appear before District Judge Jon E. Kemp.