After encountering an alleged burglar in his home, a Hellertown resident is likely thankful to be uninjured, but the same might be said about the man who police say illegally entered the residence in the middle of the night.
In a news release Tuesday, borough police said the resident held the alleged burglar at gunpoint before he was able to call 911 from his home in the 300 block of Main Street.
Police identified the alleged intruder as Christopher Miner, 34, of 302 Main Street, Hellertown, and said the incident unfolded shortly before 3:30 a.m. April 13, when police learned of a burglary in progress.
In a criminal complaint filed in Northampton County District Court 03-2-04, Hellertown Police Officer Nicholas Szmodis said he arrived at the scene and encountered the resident, who told him he had been asleep when a noise in his basement awakened him.
The man then “heard footsteps on his basement stairs coming towards the floor that (he) was on,” Szmodis wrote in the complaint’s affidavit of probable cause. “The basement door to the first floor then began to open and (the resident) identified the actor as Christopher Miner.”
In spite of being held at gunpoint, police said Miner was able to escape the house by leaving the way he had allegedly entered it–through the basement–before they arrived.
Szmodis said that as he responded to the home, he observed “Christopher Miner running away.”
Some time after that, another resident of the same building approached Szmodis and told him “Miner was in the house again,” the affidavit said.
The officer then searched the home and allegedly found Miner “hiding in the basement,” before taking him into custody.
The resident said that although he recognized Miner, he had never been in his home before and didn’t have permission to enter it, Szmodis said.
In a separate affidavit, Szmodis detailed a related crime for which Miner is also charged.
After placing him under arrest for the alleged burglary, Szmodis said he found a woman’s work ID badge in Miner’s backpack.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. April 13, hours after Miner’s arrest, the affidavit said Ofc. Matthew Andree was dispatched to the 200 block of Main Street for a report of a vehicle break-in.
The SUV that was entered belonged to the woman whose ID badge was found in Miner’s backpack, police said, and it had not only been entered but also heavily damaged sometime during the overnight hours of April 12-13.
Andree said he observed damage to the vehicle’s center dashboard air conditioning and heat controls as well as its CD player. He also reported that “other pieces of plastic (were) completely ripped out of the dash” and that “the headliner was ripped out of the ceiling and placed in the back seat.”
According to the affidavit, during the course of his investigation Andree learned that the vehicle owner’s work ID badge was missing from inside it.
After showing her the badge allegedly found in Miner’s backpack, “(she) stated that this was her ID badge which she had left in (the) vehicle,” the affidavit said.
Adding to the evidence against Miner, police said, were two cell phones belonging to him which were allegedly found in the SUV.
The total estimate for the damage to the SUV was $1,158.54, according to the complaint.
Miner has been charged with Criminal Trespassing (Felony 3), Criminal Mischief (Misdemeanor 2), Theft (Misdemeanor 3) and Receiving Stolen Property (Misdemeanor 3), according to a police news release and Northampton County court records.
According to the criminal court docket filed in the Criminal Trespassing case against Miner, he was committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $10,000 straight bail following a preliminary arraignment April 13 before District Judge Alan Mege.
As of April 27 Miner remained incarcerated, according to the docket, which did not list an attorney for him.
Note: All individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This story was compiled using information from the Hellertown Police Department and Northampton County court documents.