Wanted Person: Johnson Rivera-DeJesus

Johnson Rivera-DeJesus
The City of Bethlehem Police Department is looking for JOHNSON RIVERA-DEJESUS, a Hispanic male, age 34. JOHNSON RIVERA-DEJESUS is wanted on charges of Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Harassment and Terroristic Threats for an incident on 4-03-2012 in the area of Livingston Streetin Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

 It is believed he may be hiding in the Marvine-Pembroke area.

If anyone knows where JOHNSON RIVERA-DEJESUS is, please contact the City of Bethlehem Police department at 610-865-7187 and/or Detective Moses Miller at 610-997-7674 or Officer David Bowerman at 610-865-7187.

Your call can be kept Confidential.

Your phone call can make a difference.

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Officer Daniel E. "Danny" Rice

For Immediate Release

April 25, 2013


Officer Daniel E. Rice
Badge #146

On April 25, 1997 tragedy struck the City of Bethlehem Police family. Officer Danny Rice was killed while on patrol when his vehicle was struck by another car in the intersection of Schoenersville Road and Westgate Drive.  Danny served the citizens of Bethlehem in a way that few others have been able to match.  To have known him, and to have heard any number of his thousands of jokes or stories, was one of life’s treasures.  Danny always had a smile on his face and was sure to soon spread that smile to others around him.

Danny was a Field Training Officer for many officers, many of whom have risen through the ranks of BPD to leadership positions today.  He not only taught the skills necessary to be a police officer, but most importantly he taught those officers that the job of a cop can be fun and rewarding.  He had a great way of talking with people and seemed that he was able to relate to anyone.

It is no surprise that Danny was named the Ambassador in Blue by the Downtown Merchants Association and received twenty Letters Commendation for his service to the citizens of Bethlehem.  He also served our country in Vietnam as a sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Thank you for your service and for your influence.  It is hard to believe that it has been sixteen years since you left us.  Rest in Peace, brother.

The Bethlehem Police Department Memorial Wall
A plaque bearing Officer Daniel E. Rice’s name and likeness is on the far right.


UPDATE: Robbery/Stabbing on 3rd Street

Bethlehem, PA

1100 block of East Third Street

 Victim, Anthony Bernardi and his friend, Scott Levine, were in the 1100 block of East Third Street. The victim and friend work for an Audio Company. The suspect, Luis Fernando Torres Santiago, age 40, approached the victim and grabbed a heavy gold Cuban link chain necklace from his neck. While attempting to retrieve his gold chain from the suspect, the victim was cut/stabbed in the torso area.

The victim called 9-1-1 and he, and his friend chased after the suspect. Police arrived in the area and the suspect was taken into custody a block away in a yard. The weapon and gold chain were recovered. The value of the gold chain and medallion is approx. $7900.00. The victim was treated at St. Lukes Hospital and released.

Luis Fernando Torres-Santiago was arraigned on charges of Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Theft and related charges. He was committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $50,000.00 bail.

Portions of this crime were captured on the City’s Surveillance Camera System. The quick arrest of this suspect was made possible by the victim immediately calling 9-1-1, the victim’s friend and other citizens becoming involved, the monitoring of the surveillance camera by 9-1-1 personnel, and a quick police response by Officers in that area at the time of this incident.
Link to the YouTube video is here: http://youtu.be/pZJhEFQuE00

"This Beer’s for You, Officer"

Bethlehem, PA

On Thursday 4-19-12, the Bethlehem Police Department issued an internal Patrol Alert regarding a wanted person, Sapankumar Adhikari.  He was wanted by the Bethlehem Police for a variety of serious domestic charges, including assault and reckless endangerment of his seven year old son.  Adhikari made very serious threats to kill his wife and two children.

Here is where the story gets weird.  Police did not have to look very far to find Adhikari, because at 7:05 p.m. on 4/19, Officer Matthew Laxton was dressed in full uniform investigating a vehicle crash in the 500 block of Ontario Street in South Bethlehem. The Officer was standing next to his marked City of Bethlehem Police cruiser.

As Officer Laxton was looking into the cruiser’s trunk for something, he was struck on the left foot by a full 12 oz. can of Miller High Life Beer. The Officer turned around and observed Adhikari Sapankumar standing alone about 10 feet behind him on the sidewalk.
Officer Laxton asked Mr. Adhikari “So, you throw things at Police?”  Mr. Adhikari stared at Officer Laxton, who appeared intoxicated and began to walk away, stumbling into the street.  Mr. Adhikari was placed under arrest at this time by Officer Laxton. Mr. Adhikari later made a statement to Police about why he threw the can of beer at Officer Laxton; “I throw the can, I’m making sure you cops are doing your job.”
Well, the Police did do their job. Mr. Adhikari was arrested on charges of Aggravated Assault, Simple Assault, Harassment, Public Drunkenness, Disorderly Conduct and committed to Northampton County Prison.  The additional warrant for Mr. Adhikari will charge him with Simple Assault and Recklessly Endangering a 7 year old child. These charges were from an investigation involving the physical abuse of a child. A PFA against Mr. Adhikari was also located. Additional charges relative to the PFA and child assault investigation are pending.
MORAL OF THE STORY: When you are a WANTED Person, do not throw a full can of beer at a Police Officer and tell the Police Officer that you want to make sure he is doing his job. Your wish will come true and you will probably not like where you end up.
Sapankumar Adhikari

Robbery Suspect in Custody

Bethlehem, PA

On Thursday afternoon, 4-19-2012, at 2:30 p.m., a robbery occurred in the 1100 block of East Third Street, Bethlehem, Northampton County.

The male victim suffered a stab wound to his torso and is being treated at St. Lukes Hospital.

A male suspect is presently in custody. An investigation is ongoing by Detectives and an arrest is expected to be made later this evening.

Any other information relative to this crime will be available Friday morning.

Anyone with any information relative to this crime is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Van Scott at 610-997-7676.

UPDATE: More information can be found here: http://bethlehempolice.blogspot.com/#!/2012/04/update-robberystabbing-on-3rd-street.html

Guest blog post: Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Pennsylvania plays big role in Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Bethlehem, PA
Post by Guest Blogger Kala Bell

With April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month throughout the United States, Pennsylvania is playing a big part with a number of programs and initiatives serving to make the roads safer. The month of awareness aims to highlight the general dangers of driving distracted, as well as call attention to lawmakers and other industry groups with a large impact on these distractions.

Here in Pennsylvania, much of the efforts are being led by local government, law enforcement and the state Department of Transportation. The Pennsylvania DOT has just recently announced major plans for a new statewide initiative to further the importance of keeping distractions to a minimum. The initiative will be known as the “Just Drive PA” cause and will serve to make roads safer throughout the state.

This initiative, along with a number of others in the state, will serve to bring education and information to schools. Teenage drivers are one of the biggest targets for these initiatives, as early information and education will be crucial to keeping cell phone use in the driver’s seat down into the future.

The work being done in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation focused on distracted driving comes at a time when it has been a topic of major discussion on Capitol Hill. Much of the debate has revolved around different improvements for the future of road safety. There’s no doubt that minimizing cases of distracted driving will largely depend on a combination of improvements made from lawmakers, automakers, as well as getting more education out there.

There are currently 35 states that have laws against texting and driving, as well as close to 10 that have full bans on handheld cell phone use while driving. Pennsylvania is one of the 35 states with a texting while driving ban, but the lack of a law against handheld use makes initiatives to cut down on distractions all the more important.

The next frontier of the efforts against distracted driving is likely to involve automakers as well as the possibility of cell phone and tech developers. There’s no question that the products being put out are having an impact and becoming a distraction for some. Awareness months and initiatives will continue in the effort to cut down on cases of distracted driving. During April and throughout the year, it’s clear that the state of Pennsylvania is on board, with numerous events and education opportunities mapped out to improve road safety throughout the state.

Kala Bell is a creative writer from the University of Michigan. She works closely with Distracted Driving Help, to raise awareness of the dangers texting while driving has on the community.
She can be reached at kalabell86@gmail.com

WANTED: Identity of Theft Suspect from Giant Food Store

Bethlehem, PA

4/13/12 Giant Food Store Retail Theft Suspect

Bethlehem Police are seeking help in identifying a retail theft suspect from the Giant Food Store at 2170 W. Union Blvd, Bethlehem, PA.  Theft theft took place on Friday April 13th.  The second photograph depicts a red or maroon vehicle that was used by the suspect.  If anyone has any information regarding the identity or location of the suspect, please contact Bethlehem Police Department at 610.865.7187 – Officer J. Zarzecki – Badge #315.  Thank you.

Red/Maroon Vehicle used by Retail Theft Suspect

Congratulations to Corporal Gallagher – Lehigh University Police Officer of the Year

Bethlehem, PA

The City of Bethlehem Police Department would like to congratulate Corporal Anthony Gallagher for receiving the Lehigh University Police Department’s Officer of the Year Award.  Corporal Gallagher is the supervisor for the LUPD’s Community Policing Unit, which serves not only the campus of Lehigh University, but also the surrounding communities in South Bethlehem.  This unit, created by Lehigh’s Police Chief Ed Shupp, works closely with the Bethlehem Police Department addressing the concerns of both city residents and Lehigh students.  The LUPD officers have been instrumental in the reduction of both violent crime and property crime in South Bethlehem.  There have been numerous instances where the LUPD Community Officers have apprehended violent criminals and assisted with many other investigations.  Our community is safer due to the excellent relationship between the City and the Lehigh University Police.  Thank you, Corporal Gallagher for all that you do, both on and off campus.  This is a well deserved honor!

Here is the link to the Lehigh University news story about Corporal Anthony Gallagher’s Officer of the Year Award.

PRESS RELEASE: McGrady’s Bar Altercation

McGrady’s Pub altercation Press release – BC-12-15624

On 4/10/12at approximately 1:43 AM, police responded to a report of a fight outside of McGrady’s Pub in the 100 block of East Third St.  Two males were involved, both males have been identified.  Both males were injured and required hospitalization, their current condition is unknown.  Names and nature of the injuries are being withheld pending the conclusion of the investigation.  Additional information will be forthcoming as it develops. 
Anyone with information is requested to contact Detective Jason Fulmer 610-997-7682.

PRESS RELEASE: City Honors Two Citizens for Exceptional Service to Their Community

Bethlehem, PA
05 April 2012

Frank Pavlick’s Bicycle

On 02 April 2012 at approximately 3:06 p.m., expert cyclist Frank Pavlick was struck from behind while riding across the Fahy Bridge.  Mr. Pavlick was hit by a seventeen year old juvenile who was attempting to pass a LANTA bus.  Immediately following the impact, the juvenile attempted to flee the scene to avoid identification and apprehension.  The driver of the LANTA bus, identified as Richard Gubish, Jr., saw the crash in his rear view mirror and also saw the driver attempting to get away.  Mr. Gubish took immediate and decisive action and positioned his bus across the lanes of the bridge, effectively blocking the path of the getaway driver.  Another witness to the crash, Judson Smull, stopped to render aid to the injured Pavlick, who implored Smull to go after the offending driver to get the license plate.  Smull also took immediate action, and following the lead of Mr. Gubish, positioned his car directly behind the offending vehicle, further blocking any attempt to escape.

Offending Vehicle Showing Damage to Hood
The next vehicle across the bridge was a marked Bethlehem Police car being operated by veteran Officer Wade Haubert.  Officer Haubert stopped at Mr. Pavlick to render aid, and learning that he was not seriously injured, proceeded to take the offending juvenile into custody.

The quick and selfless actions by Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull brought this potentially tragic situation to a very positive conclusion.  Without their decisive actions, the offending driver may not have been apprehended.  We would like to thank Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull for their selfless dedication to their community and for acting to help another in a time of need.

The incident was captured on the City’s wireless camera system
The video is also available on YouTube: http://ow.ly/a8vZd
The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways.  The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash.  The section is, in pertinent part:
§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.
(a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.
In addition, the juvenile offender has been charged in Northampton County Juvenile Court with:
  • § 3742(a) – Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (M2)
  • § 3334(a) – Turning Movements and Required Signals

The charge “Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury” is the charge that covers what is commonly referred to as “Hit and Run” and it also covers the duty of every driver to stop and render aid when a person is injured in an accident.