Burglary suspects in Lower Salford led police on a chase through that township and into Upper Salford and Salford townships last week before police caught up to the driver. Police said that man, identified as Rigoberto Cintron-Bermudez, of Reading, was arrested on multiple charges and is currently in Montgomery County jail.
But his two alleged accomplices avoided capture.
According to court papers, Cintron-Bermudez and two other Hispanic men were seen by a passerby in the area of 965 Lucon Road Aug. 27 around noon. Police said their vehicle, an older model green Ford Escort station wagon, was stopped on the side of the road. After seeing the men walk from the home and throw items into the vehicle, the passerby called police.
Authorities said the vehicle fled the scene and, after police confirmed a burglary at the location, was later located and stopped in the area of Maple Avenue and Main Street. But when police got out of the patrol vehicle, the car sped up and fled on Park Avenue.
According to reports, police pursued the vehicle as it passed vehicles on the left and right and ran stop signs and red lights, almost causing a collision at the intersection of Routes 63 and 113.
Speeds were in excess of 75-85 mph, police said.
The vehicle drove through Upper Salford Township on Sumneytown Pike and then turned right onto Ridge Road, accelerating past a police vehicle and officers outside the vehicle and running a stop sign. The suspects then drove into Salford Township, where the pursuit was called off for public safety, police said.
Authorities later saw the suspects’ vehicle north on Morwood Road, where they stopped it successfully. Only the driver, Cintron-Bermudez, was in the vehicle and he was taken into custody and charged with burglary, criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property, fleeing or eluding police, aggravated assault and related offenses. Police said the assault charge stemmed from Cintron-Bermudez accelerating past officers in Upper Salford.
During an interview, Cintron-Bermudez allegedly told police he was approached by two men in Reading earlier that day who asked him if he needed money. He told police the men offered him money to drive them somewhere, but denied knowing they were going to burglarize a home.
He said the men instructed him to flee police and he saw them throwing stolen items out the window of the vehicle as he drove, including a portable DVD player and the owner’s manual for the Ford, which belonged to him.
Police later located a Jennings 9mm handgun, found in the center of Main Street in Lower Salford near Old Sumneytown Pike by a neighbor, and several other items reported stolen from the house, including a silver Pulsar watch, platinum chain with diamonds, brown leather jewelry case with jewelry, a large Sentry safe with its contents and a rifle with a scope.
Authorities said an investigation continues and they are working on identifying the two accomplices.
During the vehicle pursuit, Salford Hills Elementary School was placed on lockdown as a precaution and Vernfield Elementary was secured in place, which meant no one was allowed to enter or leave the school, police said.
Cintron-Bermudez, who was remanded to jail on $50,000 cash bail, is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Sept. 17 at 3:45 p.m. in Schwenksville District Court.