A 48-year-old Hereford man was arrested by Upper Perk police early Friday morning after he was found breaking into Suppression Systems Inc. (SSI), 301 4th Street in Pennsburg.
Authorities said the man, who fled police on foot, was apprehended following an altercation with arresting officers.
According to court documents, police were on a surveillance detail shortly after midnight Friday at the company, which manufacturers fire suppression systems and alarms, because of the report of three burglaries at the location. The burglaries occurred the last week of October and the first week in November.
While at the scene, police said they observed Daniel Wetzel, 48, of the 2900 block of Seisholtzville Road, burglarizing the building. Arresting officer Det. Matthew Boaman said Wetzel, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and black face mask, led police on a short foot chase.
Police said during the ensuing struggle, Wetzel then became violent and punched one of the officers in the face. Authorities said Wetzel was also in possession of a large knife. Officers were able to take him into custody.
When arrested, police said Wetzel had band-aids and electrical tape covering his fingers so he didn’t leave fingerprints at the scene.
Wetzel, a former employee of SSI, was found in possession of burglary tools and items known to be used in several burglaries. Police said surveillance equipment and footage, installed by SSI in late October, assisted in their investigation. Police said they recovered a black Carhartt sweatshirt, similar to one seen worn by the perpetrator in surveillance footage, from Wetzel’s vehicle Friday morning.
Wetzel, according to authorities, is responsible for a total of eight burglaries at SSI dating back several months. Court documents stated Wetzel stole 60 rolls of communication wire and about 250 pounds of brass fittings and piping. He reportedly sold the items to various individuals for scrap metal to pay for daily living expenses and his car loan.
The value of the stolen materials is estimated in excess of $36,000.
Police said Wetzel, who confessed to the crimes, was charged with eight counts of burglary and criminal trespass and one count each of aggravated assault on police, resisting arrest, theft, receiving stolen property and related offenses.
He was arraigned in Red Hill District Court on Nov. 4. District Judge Catherine Hummel Fried set bail at $30,000 straight. He remains incarcerated in Montgomery County Correctional Facility until his preliminary hearing Nov. 15 at 11:15 a.m. in Red Hill.