A man with a history of theft arrests was nabbed in Pennsburg Dec. 29 after stealing a vehicle in Collegeville, then burglarizing an auto shop in Pennsburg.
Upper Perkiomen Police were dispatched to check for suspicious activity at Pennsburg Auto Body and Tire, 408 Railroad St., around 12:28 a.m. on Dec. 29 after an unidentified caller reported that he saw a vehicle in the repair shop with its lights on and heard sounds similar to tools being moved around inside the shop.
Upon arrival, police saw a man, later identified as 30-year-old David Jesse Gardner, inside the business. Gardner told police he would come outside, but then fled the scene on foot. A chase ensued, but police lost sight of him around the 400 block of Seminary Street in Pennsburg.
Gardner was apprehended shortly thereafter when police found him hiding near a vehicle in the vicinity.
According to a police report, an investigation of the incident found that while Gardner was being chased, he entered an unlocked residence on the 400 block of Seminary Street and told a child in the home that he was running from police. He asked the child for a pair of shoes and a drink before the child alerted his sister, who then informed a neighbor about the incident.
Police later learned that Gardner, who has no fixed address, traveled to the Pennsburg area in a vehicle he stole from a car dealership in Collegeville.
Gardner has been charged with multiple counts of burglary, criminal Trespass, resisting arrest and other related offenses.
Collegeville Police will also charge Gardner with burglary and theft for the incident that occurred in their jurisdiction.
Gardner was arraigned in front of District Judge Schireson and bail was set at $25,000 cash. The preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 9 at 11 a.m.
Montgomery County court records show that Gardner has been arrested repeatedly, with charges filed against him in five Pennsylvania counties for a variety of charges including theft, assault and resisting arrest.
In 2006, he was arrested in Montgomery County for theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Gardner pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to probation and a minimum of 135 days in prison.
He was granted parole in June 2007, but returned to prison in 2008 after pleading guilty to retail theft, aggravated assault, receiving stolen property and theft by unlawful taking of movable property. Gardner was spent time in state correctional facilities at Graterford and Camp Hill.
According to court records, he was most recently paroled in June 2011.
After it was learned that the new arrest violated his state parole conditions, Gardner was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility to await his preliminary hearing.
Douglass Township Police, New Hanover Township Police and Pennsylvania State Police assisted Upper Perk Police at the scene of the incident.