An Allentown man allegedly caught shoplifting deodorant and hair care products from a Bethlehem grocery store tried to fight off arrest by swinging a box cutter at police officers in a schoolyard, according to court records.
Albert Rivera, 36, of 402 S. 15th St., Apt. 405, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and resisting arrest, along with numerous other charges as a result of the incident, which began Monday morning in the Valley Farm Market on Stefko Boulevard.
According to the arrest affidavit, Rivera was observed by a store employee taking deodorant from the shelves and putting them in his pants. Rivera then walked over to the bakery section, picked out a loaf of French bread, paid for it and tried to leave the store, police said.
The supermarket manager stopped Rivera at the door and told him that he was seen stealing items, police said. Rivera removed a bottle of Pantene hair product from a back pants pocket and handed it to the manager.
When the manager told Rivera he needed to come with him to the store’s office, Rivera pushed the manager into the supermarket’s sliding door, causing the door to break out of its track, police said.
As several deodorants dropped out of Rivera’s pants, he ran out of the store and through the store parking lot, police said. Store employees followed Rivera across the parking lot and saw him run across Jill Street and into a residential yard.
After a foot chase, Bethlehem police said, they caught up to Rivera in the parking lot of Marvine Elementary School, which is several blocks south of the shopping center.
When Officer Kristopher Shirk tried to approach Rivera, he “attempted to use the box cutter to attack” the officer, the arrest affidavit said.
“More officers arrived on scene and had to fight with the defendant to take him into custody,” the affidavit said.
Police found 19 “deodorant products”—all with Valley Farm Market price tags—on Rivera when he was arrested, the affidavit said. A search of Rivera’s vehicle turned up another 50 deodorants with Valley Farm Market price tags in a canvas tote bag, police said.
Store management said all of the items had been stolen, police said.
In addition to aggravated assault and resisting arrest, Rivera was charged with two counts of retail theft, recklessly endangering another person, simple assault, carrying a prohibited offensive weapon, harassment, criminal mischief and two counts of disorderly conduct.
He was arraigned before on-duty District Judge James Narlesky and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail.