Berks business owner helps catch homeless man trying to break into homes

Police: homeless man caught trying to break into homes

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - Homeowners in one Muhlenberg Township neighborhood are resting a little easier all thanks to a mechanic who used the right tools to help police collar a suspected burglar.

While Mike Himmelberger was having lunch at his auto repair shop, Temple Auto Mart, he says he spotted a man trying to break into several homes along the 4700 block of Kutztown Road.

"He was just so brazen about this," Himmelberger said. "Like he had not a care in the world."

Himmelberger called 911. Then he and his wife followed the suspect down the street until police arrived.

Police arrested 63-year-old Luis Otero-Gonzales on the spot.

According to court documents, Gonzales is homeless and was living at the faith-based shelter, Hope Rescue Mission in Reading.

Gonzales' caseworker says his arrest comes as a disappointment.

"It's heartbreaking to see that he's fallen back into this," said Mike Johnson. "We try to be a hope and a beacon to everyone in the community. He, by all means, could have come here and gotten a meal and had a place to stay, but for whatever reason, he made other choices."

Meanwhile businesses and neighbors are calling Himmelberger a hero.

"Well, it makes us feel safer for sure, because we have a business here. So we would certainly want people watching out for us as well. It's a great thing that he did," said Jeff Stout with Stout Associates Realtors.

"I just think it's the right thing to do. I don't think I'm a special person or anything," Himmelberger said.

Gonzales is facing charges of criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and criminal attempt. A judge set bail at $25,000.

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