Police nab wanted man in Schuylkill River; Hamburg area schools locked down during manhunt

Suspect robbed cab driver of $100, smashed minivan windows, police say

Man nabbed in river has 'a long rap sheet' with police

HAMBURG, Pa. - Tensions were high in the Hamburg area Thursday morning as an all-out search for a wanted man put schools on lock down.

"We chased him to the [Schuylkill] river and coaxed him to come out of the river about an hour later," said Ofc. Robert Mengle, Hamburg Police Department. "It took us over an hour to get him out of the river."

The suspect, identified as Chad Blackston, was apprehended near State Street and Industrial Drive without further incident.

Blackston was wanted for his alleged role in two incidents in Hamburg early Thursday morning, police said.

The first was the robbery of a cab driver at Blackston's home in the 100 block of State Street around 4:25 a.m.

The driver, who said he has been friends with Blackston since they were kids, was called by Blackston to drive him to Reading. When the driver arrived at Blackston's home, however, Blackston put his arm around the driver's neck and took $100 in cash from his pocket, according to court documents.

Police were later called back to the block for a report of criminal mischief.

"It was around 7 o'clock," said Matt Gromlich, one of Blackston's neighbors. "We heard banging. It sounded like someone was knocking on the door, and then when I opened up the backdoor to go out, he had a metal bed frame smashing the windows out of my van."

Gromlich said his insurance won't cover the damage, and to make matters worse...

"Now I have no van, and we were supposed to move today," he said.

Blackston was arraigned on various charges, including robbery, harassment, disorderly conduct, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief, and committed to the Berks County Jail on $150,000 bail.

"He has a long history and a long rap sheet with the Pennsylvania State Police and the Hamburg borough on multiple counts," Mengle said. "We may have additional charges forthcoming."

As a precaution, officials said schools in the Hamburg Area School District were placed on lock down while borough and state police conducted their search.

"Some witnesses said from the incident that he had a weapon, so due to the proximity of the Tilden Elementary School, in close proximity to the high school and middle school, we thought it was necessary," Mengle said.

Images: Search for, arrest of wanted man in Hamburg

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