Signs send message to drug dealers in Berks County

Cash reward offered for anonymous reporting of drug activity

Signs send message to drug dealers in Berks County

READING, Pa. - Downtown Reading was flooded with posters Thursday as part of a "push" to curb drug activity.

Officials are willing to offer a reward of up to $5,000 to get drug dealers locked up and out of the city.

The Reading Downtown Improvement District stapled the signs on public kiosks and distributed them to businesses in the downtown area.

"We have them in English and in Spanish," an ambassador with the DID told businesses.

Re-Style Boutique on Penn Street taped both versions on its front doors. The signs read, "Push Out the Pusher," encouraging everyone to report drug activity happening in the city.

"We're in Reading. It happens all the time, so any awareness I think will be great, so I think this will be a big help," said Sarah Sangerling, assistant manager of Re-Style Boutique.

Some store owners said the drug trade is killing business downtown.

The idea for the posters has been in the works ever since the crime summit in January. District Attorney John Adams and Crime Alert Berks County designed them to be similar to signs used in Altoona, Pa.

"We're hoping the more signs we get out there, people will see the signs and understand that drug dealers are people we need to get out of our community," said Chuck Broad, executive director of the DID and a former Reading police chief.

By Thursday afternoon, the signs were already posted in the windows of many businesses along Penn Street.    

"I hear rumors where someone says we don't want a lot of signs around because it makes us feel like we have a problem with drugs. Well, the whole country has a problem with drugs, not only Berks County, and we have to do something about it," said Barry Rohrbach, president of Crime Alert Berks County.

The goal is to start in the city and then distribute the posters to businesses throughout the county, said officials.

If you want a poster, you can contact the Reading Downtown Improvement District at 610-376-6424 or stop by A to Z Vacuum on Park Road in Wyomissing.

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