Wernersville man soils pants inside store, steals new pair, Reading police say

Charles Knowles arrested multiple times for previous retail thefts, police say

READING, Pa. - An elderly man has been jailed for allegedly stealing a pair of pants from a store in which he soiled the pair he was wearing.

Police were dispatched shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday to a store at 314 Penn St. in downtown Reading.

An employee told police she found the intoxicated man urinating on the floor in an aisle of the store, according to court documents.

The worker lost sight of the man before finding him a short time later naked and defecating on the bench of a dressing room, police said.

The employee told the man to leave, and as he did, police said he swiped a pair of $6 pants and put them on.

Officers searched the area and later found the man, identified as Charles Knowles, asleep on a row of chairs inside the InterCity Bus Terminal on North Third Street.

A run of Knowles' name through a police database revealed he had been arrested at least three previous times for retail theft, according to court documents.

Knowles, 81, of Wernersville, was transported to Reading Hospital for a check of his alcohol levels. While there, police said he threw a container of his own urine at the officers' direction and yelled racial slurs at them and hospital staff.

Knowles was charged with retail theft, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness and committed to the Berks County Jail on $5,000 bail.

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