BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A 15-year-old boy was arrested by Bethlehem police early Wednesday after police say he knocked down and attempted to rob a 36-year-old man who was walking home from work.
The robbery was interrupted by an off-duty state trooper who chased off the thief.
Police Chief Mark DiLuzio praised Trooper Louis Rosenthal for his "outstanding" assistance.
The incident happened at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday at the intersection of New Street and Union Boulevard in Bethlehem.
"I was running on the sidewalk and I saw them up ahead and they were rolling around and it wasn't until I got closer until I realized something was wrong," Rosenthal told 69 News.
Here's what happened, according to city police:
The teen walked past the man and asked for a lighter. The man said he didn't have one and kept walking.
The boy attacked him from behind, knocking him to the ground and trying to remove his wallet and cell phone.
"He appeared to be grabbing at him, like grabbing in his pockets and trying to gain leverage on him," said Rosenthal. "It looked like a struggle going on."
The man attempted to fight back, receiving minor injuries.
"I scared him away. We made eye contact, myself and the suspect. He saw me and he jumped up into the air and just took off," Rosenthal explained.
Rosenthal chased him a short distance, but lost him. He flagged down a car that happened to be an unmarked police car.
Police arrived in the area and set up a perimeter around the area where Rosenthal lost sight of the boy.
They observed a broken wood fence and found the attacker hiding under the rear deck of a home in the first block of West Garrison Street.
"Thank goodness for Bethlehem City PD. They were on the ball, they did what they had to do and they took care of business," said Rosenthal. "I didn't do anything heroic. I basically just used common sense."
Praising Rosenthal, the police chief stated in a news release that he "saw a crime being committed and immediately intervened, thus stopping the assault and robbery of a citizen and stopping the possibility of serious bodily injury to that citizen."
DiLuzio said Rosenthal's help also resulted in the apprehension of the robbery suspect.
The boy is being held in Northampton County Juvenile Detention. He is charged with robbery, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.
City detectives are continuing the investigation to determine if additional charges will be filed in relation to other incidents.
Allentown, PA 18102