Lehigh Valley

Phony 911 call serves as burglary diversion, police allege

Suspects called in fake shooting in December 2011

U. MILFORD TWP., Pa. - Lehigh County authorities allege that a Berks County man called in a fake shooting to occupy police, while he and two accomplices pulled off a New Year’s Eve burglary five years ago.

Pennsylvania State Police charged Ryan W. Miller, of Exeter Township, in connection with the December 2011 burglary of the Zionsville Antique Mall that netted nearly $30,000 in stolen jewelry. Investigators filed charges on Dec. 27, and District Judge Daniel Trexler arraigned the 24-year-old Monday.

Miller was already at Adams County prison prior to his arraignment.

State police with the Fogelsville barracks allege the crime began with an anonymous 911 call to the Berks County Communications Center shortly after 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31, 2011. The caller reported a shooting with injuries at Krock’s Pub off South Krocks Road in Lower Macungie Township.

Several patrols responded only to find no shooting had occurred. The Fogelsville barracks, meanwhile, received a report of a burglar alarm activation at the antiques mall in Upper Milford Township about five minutes after the phony 911 call, according to court records.

Troopers responded, but their arrival was delayed by the fake shooting report. They arrived to find someone had broken in through a back door, broke display cases and absconded with several pieces of jewelry.

The jewelry was worth about $29,751 and damages totaled about $1,595, police said. The business owner, who lives nearby, told police he saw two men running out the back door.

The Berks 911 center provided the phone number used to place the phony 911 call, and investigators learned it came from a pre-paid cell phone with fake subscriber information.

Other law enforcement officials alerted investigators that the burglary might have been connected to three men being investigated for crimes in Lycoming County. State police in late January 2012 stopped Miller for a traffic violation on Interstate 176 in Berks County and allegedly found a sawed off shotgun in his truck, according to court records.

While in custody, Miller allegedly admitted to burglarizing the antiques mall with two other men, who had previously “cased” the business. Investigators said he admitted placing the phony 911 call, while the other two used a hatchet to smash through the back door, according to records.

Police searched Miller’s truck and allegedly found several pieces of jewelry, two of which were identified by a vendor from the antiques mall.

Authorities charged Miller with single felony counts of burglary, theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. Bail was set at $50,000, and he remains in prison ahead of preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for Feb. 17.

It’s not clear from court records why it took investigators so long to formally charge Miller in connection with the burglary. And court records do not indicate whether the other two men named in the complaint have been charged.

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