Lehigh Valley

Police: Fired employee chases co-worker with machete

The incident started as a workplace argument

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Police in Northampton County allege that a fired employee argued with a co-worker, hid in the bushes for him and chased the man's car brandishing a machete.

Abel Nieves Ozuna now faces assault and endangerment charges in connection to the incident nearly a year ago outside the Cigars International warehouse in Bethlehem. District Judge Jacqueline Taschner arraigned the 33-year-old from Allentown early Sunday morning, setting bail at $10,000 with a 10 percent cash option if approved by pre-trial services.

The alleged incident started inside the warehouse at 1911 Spillman Dr. on Feb. 2. 2017. The incident was reported to Bethlehem police Feb. 9, charges were filed March 6, 2017 and an arrest warrant for Nieves Ozuna was issued.

Authorities said Nieves Ozuna began arguing with a co-worker at Cigars International about the other man working in his aisle inside the warehouse. Court records indicate Nieves Ozuna argued with him three times in the span of a few minutes, began cursing him and threatened to wait for him outside after work.

A witness told police that he heard the commotion and pushed Nieves Ozuna away from the other man. He was fired and escorted out of the building, according to records.

As the victim left work for the day, a witness spotted Nieves Ozuna hiding in the bushes and phoned the victim to warn him. Nieves Ozuna allegedly sprang from the bushes carrying a rock and a machete, throwing the rock at his now former co-worker’s vehicle.

Fearing for his life, the victim reportedly stepped out of the vehicle holding a BB gun. Nieves Ozuna took exception to what he thought was a handgun and told the victim, “I’ll go get something and unload on you and kill you,” according to records.

Police charged Nieves Ozuna, of West Liberty Street, with simple assault, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. He failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 12.

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