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Lehigh Valley

Suspect linked to second Bethlehem Twp. cell phone store burglary

Police allege he hit two stores two weeks apart

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Authorities in Northampton County said they linked a man arrested in March for a cellphone store burglary to a similar crime two weeks earlier.

Bethlehem Township police charged Donald J. Potter in connection with a smash-and-grab robbery of a Madison Farms Verizon store on Feb. 17. District Judge Patricia Broscius arraigned the 29-year-old late Thursday morning, setting bail at $10,000.

A Madison Farms property manager discovered a smashed store window about 8:15 a.m. Feb. 17. The manager of the store at 4773 Freemansburg Ave. provided investigators with surveillance video that showed a robber smash the front window about 1:30 a.m. and head toward a display counter before using the sledge hammer to smash the electronic keypad on a safe in the storage room, according to court records.

The manager provided police with a list of stolen merchandise totaling about $5,785.

Video surveillance from the parking lot reportedly shows him walking in front of the Verizon store with something under his jacket. He’s then seen five minutes later in the area of where the window was broken.

Bethlehem Township police responded to an early-morning burglary in progress at a T-Mobile on March 3 in which the thief used a sledge hammer to smash a front window and make off with display phones. Officers apprehended Potter and found a sledge hammer in the car in which he was a passenger, according to court records.

Investigators learned on Tuesday that a Galaxy S7 stolen from the Verizon on Feb. 17 was sold at an ecoATM machine in Levittown, Bucks County. A photo and North Carolina identification showed Potter sold the phone to ecoATM, according to records. Court records also show a Medford, N.Y. address for Potter.

Records show Potter was already in Northampton County Prison despite posting bail in connection to the March burglary.

Authorities charged Potter with burglary, theft and receiving stolen property for the alleged Verizon burglary. His next court date is a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 3.

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