On June 19th, at the monthly Township meeting, Chief Toomey recognized and commended Cpl. Jason Gerhart, Cpl. Michael Swartz, and Officer Mark Minnick for the following incident:
On May 26, 2017 at 2:40 a.m., Cpl. Gerhart, Cpl. Swartz, and Officer Minnick responded to the Wawa Store located on South Collegeville Road for a reported armed robbery in progress.
While responding, police radio dispatch advised that two handguns were displayed by an actor wearing camouflaged pants and a bandana around his face. The actor was last seen on foot leaving the store in the direction of the Malvern School. Officer Minnick responded directly to the store and secured the initial information as to what had occurred. Officer Minnick also secured vital information from witnesses present and then provided, by way of radio, more detailed information concerning the suspect’s description and the weapons carried.
While searching the area, Cpl. Gerhart observed an occupied suspicious vehicle in close proximity to the last known direction the suspect was seen running. Cpl. Gerhart stopped the vehicle and was immediately assisted by Cpl. Swartz. While investigating the four occupants, Cpl. Gerhart observed one of the passengers wearing clothing that matched the description of the male suspect. All four occupants were detained and a subsequent search of the vehicle yielded a large amount of US Currency and two replica handguns. In addition, Officer Minnick, along with a witness to the robbery, drove by the suspect for the purpose of an on scene identification of the perpetrator. The witness positively identified the suspect as the person responsible for the robbery of the store. Two of the occupants were arrested for the robbery, one male was ultimately released, and another male was arrested for outstanding warrants.
As a result of this incident, Cpl. Gerhart uncovered that an attempted robbery had occurred in Downingtown Borough and another confirmed robbery occurred at another Wawa Store in West Whiteland Township in Chester County earlier in the evening by suspects fitting the description like the those arrested.
Cpl. Gerhart, Cpl. Swartz, and Officer Minnick’s professional conduct and police intuition, coupled by quick teamwork by all responding officers to a dangerous situation, brought an end to a crime spree which occurred that evening. By promptly restoring peace and safety back to the community.