A neighbor was instrumental in alerting South Williamsport police to a burglary on Wednesday afternoon that was allegedly committed by two drug-addicted men nabbed within minutes of the break-in, according to borough Police Chief Robert Hetner.
Keith D. Getz, 26, of 1204 W. Southern Ave., South Williamsport, and Dennis Wayne Hyser, 32, of 507 Washington Blvd., fled the crime scene at 335 Stanton St. about 1:50 p.m. in a red Subaru Impreza that Hyser was driving, Hetner said.
The neighbor gave police descriptions of the getaway vehicle as well as what the burglars were wearing, Hetner said. An officer spotted a car that matched the vehicle on West Southern Avenue and pursued it to Kane Street, where the driver turned south before stopping abruptly along the curb, Hetner said.
A passenger, later identified as Getz, jumped out and fled on foot, while the driver was detained at the scene, Hetner said.
Numerous officers from other neighboring police departments swarmed into the neighborhood and assisted in catching Getz, who was taken into custody near a garage on Matthews Boulevard, just north of the 1000 block of West Southern Avenue.
Seen inside the Impreza was a cigar box that investigators believe was stolen from Stephen Swinehart's home on Stanton Street. Police impounded the car and officers will go through the vehicle after obtaining a search warrant today.
Hetner said both Getz and Hyser battle with drug habits, and investigators believe the two committed the break-in to steal items that they could sell in order to get money to support their addictions.
The victim, who was not home at the time of the break-in, told police that jewelry was kept in a cigar box that was missing from his bedroom. Getz, who has a lengthy arrest record and is on state parole, is no stranger to Swinehart, police said, adding that he had been in the house before and that he used to be friends with Swinehart's son.
Getz and Hyser were arraigned late Wednesday night before District Judge Jon E. Kemp on charges of burglary, felony trespassing, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief. Getz was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $450,000 bail while Hyser was jailed in lieu of $350,000 bail.
Saying she played a key role in helping police nab two burglary suspects very quickly, Hetner praised the neighbor for getting involved and calling 911.