Nanticoke Police Department - 2018
The Nanticoke Police Department News report is a public service. The information is posted as soon as it is available from the information we gather and also from various local newspapers. We are not responsible for articles that are missed.
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Nanticoke police charge Harrisburg man with drug, firearm possession

City police arrested a Harrisburg man when they allegedly found marijuana and a stolen handgun inside his vehicle Thursday.
Patrick L. Knight, 31, was arrested when officers investigated a suspicious male and a vehicle driving erratically in the area of West Field Street and Lincoln Avenue at about 2:20 p.m., a report states.
Police spotted Knight leaning into a Buick LeSabre that was parked partially on the road and a yard. Police detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from Knight and the vehicle.
Knight told police he was from Hazleton and was reliving his childhood but did not know he was in Nanticoke.
Police spotted marijuana residue and the barrel of a handgun sticking out of a nylon bag. The gun’s serial number was altered, but police were able to get the correct number from the gun’s manufacturing box inside the vehicle. The serial number showed the handgun was reported stolen in Harrisburg.
A plastic bag of marijuana and a digital scale were also found in the vehicle.
Knight was arraigned on charges of receiving stolen property, possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and public drunkenness. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $30,000 bail.

Nanticoke man charged with drug trafficking after search

Police charged a Nanticoke man with drug trafficking on Monday after officers allegedly found drugs and paraphernalia during a search at his home.
Desmond Knott, 38, of 218 W. Ridge St., was arraigned Monday on felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Nanticoke and Hanover Twp. police:
The Luzerne County Drug Task Force served a search warrant at Knott’s home Monday morning. Knott was not there.
Officers found suspected marijuana, heroin/fentanyl, crack cocaine, two scales with powder residue and suspected drug paraphernalia.
Investigators found Knott at a West Pittston apartment. The resident, a woman, consented to a search of the apartment. In a safe, police found U.S. currency with serial numbers that matched those of “pre-recorded buy money” used in controlled drug purchases from Knott, the complaint states.
Knott told police that the woman who lives at the West Pittston apartment had nothing to do with the drugs found at his Nanticoke home. The woman told police that she would drive Knott around as he conducted drug deals and said she “was stupid for getting involved.”
A field test of the substances found at Knott’s home yielded positive results for marijuana, heroin/fentanyl and cocaine base, according to the complaint.
Following his arraignment, Knott was sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 14 before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Halesey.

Nanticoke student had weapons on school property

A student at Greater Nanticoke Area High School was charged Thursday with possessing axes and knives inside his vehicle on school property.
City police alleged school officer Ray Whittaker spotted an axe with a 35-inch handle on the passenger side floor of a Mazda Protege parked in the rear parking lot near the gymnasium just after 12 p.m.
The vehicle is registered with a school parking permit to Dylan Jeffrey White, 18, of West South Street, Nanticoke.
Whittaker notified school officials who spoke with White.
Police searched the vehicle allegedly finding an 11-inch knife in the glove box, a fully extended 9-inch knife in a console and a 13-inch hatchet under the driver’s side seat, according to the criminal complaint.
White was charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a weapon on school property. He was arraigned by District Judge Donald Whittaker in Nanticoke and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $100,000 bail.
Superintendent Dr. Ronald Grevera could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

Woman sentenced for role in drug ring
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A Nanticoke woman will serve more than two years in federal prison for her role in a heroin trafficking ring, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Megan Fox, 31, was sentenced Tuesday to serve 30 months in prison for conspiring to distribute heroin in Luzerne County in early 2014, prosecutors said. According to prosecutors, Fox admitted to helping a drug ring distribute as much as 1 kilogram of heroin, the equivalent of up to 40,000 bags.
The ring leader, Desmond Mercer, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
In addition to the prison time for Fox, Senior U.S. District Court Judge James M. Munley ordered her to forfeit nearly $16,000 and a Buick vehicle that was seized in the investigation. She will also be required to serve three years probation upon her release.

February 20, 2018

Incident: Retail Theft
Location: Rite Aid Pharmacy 5 East Main St. Nanticoke City
Date: February 19, 2018

Nanticoke City Police responded to the Rite Aid Pharmacy 5 East Main St. Nanticoke City for the report of a retail theft shortly after 11am.
A white male took possession of merchandise and ran out of the store when confronted by loss prevention personnel.A surveillance photo of the white male is attached. Anyone with information regarding his identity is asked to contact the Nanticoke City Police at 570-735-2200.



Police: Pot-smoking parents charged after tot goes unresponsive
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

Two city parents are facing child endangerment charges after their 18-month-old child became unresponsive in a house filled with marijuana smoke, according to police.
Raheem Twyman, 21, and Kayla Marie Bitzer, 25, both of 231 E. Green St., are accused of putting their three children in danger when they smoked marijuana in the house Tuesday afternoon.
According to a police affidavit, police and medics were dispatched to the family home at exactly 4:20 p.m. to a report of an unresponsive child. Police arrived and found medics treating the 18-month-old baby, who was taken to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
Bitzer, the mother, told police she and Twyman had been in the basement smoking marijuana while her three children — 18-month-old twins and a 3-year-old — remained on the first floor of the home, police said.
Twyman reported that the 3-year-old came to the basement door to say that the younger children were climbing on a table, so he went upstairs, according to the affidavit. One of the toddlers was on the table, limp and unresponsive, so Twyman yelled to Bitzer for help, police said.
Another resident of the home told police he had been asleep upstairs when Bitzer came up asking him to call 911, according to the affidavit.
Police say the first floor and basement of the house smelled strongly of marijuana, and that Twyman turned over the remaining marijuana he had along with a marijuana grinder and blunt cigars.
The two children who were not hospitalized were taken into protective custody. Officials said the child who was treated was discharged from the hospital later Tuesday.
Police charged both parents with three felony counts of child endangerment and a misdemeanor count of possessing marijuana.
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker arraigned them on Wednesday morning. The judge released Bitzer on $75,000 unsecured bail but ordered Twyman jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set at $75,000.
Preliminary hearings were set for Feb. 14.

Former Nanticoke mayor ruled incompetent in child luring case
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A former teacher and Nanticoke mayor who was accused of trying to lure children into his car with cash will not stand trial after a psychiatrist deemed him incompetent.
Edward J. Butkiewicz, 76, is facing misdemeanor charges of child luring and corruption of minors for allegedly trying to coax kids into his car with promises of cash in exchange for doing “weird” things.
But Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough has signed an order staying the case indefinitely, writing that Dr. Richard E. Fischbein determined Butkiewicz is not competent to stand trial.
A source with knowledge of the case said Butkiewicz has vascular dementia.
The court order calls for Butkiewicz to be re-evaluated later this year to determine whether he will be able to regain competency to stand trial.
Butkiewicz, of Mountain Top, is accused of roaming around and trying to coax children into his car along Rock Street in Glen Lyon last July. According to prosecutors, the first encounter involved a 13-year-old boy who said he was in the parking lot of an apartment complex when a silver car pulled up.
Butkiewicz asked the youth if there were any bars in the area, then asked if he could see the boy’s genitals, prosecutors said. The boy also described Butkiewicz saying he wanted to do “weird” things to him and offering money to get in the car, according to prosecutors.
A few days later, a 16-year-old boy reported that Butkiewicz had approached him twice. The first encounter was at Rock and East Main streets, where Butkiewicz asked if the boy was gay and wanted to make money, prosecutors said.
The second took place West Main and Market streets in Glen Lyon, where Butkiewicz asked the teen and another boy if they wanted to make money, prosecutors said.
Butkiewicz followed them into a Rock Street apartment complex, where they called 911. In addition to the luring and corruption charges, Butkiewicz is also facing charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest; police say he pushed back against the arresting officer.
He has been free since posting $100,000 bail last August. Vough’s order says bail will continue pending the follow-up examination.
Butkiewicz, a retired elementary school teacher in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District, served terms as a Nanticoke City councilman and mayor prior to facing similar charges in 2003. In that case, a former student of Butkiewicz’s told police Butkiewicz had pulled up and offered a ride, fondling the boy as they drove through Nanticoke and Hanover Twp.
Butkiewicz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of indecent assault in that case and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Raid on Nanticoke drug house turns up dope, cash, kids
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

Three children were removed from a home and four adults were arrested after police raided a suspected drug house Thursday afternoon and found large quantities of heroin and marijuana.
Officers raided the home at 200 W. Main St. around 4 p.m. Thursday after a confidential informant bought heroin from two of its occupants on three occasions since November, according to police.
The Luzerne County Drug Task Force entered the home after officers knocked and heard what sounded like people running around inside. Upon entering, police found the two targets of their investigation: Tarrell T. Humphrey, 33, and Daurron Jamison, 22.
A search of Humphrey turned up 60 bags of “PANTHER” brand heroin, the same type the confidential informant bought from both men during the lead up to the raid, police said.
In the upstairs master bedroom, which belongs to Walter Daymon Humphrey, 43, and Sadiqa Imanihamd Caines, 41, police found a large amount of marijuana, drug packaging materials, cash and a digital scale that was coated with white powder, according to police.
The cash was inside a purse in a closet where police also found three vacuum-sealed bags, each weighing about 120 grams, according to police. The contents of the vacuum bags tested positive for heroin, police said.
Police say Luzerne County Children and Youth Services caseworkers responded to the home and removed Caines’ three children, delivering them to a relative. Nanticoke City Code Enforcement was also apprised of the situation at the home, a rental property.
Police charged all four adults with drug trafficking, conspiracy to deliver drugs, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Tarrell Humphrey was also hit with counts of criminal use of a communication facility.
Magisterial District judge David A. Barilla arraigned the quartet on the charges Friday morning and set bail for each of them at $75,000. They were being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with preliminary hearings set for Feb. 21.

Police: 300 kids involved in GNA-WVW brawl
Bob Kalinowski - Citizens Voice

A brawl involving up to 300 students erupted Tuesday night outside Wyoming Valley West High School after the school hosted a boys basketball game against Greater Nanticoke Area, police said.
Larksville police Sgt. Josh Evans, who was working security for the game, said the student sections for both schools were animated and they clashed after the heated contest, which Nanticoke won 69-62.
“It was a rivalry game. There was a large crowd on both sides. After the game, things got out of hand. There was a large disturbance,” Evans said.
While the school is in Plymouth, Larksville police provide security during games.
Evans said he and his partner radioed for backup from Plymouth and Edwardsville police when it appeared trouble was likely. He said the clashing sides were soon separated.
Punches were thrown, but there didn’t appear to be any serious injuries, he said.
Plymouth police would only confirm they are investigating a “large fight” involving juveniles that occurred on Wyoming Valley West school property.
The fight was reported around 8:38 p.m., police said.
Plymouth police said the brawl was investigated and juveniles that were interviewed were released to parents and guardians.
Investigators didn’t say if charges would be filed.
Police say they are reviewing video of the fight.
Efforts to reach Valley West and Nanticoke school officials about the incident were not successful.

Nanticoke man charged with repeated rape of child
Eric Mark - Citizens Voice

A Nanticoke man repeatedly raped a girl starting when she was 8 years old, city police allege.
Jason Buchanan, 36, was arraigned Sunday on a slew of felony charges, including rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault of a child, indecent assault of a person less than 13 years of age, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of a minor.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Nanticoke police, the victim, now 15, last month reported that Buchanan had sexually assaulted her since she was 8. The girl was interviewed at the Luzerne County Child Advocacy Center.
The girl said that Buchanan would come into her bedroom and perform sex acts. She said that when she asked Buchanan if he had to do this, he replied “Yes, we have to,” the affidavit states. Buchanan also sexually assaulted the girl at least once outside the home, according to the affidavit.
Buchanan told the girl she is beautiful and warned her not to tell anyone because he “could get in so much trouble,” the affidavit states.
The girl said she is afraid of Buchanan because he had been physically abusive toward her, according to the affidavit. She also said Buchanan told her that if she ever needed anything sexual, she could go to him and he would “help her out,” the affidavit states.
Buchanan’s wife, Evalynn Buchanan, 35, was charged with a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the case, according to court documents.
Both Buchanans are being held in Luzerne County Correctional Facility in lieu of $500,000 bail, pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 7 before Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker.

Judge calls rapist 'predator,' imposes decades in prison
James Halpin- Citizens Voice

A Nanticoke man convicted of raping a teenage girl, trying to molest her sister, and trying to force himself another woman was sentenced Friday to serve up to 50 years in state prison.
Glynn A. Wildoner, 38, of 223 W. Union St., offered a brief apology as he stood in court before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough, who appeared unmoved by the gesture. The judge noted that Wildoner was out on bail on the charges stemming from the abuse of the sisters when he tried to sexually assault a female relative.
“To me you’re a predator,” Vough said. “You’re a danger to this community. ... You need to be taken out of society for a very, very, long time.”
Wildoner was first arrested in June 2016 on child rape charges alleging he forced himself on a 14-year-old girl and tried to have sex with the girl’s sister. According to prosecutors, the girl’s mother caught Wildoner when she unlocked her daughter’s bedroom door and found the teen on the floor with her pants down and Wildoner on top of her.
The girl told police she had been trying to take a nap when Wildoner woke her by putting his hand over her mouth, saying “stay the (expletive) down,” according to prosecutors. Wildoner then forced himself on the teen, warning that he would hurt her if she told anyone, prosecutors said.
The girl told prosecutors that Wildoner had raped her before, and her sister reported that several months earlier Wildoner tried to pressure her into having sex but she refused.
Police hit Wildoner with child rape and related charges, but he posted $100,000 bail through a bondsman 11 days after his arrest. While out on bail, prosecutors say Wildoner went to a female relative’s apartment and made sexual advances on her, putting his hands down her pants and offering her $100 in exchange for sex.
Wildoner was again arrested, this time on charges of indecent assault.
In October, he went to trial on the rape case and a jury convicted him on multiple counts of rape, statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and related offenses. Earlier this month, Wildoner then pleaded guilty to indecent assault and promoting prostitution in the second case.
During the sentencing hearing Friday, defense attorney John Donovan sought a sentence of 10-20 years in prison, arguing that Wildoner has a limited criminal history and that a longer sentence could amount to life in prison.
“By the time this sentence is complete, he will be in his late 50s,” Donovan said. “It will let him lead some kind of a life.”
But Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza sought more time behind bars, describing Wildoner’s conduct as “horrible” and noting that he victimized three people.
“This wasn’t one slip up,” Sperrazza said. “This wasn’t one incident. This was a pattern of behavior that only stopped when (the girl’s) mother walked in on it.”
Vough sentenced Wildoner to 25 to 50 years in state prison, ordering him to have no contact with the victims and to register as a sex offender for life. The judge ordered Wildoner sent to the state Department of Corrections as soon as possible, giving him credit for 193 days time served.

Patient death leads to felony charge for Nanticoke nurse
James Halpin- Citizens Voice

A registered nurse whose patient died under her care was charged Friday with a felony count of neglect of care alleging she failed to take adequate precautions after being warned her patient was in distress.
Kelly E. Levandowski, 39, of 35 rear W. South St., is accused of “intentionally, knowingly or negligently” failing to provide sufficient care to Melvin Johnson, 72, who died after going into cardiac arrest at Guardian Elder Care at 147 Old Newport St., on June 20, 2013.
According to a complaint filed by the state Attorney General’s Office, the criminal investigation began after the state Department of Health cited Guardian in 2013 for failing to provide adequate monitoring over the incident.
The complaint says that Johnson had suffered from a ruptured aneurism and subsequent bleeding of the brain prior to being admitted at Guardian on the day of her death. She had been on a ventilator, but was weened off of it prior to admission, according to the complaint.
The Guardian staff did not immediately put Johnson on 15-minute checks because there was no evidence that she had been pulling on a breathing tube upon admission, the complaint says. However staff on the 3-11 p.m. shift that day did observe Johnson pulling on the tube, and at least four members told Levandowski, a shift supervisor, that they were concerned about it, the complaint says.
Levandowski, however, stayed seated at the nursing station, according to the charges.
When Johnson pulled it out shortly after 7 p.m. that evening, Levandowski reinserted it herself and called Johnson’s doctor, but did not call 911 as required by facility policy, the complaint says. Levandowski also wrote in her notes that 15-minute checks were to continue, although prosecutors say there is no evidence that they had started previously.
“If 15-minute checks were in place at that time, they were proven to be ineffective, as Johnson was not adequately supervised in that she was able to remove her tube,” the complaint says.
About a half-hour after the first incident, another nurse discovered that Johnson had again removed the tube and was unresponsive, according to the complaint.
Levandowski’s notes indicate she tried unsuccessfully to reinsert the tube and performed CPR until medics arrived on scene. However, prosecutors noted in the complaint that no other staff members were able to corroborate Levandowski’s claim that she tried to save Johnson.
In fact, one nurse aide told investigators that after Johnson died, Levandowski directed her to fill out a form indicating 15-minute checks had been performed on Johnson since 3 p.m., even though they had not been. The aide reported that she complied because Levandowski was her boss and she felt intimidated, prosecutors said.
Another nursing aide also told investigators that someone had forged her initials on a check sheet for earlier in the afternoon, the complaint says.
During questioning, Levandowski told investigators that she should have called 911 and put Johnson under constant supervision after the first incident, but that “a lot was missed that night, obviously.”
The complaint alleges Levandowski engaged in criminal neglect of a patient for failing to take those steps, which are required under facility policy.
The complaint says Levandowski stopped working for Guardian in July 2015.
Magisterial District Judge Donald L. Whittaker arraigned Levandowski on Friday morning and released her on $25,000 unsecured bail.
A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 7.

Camera recorded man using stolen credit card in Nanticoke
Times Leader

City police on Thursday released surveillance pictures of a man using a reported stolen credit card at the Turkey Hill store on West Main Street last month.
Police said the credit card was stolen from a location on East Grand Street on Dec. 24, and used the same day at about 11:17 p.m. at the Turkey Hill store.
The man recorded in surveillance pictures operated a white Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Nanticoke man acquitted on most charges in rape case
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A Nanticoke man accused of rape was acquitted at trial of nearly all the charges against him Friday.
Christopher Bates, 44, faced charges including forcible rape, aggravated assault and false imprisonment alleging he forced himself on a woman at knife-point.
Prosecutors alleged Bates attacked the woman while she was sleeping around 2 a.m. Nov. 12, 2016, putting duct tape on her mouth and pulling a knife on her as he raped her.
But after about two hours of deliberations Friday, a jury found Bates not guilty on 18 of the 20 counts he faced. The jury convicted him on one misdemeanor count of simple assault, and Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough found Bates guilty on a summary harassment violation.
Bates was represented by Kingston attorney Nanda Palissery.

Nanticoke man pleads guilty to string of robberies
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A Nanticoke man accused in three robbery cases pleaded guilty Thursday.
Bobby Wicks, 40, pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and simple assault. Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough accepted the plea and set sentencing for March 9.
Wicks was charged in three Nanticoke robberies: the robbery of the Cocoa Hut convenience store on Nov. 19, the attempted robbery of a Curry Donuts shop on Nov. 16, and an armed robbery of the Burger King on Nov. 13.
Wicks was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility pending sentencing.

Laurel Run man pleads guilty to sex assault charges
James Halpin - Citizens Voice

A Laurel Run man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony count of statutory sexual assault.
Christopher Cornell, 21, pleaded to a single count of the offense, with prosecutors dropping other charges. Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr. accepted the plea and set sentencing for Feb. 26.
According to prosecutors, Cornell was 20 and the girl was 15 when they had sexual intercourse on multiple occasions last July at a home on East Noble Street in Nanticoke.
As part of his sentence, Cornell will be required to complete sex offender counseling.

Police: Woman forced to perform oral sex in front of children

A Monroe County man was arraigned Tuesday on charges he forced a woman to perform a oral sex in front of children inside an East Green Street residence.
Deon Hosmond Blair, 27, of Henryville, was arrested by Nanticoke police while investigating a domestic dispute at the residence just before 11 p.m. Monday.
A witness told police Blair was keeping a woman against her will inside the residence.
Police noticed the woman had facial and head injuries and pleaded with officers she needed help because Blair was hurting her, according to the criminal complaint.
Blair told officers to leave the residence.
When Blair was told that police were investigating a domestic dispute, Blair asked the witness to speak privately.
Police learned Blair was wanted by East Stroudsburg University police on assault and harassment charges stemming from an incident on Nov. 9. After he was handcuffed and taken away from the residence, the woman allegedly claimed he assaulted her.
She alleged Blair slapped and punched her and forced her to perform a lewd sex act on him in front of three children, ages 2, 1 and three months, the complaint says.
Police said the woman was transported to Commonwealth Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for treatment.
Blair was charged with two counts each with indecent assault and simple assault and a single count of harassment. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $20,000 bail and on the arrest warrant from East Stroudsburg University.