Unmasked suspect arrested after returning to scene of crime in Reading, police say

Steven Henshaw, Reading Eagle, Pa.
·2 min read

Feb. 25—Reading police arrested an unmasked man after he entered a store Wednesday and was immediately recognized by an employee as the person who tried to rob the store with a knife while not wearing a mask two weeks earlier, authorities said.

John M. Yerger II, 29, of the 800 block of North Eighth Street was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail after arraignment Wednesday night before District Judge Tonya Butler in Reading Central Court.

He faces charges of robbery, simple assault and reckless endangerment.

According to police:

On Jan. 29 about 5 p.m., Yerger walked into the Super Dollar Store, 800 Oley St., without wearing a face covering as required. An employee asked him to put on a mask while in the store but he ignored her.

He walked around the store before coming to the checkout and going to the back of the register by entering an area restricted to use by employees. He produced a 6-inch-long knife and yelled to the worker, "Money, money, cash!"

The worker screamed and yelled for someone to call the police. Someone in the store grabbed a long roll of wrapping paper and smacked it against the counter then chased the startled robber out of the store.

Police responded but did not find Yerger.

On Wednesday about 3:45 p.m., the same employee who was threatened with a knife during the Jan. 29 robbery called police. She told dispatchers the suspect in that robbery was in the store.

Patrol officers arrived and detained the man, who was identified as Yerger.

The employee said she was certain he was the man who threatened her with a knife and demanded money two weeks earlier. She said it was easy to recognize his face since he wasn't wearing a mask.