Alleged Hatfield Drunk Bus Thief Heads to Trial
Andre Leon Wilson, 38, of Lower Providence, was released on his own recognizance, and faces felony theft and felony receiving stolen property charges. Wilson is accused of stealing a drunk bus from Hattrick's Bar in Hatfield Borough on Jan. 27
A Lower Providence man, accused of stealing the drunk bus from Hattrick's Bar in Hatfield Borough, was released on his own recognizance following a preliminary hearing in Souderton District Court Thursday, but still faces two felony charges at county arraignment on April 10.
Andre Leon Wilson, 38, of the 4000 block of Cardin Place, faces charges of felony theft, felony receiving stolen property, misdemeanor unauthorized use of a vehicle, and misdemeanor DUI, and driving with a suspended or revoked license, after police said he allegedly stole a van used by the bar for designated driving services.
Wilson waived all but one charge to county arraignment, according to court records. A summary offense of driving without headlights at night was withdrawn at the hearing.
Wilson was represented at the hearing in the courtroom of District Judge Kenneth Deatelhauser by public defender Cary Hall.
Bail was previously set at $50,000 cash by District Judge Juanita Price of Glenside, but he was released on his own recognizance, per an agreement between Hall and Hatfield Township Police. He was released Thursday.
Here's what happened at Hattrick's, per an affidavit of probable cause:
On Jan. 27, at 1:20 a.m., Hatfield Township Police officers responded to Hattricks Sports Bar, 64 E. Lincoln Ave., Hatfield, for a report of a vehicle theft in process, police said.
Officers learned a van owned by Hattricks had been stolen while it was left idle in front of the bar, police said.
While responding, Hatfield Police Officer Michael Burdick located the white Dodge Ram van with "Hattricks" on the side of it at the intersection of Cherry and Fretz streets in Hatfield Borough, police said. The van was found about 0.2 miles from the bar, police said.
Hatfield Township Police Officer William Summerfield spoke with employee Chris MIller and driver Wayne Tohanczyn, according to court records. Miller told police that he saw an intoxicated black male outside of the bar near the front door. Miller went to the vestibule area of the bar and saw the same man outside with a white female, according to court records.
Miller told police he assisted a bar patron who fell, and then looked outside and saw the van was gone, according to court records.
Tohanczyn told police he started the van to defrost it, in preparation of driving bar patrons home at 1:10 a.m. Tohanczyn then went back into the vestibule area of the bar, according to court records.
Tohanczyn told police he saw a black male who was in the bar earlier attempt to re-enter the bar, according to court records. Tohanczyn refused to let th eman in because he was intoxicated, police said.
Tohanczyn started to get other passengers for the van; when he went to exit the bar, he was told by Miller that the van was stolen, police said.
Miller and Tohanczyn described the suspect as a bald black male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 220 pounds, and around 35 years old, police said. The suspect was wearing jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and a red shirt under the sweatshirt, police said.
The red shit had the word "Coronado" on it, Tohanczyn told police.
Hattricks manager Joan McVeigh arrived and provided access to business surveillance footage, police said. While viewing the surveillance, police found the suspect in question in the bar between 1 a.m. and 1:14 a.m., police said, with a group of females.
Police determined one of the females with Wilson was Catherine Balboni, police said, who opened a tab at the bar.
Police identified Wilson as the man who allegedly stole the van, police said.
At 1:14 a.m., Wilson left the bar, police said, and one minute later, attempts to re-enter the bar, but is stopped in the vestibule.
Wilson then exits the vestibule and walks to the parking lot, where he is allegedly seen getting in the van and driving away at 1:16 a.m., police said.
Police determined Balboni resided on the unit block of Cherry Street, on the same corner where the van was recovered, police said.
Police arrive at Balboni's residence, where Wilson answers the door, police said. Police said they recognized Wilson from the surveillance video.
While speaking with Wilson, Balboni interrupted the conversation and said, "We were both at Hattricks drinking," police said.
Police said Wilson was only wearing jeans at Balboni's home. When asked what he was wearing at Hattricks, Balboni told police Wilson was wearing the red shirt she was currently wearing, police said.
The shirt had the words "Colorado Division" written on it, police said.
Wilson told police he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a black coat at Hattricks, police said.
Wilson allegedly had an odor of alcohol on his breath, his speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet, police said.
Wilson was transported to Lansdale Hospital for a blood sample to determine blood alcohol content, police said. At 3:17 a.m., Wilson refused the blood test, police said.
Wilson has faced trial for seven criminal arrests in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, according to court records, and six criminal trials in Philadelphia Municipal Court, since 1992.
In November 2011, Wilson pleaded guilty to DUI offenses in Norristown Borough and was sentenced to a maximum of three months in prison and three months' probation, according to court records. As a result, his license was also suspended, police said.
In 2007, Wilson was found not guilty by trial on numerous assault offenses in Lansdale Borough, according to court records.
Wilson's last trial in Philadelphia was in 2002, where he was found not guilty by migrated dispostion on numerous robbery charges, according to court records.