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Police Nab Three Theft Suspects After Pursuit

Two black females and one black male reportedly committed retail theft from a store in Montgomeryville and fled from police after a traffic stop. The car crashed on Route 309 in Lower Gwynedd, and the suspects allegedly fled the scene before being caugh

Three suspects — two who are convicted thieves and one headed to trial on separate theft charges — in Sunday afternoon's retail theft at Olly Shoes at Airport Square in Montgomery Township, and subsequent crash and foot pursuit with police, are in custody and face numerous misdemeanor offenses.

Arrested in the incident Sunday afternoon were:

  • Jhalil Melquan Washington (aka Jhalil Purnell), 22, of Philadelphia
  • Shyfeanah Purnell, 23, of Philadelphia
  • Maya Nichole Bennett (aka Asia Wright aka Anaya Bennett), 25, of Philadelphia

Washington and Purnell are charged with the following misdemeanor offenses:

  • Retail Theft
  • Conspiracy to Commit Retail Theft
  • Receiving Stolen Property
  • Unlawful Possession of Retail/Library Theft Instruments (Theft detection shielding device or a theft detection deactivation device)
  • Possession of an Instrument of Crime With Intent
  • Resisting Arrest

Bennett is charged with the following offenses:

  • Retail Theft
  • Conspiracy to Commit Retail Theft
  • Receiving Stolen Property
  • Unlawful Possession of Retail/Library Theft Instruments (Theft detection shielding device or a theft detection deactivation device)
  • Possession of an Instrument of Crime With Intent
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Fleeing or Eluding Police
  • Reckless Driving

All three were arraigned before District Judge Scott Palladino in Pottstown on Sunday. All three remain incarcerated at Montgomery County prison.

All three face preliminary hearings on Nov. 27 at 10:15 a.m. before District Judge Andrea Duffy in Montgomeryville.

According to court records, Officer Timothy Woch was the arresting officer.

Montgomery Township Police Chief Scott Bendig said Woch pulled over the black Jetta following a report of a retail theft from Olly Shoes. The Jetta was occupied by the suspects, with Bennett driving.

Bennett allegedly fled from the traffic stop and Woch followed, ending his pursuit at the township line with Lower Gwynedd.

The vehicle crashed and the suspects fled in Lower Gwynedd Township before being taken into custody. At least one suspect was tasered by police, according to reports.

Lower Gwynedd Township Police and Pennsylvania State Police assisted in the pursuit and apprehension of the suspects, according to Bendig.

Washington has had seven criminal cases come before the Common Pleas Court in Pennsylvania since September 2008, according to court records.

Washington is awaiting a December 2012 trial on a felony drug manufacture and delivery charge, misdemeanor retail theft charge and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charge from an April 2011 arrest in Upper Merion, according to court records.Washington was found guilty of retail theft at a trial in July 2012 in Philadelphia and was sentenced to a maximum of nine months probation, according to court records.

In all other offenses, Washington had charges withdrawn at the common pleas level.

Purnell pleaded guilty to retail theft and conspiracy to commit retail theft in August 2011 in Upper Merion, and spent 41 days in prison, beginning in July 2012, according to court records. Purnell is also serving two years’ probation at present.

Bennett has had five criminal cases come before the Common Pleas Count in Pennsylvania since December 2007, according to court records.

Bennett has an open criminal case in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas from an August 2012 arrest in West Pottsgrove on retail theft and receiving stolen property charges, according to court records.

Sunday Evening story

Three suspects in a retail theft in Montgomery Township were captured by police following a car chase and foot pursuit in Lower Gwynedd — and at least one suspect was tasered.

According to reports from MontcoAlerts Twitter, two black males and a black female fled from a traffic stop in a black Volkswagen Jetta southbound on Route 309 Sunday afternoon.

The suspects reportedly stole about $2,000 in clothing from Olly Shoes in Airport Square, according to communication on Montgomery County Police radio.

The Jetta crashed and flipped over at mile marker 9.6 on Route 309 in Lower Gwynedd around 3:36 p.m., according to reports. Lower Gwynedd Township Police then pursued the three suspects on foot into the woods near Dager Road, according to reports.

The female was taken into custody around 3:45 p.m., per reports.

At least one of the male suspects was tasered, according to reports.

PennStar was called in to assist in the search, according to reports.

Snicks824 November 05, 2012 at 02:50 AM
So that's what happened! I saw the car being pulled over and the cop yelling..."Get out of the car NOW!" Just as the officer approached the car, the car sped off.
Gary A. Weller November 05, 2012 at 03:55 AM
PennStar flew over my house with the siren on. Certain people are so stupid.
jon mc November 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM
I saw this whole incident happen on my way down 309 with a friend of mine....If we were two minutes earlier my buddy and I would have possibly been killed by this chick weaving in and out of traffic at 90 mph. As we came around the expressway curve we ran over several pieces of the totaled car, and saw the car smashed into the jersey barrier lying on its roof with one of the back tires still spinning, and the suspects already out of the car running down the other side of the highway with a whole crowd of innocent people in awe watching these nuts run for their small time of freedom that they had left. Its unreal how people aka (dirt-bags) like this think they are going to get away with a crime like this, and on top of it they struck another mans car, and totaled their own. The cop who pulled them over was no where to be found, but after I read this article I see they were actually caught. We thought the cop was shot because we did not see him right on their tail after they sped off in their car. "Thank God no one died in this accident, and justice was done". I think its amazing how these three even survived and then still had it in them to take off running from the scene. How did they get out of that car!?!? Amazing lol!! That was crazy to witness, but life goes on....

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