Bethlehem police said a "career criminal" is charged in three robberies, two of which followed offers to shovel snow for elderly women.
Michael Fontanez, 49, was charged Friday with robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and related crimes. On parole at the time of his arrest, he was sent to Northampton County Prison under $250,000 bail.
According to police:
At 7:40 a.m. Friday, police were called to a break-in at 1807 Livingston St. Officers arrived and surrounded the home, where they found Fontanez hiding in a rear bedroom.
Fontanez had a "large amount of jewelry and gold coins." Police are working to identify where those items came from.
Police determined Fontanez was involved in two other robberies. One happened Jan. 17 in the 1900 block of Hart Street and involved an 86-year-old woman. The other happened Feb. 5 in the 800 block of Jennings Street and involved a 94-year-old woman.
In both cases, Fontanez offered to shovel snow for the women.
On Hart Street, Fontanez pushed the woman and stole cash and jewelry, police said. On Jennings Street, the woman was detained in her home and also robbed of cash and jewelry.
Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio said Fontanez is a career criminal and that Friday's arrest happened after a concerned citizen saw something amiss and called police.
The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Christopher Vasvari at 610-865-7187.
— Pamela Lehman