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State police find suspect in nearby field 16 hours after gas station burglary in Berks

State police arrested a burglary suspect Monday more than 16 hours after they said he broke into a convenience store along Route 222 in Maxatawny Township.

Christopher Buchman Jr., 35, no permanent address, was taken into custody by troopers from the Reading station shortly after 5:30 p.m. under a large tree in a field off Long Lane and Kutztown Road, which is Route 222.

Investigators said Buchman, who has lived in the Mertztown area, had dozens of unopened cigarette packs that troopers said he stole from Exxon-Top Star, 15518 Kutztown Road.

Buchman, who is under the supervision of Berks County Adult Probation for a simple assault conviction, was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $5,000 bail to await a hearing following arraignment Monday night before District Judge Carissa L. Johnson in Reading Central Court.

Buchman was charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief.

According to investigators:

State police were called about 5 a.m. Monday after employees discovered the break-in, which occurred about four hours earlier.

Security camera footage showed a white male wearing a graphic black T-shirt, cargo shorts, a gray backpack and glasses gaining entry by breaking a window.

He took about 80 packs of cigarettes.

A trooper went to nearby Xode Inc., 15519 Kutztown Road, and asked officials to review security camera footage that might show the suspect.

An official at Xode later contacted the Hamburg station, saying the male who matched the description of the suspect was seen at the rear loading dock overnight. Furthermore, he said he was contacted on his drive home from work by a co-worker who had passed the suspect on Long Lane.

The Xode official drove to the area and encountered a male he recognized from the surveillance video.

Members of the patrol division from the Hamburg station responded to the area and found Buchman under the tree in the field along Long Lane.

He was taken to the station for an interview and admitted breaking into the store. He said he was homeless and intended to barter the cigarettes for items he may need.

Source: Berkshire mont

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