Jan. 24—Reading police Monday arrested a 21-year-old man following a brief foot chase after identifying him as the suspect in the robbery and shooting of a 76-year-old man during a robbery eight days earlier, officials said.
Jose Escobar-Hernandez was carrying a handgun when he was taken into custody in the area of Third and Franklin streets, investigators said. They said he later admitted using the gun in the robbery.
Escobar-Hernandez, no permanent address, was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $750,000 bail following arraignment Monday night before District Judge Kyley L. Scott in Reading Central Court.
In addition to robbery and aggravated assault charges related to the Jan. 15 incident, Escobar-Hernandez faces separate charges related to his Monday arrest. Those charges include possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, carrying a firearm without a license and drug possession.
According to investigators:
The victim said he left the back of his home in the 400 block of Chestnut Street to buy a lottery ticket. While walking along the 200 block of Wood Street to the store, he was confronted by a man wearing a red jacket.
The assailant pointed a gun at him and demanded that he give him everything he had, threatening to hurt him if he didn't comply.
The victim said he handed over $9, all the money he was carrying, and begged the man not to hurt him. The robber fired one shot that struck the victim in the foot, then fled.
The victim returned to his home and called 911.
Criminal Investigator Travis Atkins viewed a collection of security camera footage from homes and businesses and learned the suspect was wearing a red-and-black jacket, black face mask, black fanny pack and light-colored shoes.
On Monday about 2 p.m. Atkins was in an unmarked police vehicle at Third and Penn street when he saw someone he believed matched the person in the footage walking south on Third Street. He followed the man, later identified as Escobar-Hernandez, to an apartment in the 100 block of South Third.
Atkins watched the front of the apartment. About 20 minute later, Escobar-Hernandez left the building and began walking toward Franklin Street.
Atkins followed him and summoned patrol officers to the area. He noticed Escobar-Hernandez was holding his right hand against his jacket pocket while his left arm swung freely.
After Escobar-Hernandez turned onto Apple Street, Atkins and responding officers tried to stop him but he started to run.
Atkins caught him and found a handgun in his right jacket pocket.
Escobar-Hernandez was taken to City Hall for an interview. He admitted robbing and shooting the man more than a week earlier but said he did not intend to shoot him.