An alleged burglar was captured after a midday rooftop struggle with police in which the suspect threatened to jump rather than be arrested.
Norristown Police responded to the 1000 block of Willow Street just after 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 29, to a call from a neighbor reporting that "an older black male wearing a red jacket and black hat" was seen climbing through a window in the rear of a nearby home. At the scene, officers saw the open window and surrounded the house.
The officers could reportedly see the suspect matching the description, later identified as 48-year-old Michael Thomas, of Bridgeport, attempting to escape the house through windos in the second and third floors. Police say Thomas was able to make his way to the roof from a third floor window and attempted to flea across neighboring rooftops.
An officer was able to gain access to the roof and cornered Thomas, who reportedly threatened numerous times to jump. The officer instructed Thomas that he was under arrest and ordered him to lie down on his chest, according to the report.
When the officer attempted to handcuff Thomas, he allegedly became combative, pushing the officer away and attempting to reach the edge of the roof, which police say was wet and slippery due to recent rainfall. The officer reportedly fired his Taser at Thomas, causing him to fall and injure himself. Thomas reportedly suffered minor lacerations to his nose and face as a result of the fall.
The officer reported that the probes of the Taser dislodged from Thomas' back during the fall and he allegedly began to struggle again, pulling away from the officer and kicking him. The officer reportedly deployed the drive-stun function of the Taser to Thomas' legs in an attempt to subdue him as he continued to struggle and allegedly attempt to grab the officer's Taser. Eventually, back-up arrived and Thomas was taken into custody. The Norristown Fire Department was dispatched to help remove Thomas and officers from the roof safely.
Thomas reportedly refused medical treatment for his injuries, but police called paramedics to evaluate Thomas at the station. Thomas reportedly told paramedics he was light-headed and dizzy and was taken to Mercy Suburban Hospital for treatment.
Thomas is facing charges including burglary, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disarming a law enforcement officer. Thomas' was arraigned on Monday and remanded to Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $10,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 10 in Judge Margaret A. Hunsicker's court.