23 Aug 2014
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Shoplifter, 23, Commits Suicide in Jail After Multiple Arrests

A shoplifter hanged himself in county jail after allegedly stealing from both Palmer Park Mall and Lehigh Valley Mall.

Shoplifter, 23, Commits Suicide in Jail After Multiple Arrests

About 10 days before he killed himself in a Lehigh County Prison cell Monday, a 23-year-old former Tatamy resident was charged in a shoplifting incident at Palmer Park Mall for which he was not jailed.

But Justin Lee Bowyer was sent to Lehigh County Prison after a Nov. 9 (Friday) shoplifting incident at JC Penney in Lehigh Valley Mall, according to The Morning Call. That incident was his third retail theft arrest, The Call said.

The Call story lists Bowyer’s address as 537 N. Fountain St., Allentown, which is near 9th and Allen streets.

The criminal complaint for Bowyer’s Palmer Park Mall arrest on Nov. 2 lists his address as 627 Broad St., Tatamy. The complaint also states the incident was his second retail theft offense.

In the Palmer incident, Bowyer was charged with placing 78 necklaces from a rack at Boscov’s inside his winter hat – a tan beanie, according to the criminal complaint.

The charges say he had an accomplice – Natasha Romanishan, 22, of 408 Nazareth Pike (Route 191), Lower Nazareth Township. Both were accused of also trying to take a hooded sweatshirt and a winter hat from the men’s department.

The necklaces and clothing were valued at about $1,200.

They were apprehended outside the gift department doors on the east side of the store, the complaint says. Each was charged with retail theft and criminal conspiracy and released on $30,000 unsecured bail.

According to The Call story, Bowyer hanged himself in his Lehigh County Prison cell and was pronounced dead in the prison at 7:32am Monday by the Lehigh County Coroner’s office.

The coroner’s office, in a news release, said an autopsy was performed Tuesday morning and that the manner of Bowyer’s death was a suicide. The release said the coroner’s office and the Lehigh County District Attorney’s office are investigating.

The Call story also says:

--Bowyer was taken into custody by Whitehall Township police Friday night (Nov. 9). Court documents say Bowyer tried stealing $1,088 in merchandise from the Penney store. He was caught on camera stuffing the items into his clothing and hooded sweatshirt at 6:05 p.m. He tried leaving the store without paying but store security and Whitehall police were waiting, the court records say.

Northampton County records show Bowyer faced a series of arrests between August 2008 and January 2010 on such charges as retail theft, possession of marijuana, theft by unlawful taking and an access device violation. The alleged incidents occurred in Tatamy, the city of Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township and Lower Nazareth Township.

He was charged in August 2009 in Allentown with use/possession of drug paraphernalia, online court records say.

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