Police: 1 cosmetics thief nabbed after chase

Since September, Pennsylvania authorities have been on alert for a group of thieves targeting CVS pharmacies in multiple states, allegedly stealing at least $85,000 worth of merchandise — mostly high-end cosmetics.

On Monday, Jan. 12, the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department responded to the CVS in the 1500 block of Paoli Pike after receiving information that two suspects were in the area; one was subsequently taken into custody, a department press release said.

Image 1As officers arrived at the scene, they saw one of the men entering the suspects’ vehicle. As officers approached, the subject drove out of the parking lot onto Boot Road. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspect’s vehicle struck one of the police vehicles and a pursuit ensued, the release said.

The pursuit proceeded through various jurisdictions and involved members of several police departments, including East Whiteland, Willistown, West Chester, West Goshen, and Tredyffrin.   The chase ended when the subject traveled up Saratoga Drive, a cul-de-sac in East Goshen Township, and onto the property of a private residence. Elijah Beckham, 28, whose last known address was Middletown, Del., was taken into custody without further incident, the release said.

Further investigation at the CVS store indicated that the other suspect had been inside the store prior to police arrival and fled on foot. Police said evidence at the scene indicated the two men had been in the process of committing another retail theft before fleeing, leaving behind $2,900 worth of items. A search of the area for the second suspect with the assistance of K-9s from the Chester County Sheriff’s Department came up empty, the release said. ,

Police said the pair is part of a group responsible for stealing at least $85,000 worth of merchandise from CVS stores since September in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. During one theft, a CVS employee was assaulted; the suspect who was not apprehended should be considered potentially armed and dangerous, the release said.

Beckham was arraigned on various warrants on Tuesday, Jan. 13, and his bail was set at $45,000 cash, police said. He was unable to post it and was remanded to the Chester County Prison pending a preliminary hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, according to court records.

Westtown-East Goshen Police Chief Brenda Bernot said authorities believe the same group of individuals is responsible for other thefts in Chester County; however, since multiple groups are currently involved in these types of thefts, she said further investigation would be needed to establish a definitive link. “We will be sharing our information with law enforcement agencies to maximize the amount of crimes cleared with this arrest,” she said.

Records show Beckman also faces charges in Lower Merion, Upper Darby, Abington, Tredyffrin, Whitpain, Radnor, Marple and Bensalem Townships.

 

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About Kathleen Brady Shea

Kathleen Brady Shea, a nearly lifelong area resident, has been reporting on local news for several decades, including 19 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer. She believes that journalists provide a vital watchdog service in the community, and she embraces that commitment. In addition to unearthing news, she also enjoys digging up dirt in her garden, a hobby that frequently fosters Longwood Gardens envy. Along with her husband, Pete, she lives in a historic residence near the Brandywine Battlefield, a property that is also home to a sheep, a goat, and a passel of fish.

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