CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield man pleaded guilty to removing two vehicles from a repair shop where he worked and setting fire to another during sentencing court Monday.
Thomas Harley Peters, 36, was sentenced by President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to one to three years in state prison for felony theft by unlawful taking and arson in one case and felony theft, flight to avoid apprehension and resisting arrest in another.
Prior to sentencing, his former employer spoke for him saying that Peters “needs help” and he would be a great candidate for the work release program. Peters has worked for him off and on for about 10 years, he stated.
Ammerman noted that Peters had fought with police and injured an officer because he was using methamphetamine, which is why he received a state prison sentence.
According to the affidavit in the first case, on Jan. 30, police discovered a burnt vehicle between Weber Road and Nelson Road in Lawrence Township. It appeared someone had been off-roading before setting it on fire.
The vehicle was traced to a woman who said she had given it to another couple who was supposed to scrap it about a month earlier. Later it was discovered they had sold the jeep to Peters.
Another vehicle in the same area just 1,500 feet from Weber Road was found stuck in a ditch. Some blood was recovered from the vehicle.
The vehicle’s owner told police it was being repaired at the same business where Peters worked.
The owner confirmed the vehicle had been taken from the lot and that his former employee, Peters, was driving a jeep.
There was no forced break in at the business and the only thing missing was the keys to the car that police had recovered.
According to the affidavit in the second case, on March 31, police received a notice of a stolen vehicle in Lawrence Township. The victim told police that Peters was on some type of drugs after taking a break. He removed a truck from his business and drove it into the field behind his auto garage.
Several officers entered the field through a gate, which was closed behind them and spotted the truck with Peters standing 10 yards from it. After Peters saw the marked police car, he fled on foot with a few officers chasing him. He was told to stop numerous times.
One of the officers tried to grab Peters, but Peters slipped his grasp, causing the officer to fall. Peters’ boot impacted the officer’s wrist as he continued to run.
After they lost sight of him, additional officers were brought in to search the area.
A relative of Peters called county control, reporting that he was at her home in the back yard. He was attempting to take a four-wheeler but couldn’t because she had the keys. He was now hiding under her porch.
Police arrived causing Peters to run around the house. One officer tackled him and began to cuff him. Peters continued to fight until the officers, working together, were able to handcuff him.
Peters told them that he was surrounded by “faces in the woods and that they were going to kill him.”
When he was searched, police found a baggie of a crystal substance suspected to be methamphetamine.