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Dauphin County District Attorney says Aldinger was high on drugs during crime spree

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New details are emerging on why a man went on a rampant crime spree Thursday. From Lancaster to Cumberland and Dauphin Counties, that included taking 4 people hostage. Joseph Aldinger is being held on $2 million bail. Dauphin County District Attorney, Ed Marsico, says he hasn’t seen a crime spree quite like this before, and he says his actions may have been caused by drugs.

Our cameras were rolling as police carried Joseph Aldinger out of the Salvation Army store that he ran into after he fled a home on Devonshire Road in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County. But his crime spree began hours before.

"A very unusual situation where you have a violent crime spree that spanned three different counties," says Marsico.

Marsico says Aldinger stole a car in Lancaster County and drove it to Cumberland County. That's where he entered into a man's home at gunpoint and forced him to drive him to a location in Harrisburg. Marsico says that man he abducted happens to be a corrections officer in Cumberland County. He was able to escape from Aldinger's custody without any harm. From there, court documents state that Aldinger robbed a store and entered a law firm where he flashed a gun at a receptionist. He also attempted to take her vehicle but was unsuccessful. Marsico says he then ran into a home on Devonshire Road where he held four people hostage for hours. He believes he committed some of the crimes to feed his addiction to meth and heroin.

"We think of drug possession of a non violent crime but the spinoff is often a violent crime, someone feeding that addiction, trying to get high," says Marsico.

People negotiated with Aldinger for hours. At one point they thought he was going to surrender, but instead he fled, flashing his weapon several times. Marsico credits the emergency response team for keeping the public safe and capturing Aldinger without the need to use deadly force.

They're taught to be patient, to rely on their negotiators, and in this case the negotiators went from the command van where they normally are talking on the phone - he wanted to see them face to face so they put themselves in danger," says Aldinger.

All together Aldinger faces close to 20 charges. It could land him several years in prison.


  • OneMan'sOpinion

    But no one could blame anyone who would have taken him out because THIS is a type of situation where it would be largely seen as justified.

  • jerrydwebb2014

    Everyone on this earth was put here as a good being, but even good people do bad things. This young man did what his disease of addiction was telling him what to do. He did these deeds for survival, I’m positive that he felt that if he didn’t get the drugs he would die. I’m sure people think that quitting is as easy as will power, but it’s not that easy…as this young mans mother stated on the news that her son has tried to get help, but funding wouldn’t allow it. Now back to will power, I challenge anyone out there to take som exlax and will yourself not to poo..see how it works out for you..

    • OneMan'sOpinion

      Society provides the warnings on things that are bad and what the consequences are. Smoking is bad and addictive. Well-known. You make the choice to start and no one can feel bad for you for the consequences. Serial bank robbers have reported there is an addictive high in accomplishing a robbery. If they get shot or sent to prison, would you have any sympathy for their consequences? Life is full of choices that provide rewards and consequences.

  • Frank Castle

    I don’t care how hard it is to quit something that someone CHOSE to become addicted to. I’m not addicted to any illegal drug, because I made the very real CHOICE to never do any. And it was an EASY choice. Quitting and/or treatment shouldn’t be the issue. He chose to do the drug[s] in the first place. If I chose to use drugs, I would expect to pay the consequences… but then again, I grew up in a home that taught accountability and responsibility.

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