Police: Man stole traffic-signal generator

West Goshen officer on patrol says accused thief tried to throw him off track

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

James Hutchinson

James Hutchinson

In a community of residents struggling to deal with power outages, one man’s alleged theft will likely to generate public outrage as well as criminal charges,  authorities said.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, at 11:18 p.m., West Goshen Township Police said they arrested James Hutchinson, 47, charging him with stealing a portable emergency generator, which was locked and installed to power the traffic signal at Greenhill and Airport Roads in West Goshen Township.

Police gave this account: Officer Ryan McGhee, who was on patrol, observed a blue Ford pickup pulled over at the traffic light with the door open. Just as the officer stopped, a man ran up and yelled that someone in a red Ford Explorer had just stolen a generator and fled westbound on Greenhill Road. McGhee asked the man to stay put while he pursued the Explorer; however, the man’s actions had made the officer suspicious so he quickly made a U-turn to return to the blue Ford, which had left the intersection.

As McGhee continued to search for the blue Ford, it pulled out in front of his patrol car at a high rate of speed. McGhee activated his emergency lights and sirens and stopped the vehicle, which was operated by Hutchinson, police said.  “You got me; I was the one stealing the generator,” Hutchinson said, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said Hutchinson, who had possession of the generator, its combination lock, and a legally-owned handgun, was taken into custody without incident, police said. The complaint said Hutchinson told police had had seen the generator earlier in the day and decided to come back and steal it after saying to himself: “Man, that would be nice to have a new generator.”

Hutchinson was transported to the police station, and his vehicle impounded. He will face charges that theft and receiving stolen property, police said.   The red Honda generator was returned to the intersection, where it is functioning properly again, police said.



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  1. Jerry Kerl says:

    This guy deserves a jail sentence

  2. Rich S says:

    Free this man! No power and your family is going cold, you do what you have too!

    • Nancy says:

      He said it would be nice ot have a new generator. He never said he was cold or had a family. Sounds more like he has one, but wants another. Also, if he is cold, then go to the warm up shelter. It’s a temporary inconvenience unlike the injuries that could happen at an intersection without properly working traffic lights!

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