Marines Employed as LP Officers Charged with Theft

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Four Marines employed part-time as loss prevention officers face charges of stealing from a Sears store in Whitehall Township.

Store security officials investigating missing merchandise worth up to $1 million spotted three of the men about 9 p.m. Tuesday as they pulled a sport utility vehicle up to a loading dock, according to a police affidavit. Police said the men tried to load more than $2,000 worth of goods into the vehicle.

The four were arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Joan Snyder of Whitehall on charges of retail theft, conspiracy, theft by deception and receiving stolen property, and freed on $10,000 bail each.

Police identified the four as Evan Lee Bloch, 24, of Catasauqua; Tommie Lee Jones, 35, and Manuel Alejandro Martinez, 24, both of Hanover Township, Lehigh County; and Richard Butler, 22, of Allentown.

The four are active-duty Marines at the Navy/Marine Corps Reserve Center in Hanover Township. The center said in a statement that it was aware of the charges.

"At this time, we have no further information and do not want to compromise the ongoing investigation," the statement said. "This command is fully cooperating with the Whitehall Police Department in connection with the incident."