A Montgomery County man faces a host of charges after climbing a fence at Reading Regional Airport, stealing a snowplow and leading police on a foot chase on Tuesday, Bern Township police reported.
Norman Joseph Lee, 38, of Lansdale, has been charged with theft, trespassing, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and assault on a law enforcement officer.
He was arraigned before District Judge Brian Strand and is in Berks County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Officer Joshua O. Santos responded about 2:20 p.m. to a report of a man rolling on grass and jumping in front of vehicles on Route 183 near the airport.
When police arrived, Lee climbed a 10-foot fence and entered a restricted area that included the airport’s runway and taxi area.
Airport authorities diverted flights until Lee was removed from the property.
At one point, police say, an incoming aircraft made a last minute maneuver to avoid landing during the incident.
Berks County deputy sheriffs assisted in handling the incident.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Santos:
Once on airport property, Lee broke into a red plow truck owned by Millenium Aviation.
The truck was unlocked and idling in preparation for Wednesday’s snowstorm.
To evade arrest, Lee drove the truck onto the restricted portion of the airport.
The truck had its plow in the lowered position, and became lodged in a grassy area.
Lee exited the truck and ran toward the southern edge of the airport property.
After a short pursuit, Bern Township officers and sheriff’s deputies took Lee into custody.
Because of his level of intoxication, police say, Lee was transported by ambulance to nearby Penn State Health St. Joseph hospital.
Continuing aggressive behavior, police said, Lee spat on a sheriff’s deputy while being restrained.
The affidavit of probable cause says Lee admitted to having used amphetamines.