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Investigators believe security cameras from a nearby business captured the shooting of a bicyclist during an attempted robbery Tuesday on a secluded section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Cumru Township.

Cumru police were working Wednesday to obtain the footage they hope will help them identify the assailants who remain at large, Lt. George G. Kuriger Jr. said.

The 42-year-old Reading man was between a proverbial rock and a hard place when two males, one holding a handgun, came onto the Thun Trail, as that section is known, in front of him about 1:45 p.m. as he approached a wooden bridge that carries the path over the Wyomissing Creek at the township-Reading line, Kuriger said.

According to investigators:

“Give me your stuff,” the males demanded after running across the bridge to block his path.

Startled by the assailants, he fell off his bike. When the victim told them that he did not have any valuables, one of them grabbed his bike.

During an ensuing struggle, the suspect with the handgun shot the victim in the lower abdomen.

The bicyclist's escape route was limited by a security fence along the adjacent property of Service Castor Corp., 9 First Ave., Kuriger said.

A couple of workers there heard the victim yell for help. One went to help the victim while the other dialed 9-1-1.

The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was able to speak to police and give a basic account before he was taken by ambulance to Reading Hospital, where he underwent surgery, Kuriger said.

Investigators learned his condition was stable Wednesday afternoon and that he suffered a broken leg. It was unclear if his leg was broken from falling off his bike, during the struggle or from the bullet that traveled through part of his body.

Kuriger said the victim was vulnerable because he was riding alone and couldn’t see his attackers as he approached the bridge from the western shore of the Schuylkill River. He traveled southwest along the rear boundary of Service Castor toward the Russell Plywood property, which is in the city.

The assault and shooting occurred on the macadam section of trail at the approach to the span, Kuriger said.

“There really was nothing he could have done differently than what he did,” Kuriger said. "Unfortunately the opportunity is there for people intent on committing a crime because of how secluded the setting is.”

It’s not far from where a Reading man shot two teenagers, one fatally, almost nine years ago when three youths tried to rob him while he was riding on the trail.

The January 26, 2012, incident also occurred in the middle of the day in Cumru Township, but the location of that incident was closer to a former railroad bridge that carries the trail over the river.

In that incident, three teens who had skipped school were randomly robbing people on the trail in West Reading and Cumru. After robbing two pedestrians, they set their target on a 65-year old Reading man who was licensed to carry a firearm.

As he rode past the teens, one of them punched him in the face, knocking him from his bike. As he was being assaulted while sitting against a chain-link fence, the victim pulled out his handgun and fatally shot a 16-year-old suspect and wounded a 15-year-old suspect.

The teens weren't armed, but the shootings were ruled justified because the man was unable to escape and thought his life was in danger, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams said after reviewing that incident.

In Tuesday’s shooting, the suspects were described as Black, of unknown age, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall. They were wearing face masks and dressed in dark clothing with hoods.

They’ll face attempted homicide and robbery charges when identified.

Kuriger asked anyone with any information related to the robbery and shooting to call Cumru Township police at 610-777-9595, or Crime Alert Berks County’s anonymous tip line, 877-373-9913. Tips can also be sent via text, using the keyword “alert berks,” to 847411. Crime Alert will pay a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.

Crime Alert will pay cash rewards of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Tipsters may remain anonymous and still collect the reward.

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