Bath salts played a prominent role in two arrests in Warren County earlier this week.
Law enforcement officers arrested a Southwest Township man on Tuesday for allegedly setting fire to two structures each of which he was inside at the time firing a rifle inside his residence, and leading police on a foot pursuit after escaping through a hole in the floor of his residence.
On Thursday, a Clarendon man suspected of using and distributing the synthetic substance had to be subdued with a tazer twice before being taken into custody for possession of bath salts, marijuana and numerous paraphernalia items in Mead Township.
Warren-based state police said David Jenkins III, 23, 14 Fullerton Rd., Mead Township, was arrested and taken to Warren County Jail on charges of resisting arrest, possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered, manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and delivery or intent to deliver drug paraphernalia.
Warren County Sheriff's deputies and state police said they were serving a warrant on Jenkins for failure to appear in court when he fled down a back staircase of his residence in an attempt to escape. A state police trooper was waiting and saw Jenkins armed with a pair of scissors and two syringes. Jenkins was ordered to drop the items, but he turned and fled back towards the front door where the deputies were waiting. He was again ordered to drop the items, and when he refused and continued to run, he was taken to the ground.
Deputies said they determined Jenkins still held the items while he was lying on his stomach "with his arms locked underneath him." State police said after multiple commands to drop the scissors and syringes Jenkins was tazed, but continued to resist arrest. He was tazed a second time and taken into custody.
Police said Jenkins "had also been holding a red shoulder pack that contained numerous other paraphernalia items and several small bags of what appeared to be both bath salts and marijuana."
Both substances tested positive for bath salts and marijuana and, police said, Jenkins was also in possession of a number of items including four, one-inch-square bags containing bath salts, a written list of product names, a list of numerous people with their telephone numbers, a one-inch-square bag of marijuana, 10 syringes, six silver spoons, six plastic tubes, a wooden smoking pipe, 42 large plastic sandwich bags, 54 one-inch-square plastic packaging bags, three paper bags, two cellphones, a metal pill crusher, four brass screen filters, several hundred small rubber bands, a file and pair of scissors.
In the Southwest Township incident on Tuesday, state police said Jacob M. Richards, 31, of Pineville Road, was arrested and taken to Warren County Jail on charges of two counts of arson, flight to avoid apprehension, persons not to possess firearms, recklessly endangering another person, and two counts of resisting arrest.
According to police, Richards was at home pounding on the floor, walls and ceiling of his bedroom when he was confronted by a 51-year-old woman "about his use of bath salts" at about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
"The accused eventually barricaded himself inside his room and fired a shot from a rifle believed to be a .30-06 while the victim was still in the residence," police said.
The victim left the residence and called police.
Richards would not answer the phone nor respond to a public address system, according to police.
"The accused then set items on fire inside the residence," police said.
Police saw smoke coming out from the eaves of the residence and Richards then allegedly crawled through a hole he had cut in the floor and fled into the surrounding woods, police said.
Police said Richards had reportedly been pounding and sawing in his bedroom for a day and a half and had indicated he was having hallucinations of people around the home.
Police said they didn't know if Richard's was shooting at someone or why the firearm was discharged, but did not expect to conduct an interview until early next week. Police said there was no probable cause to take a blood test since Richards did not possess drugs when he was taken into custody, however, police did say he had "scabs all over him" and his demeanor led them to believe he had been using bath salts.
"He was acting as if he was under the influence of the synthetic substance known as bath salts," police said.
During a foot pursuit, two sheriff's deputies one from Warren County and the other from Forest County were injured, but the extent of their injuries was not known.
Police said Richards escaped and was located Wednesday morning near Pleasantville, Venango County, in "an enclosed and elevated tree stand."
"The accused refused to come from the stand and set the tree stand on fire - with the accused still in the stand," police added.
According to police, Richards was in the tree stand with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter that he used to set a piece of carpeting in the stand on fire.
"He did not want to come down from the tree stand, therefore he set the tree stand on fire," police said. "He set that on fire and began to light the wood frame on fire."
Richards was taken into custody at about noon Wednesday. He was transported to Warren General Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained while allegedly fleeing through the woods.
An unknown female was also taken into custody after she was allegedly found to be in possession of bath salts with Richards in the woods.
After the fire in the residence was put out, police said they found a .30-06 rifle with several rounds of ammunition nearby and a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with five shells, police said.
There was no extensive damage done to the home, police said, adding that Richards "appeared to be mostly burning some type of plastic" that caused "very minimal damage to the property."
Warren-based state police were assisted by sheriff's deputies from Warren and Forest counties, Adult Probation officers and Franklin-based state police.