Cumberland County man taken hostage speaks with ABC 27

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Cumberland County man who said he was taken hostage by a suspect on a crime spree spoke with ABC 27.

The Upper Allen Township man, a corrections officer, did not wish to be identified or show his face on camera. However, he shared details of the scary ordeal, saying that it started when he was taking out the trash early Thursday morning.

“As I shut the door, I turned around, I hear someone running. I stopped to look over that way. He noticed me, too, and that’s when he drew his weapon on me and told me to stop and to head back into the house,” the man told ABC 27. “At that point, I really don’t know what’s going on. I am just shocked this is happening to me.”

For nearly two hours the man said he was held at gunpoint with his girlfriend and three children inside their apartment. He said during that time, the suspect made a confession.

“He mentioned that he was doing crystal meth and that he was running from the cops or the feds,” the man said.

Joseph Aldinger (Cumberland County Prison photo)
Joseph Aldinger (Cumberland County Prison photo)

Then the suspect, identified by authorities as 29-year-old Joseph Aldinger, wanted to be driven somewhere.

“We got to the car, I asked him where he wanted to go and he said take me to Harrisburg, up to the Kline Village area. I let him go there and I was on my way. Before I let him go, I said, ‘I just want to thank you for not hurting me and my family,’” he said.

Previously reported:

A crime spree and a standoff at a suburban Harrisburg home came to an end after several hours Thursday afternoon when the suspect fled into a nearby thrift store.

The suspect, identified by authorities as 29-year-old Joseph Aldinger, was arrested at the Salvation Army store on Hampton Court Road and carried shirtless and shoeless to a waiting Lower Paxton Township police car at around 4:30 p.m.

Police said Aldinger acted as through he intended to end the standoff peacefully when he came out of the home on Devonshire Road, but he suddenly flashed a gun and jumped into a pickup truck.

He soon ditched the truck, however, and sprinted into the nearby store.

Police had been looking for Aldinger since the morning when he allegedly pulled a gun on a Cumberland County man as he was taking out his trash.

He forced the man back into his home at gunpoint, then forced his victim to drive him to the Harrisburg area, Upper Allen Township police told ABC 27 News.

Several small children were among the people who were in the home, police said.

Sources confirmed the abduction victim is a prison corrections officers, but police said his occupation had no connection to the crime.

Authorities said Aldinger’s crime spree continued with a bank robbery in Liberty Square and a carjacking at the Gander Mountain sporting goods store along Jonestown Road.

As officers closed in on him, Aldinger fled to the home shortly after noon. Authorities said he initially held four people hostage, but eventually released them unharmed.

“He literally was out of control, Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said. “Everybody in the area was in danger.”

Authorities confirmed Aldinger has a previous criminal conviction from 2003. He was charged with attempted homicide after a shooting in East Pennsboro Township. He pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 5-10 years in prison in 2004, according to ABC 27 and court records.


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