DA: Drugs the motive in wild crime spree

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Why did it take several armed men to capture and control a shirtless and shoeless Joseph Aldinger Thursday? According to Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, the 29-year-old was looking to score crystal meth or heroin.

“Normally, when you see erratic behavior like this, a bunch of robberies, history tells us many times it’s an individual addicted to drugs,” Marsico said.

One of Aldinger’s hostages spoke with ABC 27’s Dan Carrigan Thursday night. He said Aldinger picked him at random and held him and his family for two hours at gunpoint. The man said Aldinger was tweaking and talked about his drug use.

Joseph Aldinger
Joseph Aldinger (Cumberland County Prison photo)

“He mentioned he does, he was doing crystal meth,” he said. “He was real schizo or agitated.”

Alginder’s mother spoke with ABC 27’s Dave Marcheskie over the phone. She apologized for her son’s actions and wanted people to know the horrors of addiction.

“I do not condone my son’s behaviors yesterday, but that was not my son. That is what happens when you get involved with meth,” she said. “Anyone who has dealt with addiction in their family knows the pain that comes with that.”

She also added that her son has struggled with addiction since he was a teenager.

“My family is truly sorry for any person that was hurt yesterday,” she said. “My family are also victims and are also suffering.”

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.

Marsico said federal investigators are looking into the incidents, but it is not clear why. Authorities said Aldinger first stole a car during a robbery near Denver, Lancaster County before continuing his crime spree and Cumberland and Dauphin counties.

Aldinger is charged with a dozen different crimes and is in Dauphin County Prison on $2 million bail.

“It’s another tragic example of how drugs can ruin a life,” Marsico said

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