MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Dauphin County police officer who took his own life during a standoff had staged a burglary at his estranged wife’s home and tried to frame her boyfriend for the crime, authorities said Tuesday.
Ronald Reinhart Jr., a sergeant with the Susquehanna Township Police Department, used his job to get information on the boyfriend and then planted the stolen jewelry at his home in Lower Paxton Township, near Harrisburg, Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed said.
The jewelry was stolen from the Upper Allen Township home in July. Several days later, authorities received an anonymous tip on where it could be found. Reinhart’s fingerprints were found on the jewelry, police said.
Police said Reinhart also ran background checks on the boyfriend while on duty and drove his patrol car to the boyfriend’s house.
Authorities had planned to arrest him for crimes including burglary, official oppression, theft, tampering, and false reports. When they went to his Dillsburg home Monday morning, however, he barricaded himself inside and refused to surrender. After several hours, he took his own life.
Freed said authorities uncovered additional evidence that suggested Reinhart may have been planning violence against his estranged wife and her boyfriend.
Reinhart, 40, had been with Susquehanna Township police for 17 years. The chief who hired him called Monday the “most horrific” day of his 32-year career.
“There is nothing for me to say to excuse this criminal conduct,” Susquehanna Township police Chief Rob Martin said. “My challenge now is to get my officers through this. He was a man that they admired and he worked hard.”
“There are times we walk around people and we just don’t know the darkness in their heart,” he said.