Man charged with stealing WWII German helmet from Allentown gun show
He's suspected of similar thefts elsewhere, police say. He is jailed in Montgomery County.
A Montgomery County man has been charged with stealing a World War II German helmet from a gun show last weekend at the Allentown Fairgrounds, and police believe he has committed similar thefts at gun shows across the state.
Eugene S. Prokopyschyn, 67, of Upper Moreland Township, near Hatboro, might have struck Allentown Fairgrounds shows before, city police said. He was jailed Friday in Montgomery County on a weapons charge filed by Upper Moreland police.
According to a criminal complaint:
Allentown police were dispatched to the fairgrounds, 1725 Chew St., at 2:15 p.m. Feb. 9 on a report of a theft suspect being held there.
A witness told police he saw Prokopyschyn take a German World War II helmet worth $1,100 and place it in a bag under his jacket. As Prokopyschyn started to walk out of the building, the witness and the vendor tried to stop him.
Prokopyschyn ran but fell, and the helmet fell out of the bag, the witness told police. Fairgrounds security detained Prokopyschyn until police arrived.
An Allentown detective attempted to interview Prokopyschyn, but he refused to talk. Other gun show vendors told police they suspected Prokopyschyn had stolen items from them. He refused to let Allentown police search his vehicle.
Medero said police later obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and found daggers and other items valued at about $3,000 to $5,000 in the trunk. Allentown police served a warrant Thursday at his home in Upper Moreland and found additional items stolen from other gun shows, Medero said.
Medero said Prokopyschyn would walk around crowded gun shows, steal items and put them in a bag he carried as vendors were distracted. Some vendors told police they remember Prokopyschyn from last year's show in Allentown and police are investigating whether he committed any thefts then, Medero said.
Medero said he expects more charges to be filed as the investigation continues.
Details of Prokopyschyn's arrest Friday in Upper Moreland were not available.