UPDATED: Homeowner charged in apparent doorbell ditch incident

Parent pressed charges against Delmar man

A Bethlehem homeowner found himself under arrest this weekend after he allegedly chased a juvenile from his property, tackling and injuring him.

Daniel Van Plew, 37, told police someone had pressed his doorbell at about 10:18 p.m. on Saturday, July 17, at his home at 59 Egmont Court in Delmar. He didn't see anyone out of the front door, but when he opened his garage door he saw a male running from the rear of his house, according to police reports.

Van Plew chased the subject and tackled him in the front yard, near the street, police said.

The juvenile subject was taken into custody and transported to his parents' house, but he will not be prosecuted due to his age, police said.

They're not old enough to be arrested for a trespass because it's not a crime, Lt. Robert Berben of the Bethlehem Police Department said.

If they had been over the age of 16, however, charges would have been filed, he continued. Police did not identify the juvenile subjects, citing their age.

The juvenile did suffer "a laceration to his right elbow area, bruise above his eye and a bloody lip," according to police reports.

While the four youngsters avoided arrest, Van Plew was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, and harassment in the second degree, a violation. He was released to return to Bethlehem Town Court on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Peter Gerstenzang, attorney for Van Plew, gave a similar account of events. Van Plew had come downstairs that evening to put away some papers when he heard the doorbell and pounding on the back door, he said. Van Plew had no idea what was going on, and feared the possibility of a home invasion or burglary, said Gerstenzang.

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