Stabbing in ends in arrest

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First Posted: 12/7/2014

Police say stabbing suspect Joseph Pradel arrived at a Plains Township Weis Market on North River Street in a drug-induced state prior to an attack on an employee there Dec. 3.

According to what Pradel allegedly told police, he is a pirate who arrived in America on the Santa Maria in 1776.

Pradel, 25, of Plains Township, is now behind bars in lieu of $50,000 straight bail after the alleged attack that sent Weis employee Jacque Vino to the hospital with multiple stab wounds.

Pradel faces one charge each of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person and criminal mischief. He was arraigned on those charges and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Dec. 16.

As Malast read him his rights and summary of the alleged attack, Pradel continued to mumble incoherently. He also tried to stand up several times, prompting officers to pull him back down into his seat.

When reporters tried to talk to Pradel as he was being escorted out, he continued to mumble. Asked whether he regretted his actions, Pradel simply replied, “no.”

Incident described

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case:

Plains Township police responded to the supermarket shortly after 7 a.m. Dec. 3. Officers observed employees holding Pradel on the ground near the dairy aisle, and a lot of blood on the floor.

Vino told police that he was in aisle 12 of the store stocking shelves, when he heard a sound of somebody opening merchandise. The victim told police that he walked over to aisle 11, where he saw Pradel with a pair of scissors in each hand. Vino also told police that other opened merchandise was in a shopping cart near Pradel.

Pradel allegedly began walking toward the front of the store, and Vino followed him without saying anything. Vino told police that Pradel stopped, turned around and “lunged at him,” swinging repeatedly with both hands as he began to stab him.

Vino attempted to grab Pradel to stop the attack and both fell to the floor, when Vino told police that he began yelling for help. Vino sustained multiple deep puncture wounds to his left arm as a result of the alleged attack.

Vino was transported to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, treated and released.

Pradel also was transported to Wilkes-Barre General, and when police tried to interview him, he appeared to be “highly under the influence of a controlled substance,” police said. During the interview, Pradel allegedly made incoherent ramblings about various types of controlled substances, and claimed that he was a pirate that came to America on the Santa Maria in 1776.

For shoppers that frequently visit the store, the morning’s incident was unheard of.

“I’m shocked,” said Leona Zimmerman, of Jenkins Township. “I have never seen anything like this happen.”

Heather Ultsh, assistant manager at the Family Dollar next to the Weis Market, arrived to open the store shortly after the alleged stabbing happened. She said employees at her store know everyone at the Weis Market, and was shocked to hear of the incident.

“It’s very friendly here,” she said. “That’s so scary.”

Ultsh added that she feels safe when at work, but because of the incident next door, she said she would be extra cautious moving forward.

While Zimmerman said that she had never heard of this sort of incident happening at the store that she often visits, she noted that it could happen anywhere.

“Put it this way — are you safe anywhere these days?” Zimmerman said.