PHOENIXVILLE - A Malvern man, already incarcerated in Chester County Prison, was video-arraigned on weapons charges after police allegedly found a knife on him following an alleged threat of slashing tires last month.

Merritt Neil Dudas, 19, of the 200 block of Miner Street, Malvern, is charged with prohibitive offensive weapons.

According to court documents, East Pikeland Police Officer Ben Martin said he was on patrol in the area of Phoenix Lanes when he noticed a group of teenagers disperse upon his arrival in the parking lot around 10:43 p.m. August 28.

Martin said he approached one of the individuals that is known to him, and was told that a person in a blue Jetta had just threatened to slash his friend's tires.

"(The individual) pointed to the vehicle, which was pulling out of the parking lot," said Martin. "It was traveling east on Schuylkill Road. I advised

(the individual) to wait at the bowling alley while I followed after the vehicle."

Martin said he conducted a traffic stop along Schuylkill Road, and was assisted by Officer Daniel Corbo.

"I approached the driver and asked him and the occupants for their identification," he said. "Dudas was sitting in the rear right side of the vehicle. I informed the group that I had stopped the vehicle because I received a complaint about someone in the vehicle who threatened to slash someone's tires. The group stated that there was some argument, but no overt threats were made."

After a check of all four individuals information, Martin said that Dudas came back as having a bench warrant out for his arrest in Chester County. After confirming the hit, Martin said he asked Dudas to exit the vehicle and walk around the rear of the car.

"Upon searching Dudas, I found in his left front pocket of his pants a handmade knife," he said. "The blade was approximately two inches long and the handle joined the blade in a 'T' shape, indicating that the blade was designed to extend through the fingers of a closed fist."

Martin said he asked Dudas what the item was, and Dudas explained that it was a box puncher from his job at Acme Markets.

Dudas was searched by Martin and transported to East Pikeland Police Station, where he was later transported to Chester County Prison by Pennsylvania State Constables.

Currently incarcerated in Chester County Prison, Dudas was video-arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Ted Michaels Wednesday morning.

A check of his criminal history revealed that Dudas has been previous arrested for burglary; criminal trespass; receiving stolen property; criminal conspiracy; criminal mischief; possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.

He remains in Chester County Prison after Michaels set his bail at $2,500 cash on these charges.

His next court appearance on these charges is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 11, at 9 a.m. at the Phoenixville District Court.

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