An apartment resident, whose name is being withheld by The Phoenix, testified he spotted two individuals acting suspiciously in the apartment parking lot at 12:26 a.m. Jan. 27.

The individuals were later identified by him as Joshua Michael Gooding, 18, of Washington Avenue, and James Troy Hodges, 20, of West Bridge Street, both of Phoenixville.

"I saw a male individual, wearing tan pants and a knit hat, trying to open car doors in the parking lot," he said. "He went to several vehicles and was unsuccessful in opening the doors. He then met up with a second individual, who was wearing dark clothing."

The witness testified the second individual opened the driver's side door of a black Pontiac Grand-Am.

"He leaned into the vehicle for a while, and when he got out, he had something in his right hand," he said. "Then he tried to open a door to a blue van but wasn't successful. He and the first individual began to walk away. I lost sight of them as they walked out of the parking lot."

Another resident of the complex, whose name is being withheld, testified he was woken up by a neighbor to inform him that someone had entered his Grand-Am.

"I went downstairs to check on my car and found out my CD case was missing," he said. "No one had permission to be in my car."

Officer Vince Stabilo testified he received a dispatch of a suspicious condition at the apartment complex, located along West Bridge Street.

"Dispatch said two individuals were seen going through cars," Stabilo said. "I was given a description of the individuals from dispatch. I began searching the apartment complex when Officer (Brad) Dobry arrived. We went to an apartment in 'A' Building that we'd received previous reports on. We heard some noise going on inside this particular apartment so Officer Dobry and myself knocked on the front door. I went around to the side to make sure no one was leaving through the side sliding door. When I got to the side, the sliding door was already open, and I saw the two individuals matching the descriptions given to me sitting in the living room."

Stabilo said he entered the apartment at the same time as Dobry was let in through the front door.

"The place was in disarray, so we asked if we could search the apartment for the missing CD case," said Stabilo. "We found the case in an entertainment center so we placed Gooding and Hodges under arrest. We took them upstairs in the hallway so the witness could make a positive identification."

Upon transporting the suspects to the station, Stabilo said Hodges admitted to stealing the CD case with Gooding, while Gooding refused to answer questions from police.

After hearing all of the testimony, District Justice Ted Michaels held the charges over for trial.

Gooding and Hodges are charged with criminal attempt; criminal conspiracy; theft by unlawful taking or disposition; receiving stolen property; disorderly conduct; and loitering and prowling at night time.

Gooding was remanded back to Chester County Prison on $10,000 cash bail, with the provision he receive a mental health evaluation. Hodges was released on $2,500 unsecured bail, with the provision he receive a drug and alcohol evaluation.

The next court appearance for Gooding is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004, while Hodges is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 26.

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