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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Man Charged, Jailed on 96 Drug, Gun Counts as part of Pentz Criminal Organization, Says DA



A Bensalem Man was charged and jailed Thursday with more firearms sales and possession offenses than anyone else in Bucks County, authorities said in recent history and ruined his holiday plans with being sent to County Prison.

Russell Byron Norton, of Bensalem, is being held in lieu of $5 million bail, 10% cash, after being charged with 96 counts related to his role in drug and gun trafficking organization in Lower Bucks County.


Credit: Bucks Co DA’s Office

Detectives identified Norton as a ghost gun manufacturer and firearm seller for the Pentz Drug and Gun Distribution Organization which this publication broke the story on back in June when Bristol Township Police and County Detectives raided a  Macintosh Road residence 

Nicholas Pentz, Bristol Township and Brandon Monachelli, 24, of Militia Court, Bensalem, were charged and jailed days later. 

Norton is alleged to have built and/or delivered  AR-15 rifles, AK-47 rifles, and other different caliber handguns, authorities said in a Friday press release.

“Once again, and not for the last time, our Drug Strike Force has partnered with many law enforcement agencies to take down an illegal gun runner,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “This great work by law enforcement has undoubtedly saved lives in our community. More to come.”

Norton was charged with the following crimes: Corrupt Organizations Prohibited Possession of a Firearm (two counts) Altering or Obliterating a Mark of Identification Possession of a Firearm with an Altered Manufacturer Number Firearm Ownership – Duty of Other Persons Firearms not to be Carried without a License Criminal Use of a Communication Facility Possession of an Instrument of Crime Possession of a Controlled Substance

The yearlong investigation culminated Wednesday, with a pair of coordinated search warrants being served at Norton’s home in Bensalem and his business in Bristol Township.

At his home, detectives recovered 13 firearms, which included a ghost gun handgun, two AR-15 type ghost guns and other handguns, rifles and a shotgun and a large amount of ammunition.

At his business, police located 18 firearms in various stages of manufacturing and one completed firearm, along with tools and items used to manufacture and build additional firearms.

In addition, during a search of Norton’s vehicle, police located a 9mm Glock handgun and 45 bags of suspected fentanyl/heroin. During the initial traffic stop of Norton, police found 12 bags of suspected fentanyl/heroin on him.

Pennsylvania law also prohibits Norton from possessing firearms because of a previous felony conviction and because he had an active criminal warrant out of New Jersey.

The Bucks County Strike Force is a part of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, focusing on areas of drug trafficking and gun violence.

The Drug Strike Force was assisted in this investigation by Homeland Security Investigations-Philadelphia, Bensalem Township Police Department, Bristol Township Police Department, the Bucks County South SWAT Team, and the Philadelphia Bomb Squad.

“HSI Philadelphia is committed to leveraging federal resources to help dismantle firearms trafficking operations and keeping illegal weapons off our streets,” said Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker of HSI Philadelphia. “Investigations like this one are only brought about through close partnerships and information sharing. Holding such illegal firearms manufacturers and traffickers accountable for their actions is a major step toward achieving our goal of safe and secure communities.” Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Rees is assigned for prosecution.


Credit: Bucks Co DA’s office

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Twp Fire Rescue Secures FEMA Grant to Enhance Firefighter Safety




Bensalem Township Fire Rescue  announced the township has been awarded a $132,727.27 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This grant will allow the department to upgrade our aging Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), essential equipment that ensures firefighter safety in hazardous environments.

SCBA, commonly referred to as air packs, play a vital role in safeguarding firefighters by providing breathable air in smoke-filled or toxic atmospheres. The new SCBA units funded by this grant incorporate advanced technology and safety features absent in the old SCBA.

The grant funds will cover the acquisition of 14 SCBA harnesses, 28 air bottles, 14 facepieces, and a RIT pack.

 “The funding awarded by FEMA to Bensalem Fire Rescue will keep our firefighters safe and allow them to provide valuable services to our community.  We thank Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and his staff for their efforts to secure this much needed funding,” Public Safety Director William McVey said. 

“We are incredibly thankful to be awarded this grant which will allow us to replace our aging SCBA with the latest version of NFPA compliant SCBA. This equipment is crucial to the safety of our firefighters when responding to critical incidents. We greatly appreciate the continued support from Congressman Fitzpatrick and his staff in helping us obtain this funding,” said Battalion Fire Chief Robert Sponheimer, Bensalem Township Fire Rescue.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Seeks Info Who Walked out of Kohl’s with Hundreds in Merchandise




A retail theft prompted an investigation by Bensalem Police who need to identify a female who allegedly left hundreds of dollars of merchandise,

Police said, the retail theft happened at Kohls, located at 2325 Street Rd., on July 9, 2024.

At approximately 3 p.m., an unknown female allegedly entered the store with a large blue shoulder bag and filled it with numerous shirts worth $636.00., said police.

The female fled the area in a dark-colored sedan without paying for the merchandise. police said.

Please look at them closely.

If you have any information regarding this person’s identity, please submit an anonymous tip or contact Bensalem Police at 215-633-3719.




Credit: Bensalem Police

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Con Artist who Caregiver Who Faked Cancer Diagnosis Stole from Patients and Families Sentenced




A 48-year-old woman was sentenced on Wednesday for stealing thousands of dollars in money and heirloom jewelry from the families of two elderly women she cared for and then submitting fake medical documents claiming to have stage 4 esophageal cancer so that she could delay her trial.

Shannon Lynn  Eberhartof Bensalem, also pleaded guilty today to the charges of unlawful use of a computer and two counts of identity theft related to the submission of fraudulent documentation. In March, she pleaded guilty to two counts of financial exploitation of an older adult or care dependent person, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property, and one count each of identity theft and access device fraud.

Common Pleas Judge Gary B. Gilman sentenced Eberhart to one year minus a day to two years minus a day in the Bucks County Correctional Facility, followed by a consecutive sentence of 11 years of probation. He called her actions “despicable and unfathomable,” and an unending betrayal to those who trusted her.

“You are nothing but a con artist who deceived the people who cared for you,” he said. “You betrayed every cancer patient, you betrayed the court system, you betrayed your attorney,” said Gilman, who questioned whether Eberhart’s courtroom tears were real, or just another of her deceptions.

In addition to her jail and probation rerquire4ment6s , Gilman ordered Eberhart to pay $32,835 in restitution to three victims, undergo mental health and drug and alcohol treatment and never again work as a caregiver.

Eberhart was initially charged in late February 2023 following an investigation by the Newtown Township Police Department that revealed that she stole jewelry and cash from two women she worked for as a caretaker. Additionally, the investigation found that Eberhart made unauthorized withdrawals from one of the victim’s bank accounts.

Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber said shortly after being employed, Eberhart started stealing from right under their noses.

“It was not about the monetary value,” he said. “These were pieces of heirloom jewelry handed down from generation to generation, now gone.”

Eberhart waived her preliminary hearing and formal arraignment, and the case was scheduled for pre-trial conference on three different occasions. A month before a scheduled court hearing in December 2023, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office received a medical document from Eberhart’s public defender, who had received it from Eberhart to support her continuance request.

The letter, which appeared to have come from a Montgomery County hospital, claimed Eberhart had stage 4 esophageal cancer and needed further treatment.

Bucks County detectives contacted the two doctors named in the letter and both said they never authored the letter and never treated Eberhart. Representatives of the hospital also confirmed that the letter was fake and contained several inaccuracies, including the official name of the hospital and its logo. The two doctors named in the letter also never worked at their hospital.

The investigation by Bucks County Detectives found that the letter was clearly written using a computer, as it contained a digitally created logo and headers, footers, and margins. Additionally, the investigation found that Eberhart emailed the fake letter to her attorney, who in turn submitted the letter to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.

The families of the victims gave impact statements about how Eberhart’s deceitfulness affected them, not just financially, but emotionally. Both families knew and trusted Eberhart before she was hired to work as a caregiver for their elderly mothers. During their brief time working for the families, they grew to care for her.

One of the families said they grieved with Eberhart and gave her flowers and condolences when she told them her mother passed away, but that was another of her shameful lies. Eberhart’s mother was in court on Wednesday.

“Shannon’s actions here are unforgivable,” one of the victims said. “These pieces of jewelry tell stories of my family, past and present, and can never be replaced.”

Deputy District Attorney Marc Furber called the “theft from the elderly, especially by people entrusted to care for them,” a major problem.

“The Defendant compounded her crimes against the elderly by attempting to continue her manipulation in the Court system. She failed, but not for lack of trying,” he said. “This case should be a lesson to those who are in positions of trust for elderly or disabled individuals.  That trust should be upheld at all costs.  If you make the decision to violate that trust, you will be caught, you will go to jail and further attempts to manipulate the legal system will fail.”

“The effects of elder financial abuse are incredibly tragic and long lasting for the victims and their families,” Furber said. “But if there was one bright spot to the Defendant’s actions, it is that those actions demonstrated the strength of our legal system in Bucks County. We are ready to combat falsity, dishonesty and misinformation with the shining light of truth and justice.”

These cases were investigated by Detectives with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, Newtown Township Police Department and Warminster Township Police Department. They were prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber, Chief of Insurance Fraud and Economic Crimes.

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