Cops: Man steals TV while woman gives birth

An Altoona man is behind bars on charges he burglarized the apartment of a woman while she was at the hospital giving birth to his child.

Zachary D. Bookhamer, 21, of 111 Fifth St. was arrested Thursday by Altoona police and charged with felony burglary and related counts stemming from the alleged theft of a large-screen television from an apartment on the 2700 block of Fairway Drive.

The woman who lived in the apartment left for the hospital on Sunday, July 13, to give birth and sometime between Sunday and noon Monday, July 14, Bookhamer allegedly entered the apartment and made off with a 51-inch Sanyo television, according to police.

The woman’s mother noticed the apartment’s sliding glass door was open a few inches when she stopped by the apartment that Monday to check on the place. She noticed the television was gone, and after she returned to the hospital to talk with her daughter, she called police.

The new mother told police that Bookhamer doesn’t live at the apartment and doesn’t have a key. She told an Altoona police detective that Bookhamer was with her at the apartment but left when she went to the hospital. She said she locked the apartment up and suspected Bookhamer unlocked the sliding door before they left, something he had done in the past.

Police said the woman also told officers that Bookhamer sold the television and provided them with a name. Police said she contacted the man to get the television back, and he agreed only if she came up with the $250 he had given Bookhamer for it. She refused, and the man ultimately returned the television after she threatened to call police to retrieve it.

Bookhamer was arraigned Thursday by Magisterial District Judge Todd Kelly and jailed in lieu of $20,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday at Central Court.