Guilty verdict for man who abducted 2 women during getaway from theft at Swatara Township Walmart store
January 9, 2017- Commonwealth v. Michael Ortiz: A Dauphin County jury found Michael Ortiz guilty of Kidnapping, Robbery, Unlawful Restraint, Terroristic Threats and Retail Theft. The charges were related to an incident that occurred in September 2016 at the Walmart on Grayson Road in Swatara Township, Dauphin County. On September 30, 2016, Michael Ortiz went to the Walmart on Grayson Road. He loaded up a cart with various items, concealed many of those items in plastic bags that he had brought with him, and then pushed the cart through an unattended checkout aisle. As he was about to leave the store, Loss Prevention Officer Stephen Zivanovich, who had been watching Ortiz over the store’s surveillance system, approached Ortiz and identified himself. Ortiz left the cart and ran away. As Ortiz was running across the parking lot, he spotted a car with two women who had just finished placing their purchases in the back of the vehicle and were getting ready to drive away. Ortiz jumped into the back seat of the car. Both victims, obviously startled, opened their doors and were going to get out of the car. However, Ortiz then pretended that he had a gun and threatened that he would kill both of them if they did not drive him away from the area. As they drove away from the Walmart, Ortiz told the women that he had a gun, and threatened that he also had something that would infect them with HIV. When the car stopped at a red light, the front passenger removed a legally owned gun from her purse, pointed it at Ortiz, and told him to get out of the car. As he got out of the car, Ortiz grabbed the gun and struggled with the passenger, trying to get it away from her. Fortunately, she was able to overpower him, and fired a shot to let Ortiz know that the gun was real. Ortiz then ran away from the area. He turned himself in to police the following day. He was charged with two counts each of Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint, and Terroristic Threats, and one count each of Robbery and Retail Theft.
Ortiz’s trial took place on January 8-9, 2018 in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. The jury found him guilty of all counts. Ortiz is scheduled to be sentenced on February 2, 2018. This case was investigated by the Swatara Township Police Department, with significant assistance from Walmart Loss Prevention Officer Zivanovich. The case was prosecuted by Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Sprow and Deputy District Attorney Kayla Bolan.