Authorities captured a man who they say disappeared after he was initially arrested for mocking and sucker punching a person with cerebral palsy outside a West Chester 7-Eleven store last month.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said that the Chester County Sheriff's Department Fugitive Apprehension Unit and U.S. Marshals took Barry Baker into custody Monday morning around 7:45 a.m. at a hotel in Uwchlan Township.
"We’re pleased that Mr. Baker is in custody," said Chester County Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh. "It was a great effort by multiple agencies."
Police say the 29-year-old Baker, who previously lived in Coatesville but now lives in Georgetown, Delaware, was with his friends at a 7-Eleven store on 200 South High Street in West Chester back on May 10 around 2:30 a.m. At the same time a 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy drove into the parking lot of the store and parked his vehicle. As he got out and went into the 7-Eleven, Baker began making fun of him and mocking how he walked, investigators said. When the victim got back out of the store, Baker mocked him again and began to imitate how he moved, according to police.
As the victim stood in front of his vehicle, Baker sucker punched him in the face, according to police. He then fled around the corner of the store. Police say the entire ordeal was captured on surveillance video.
"The defendant’s actions in this case are appalling," West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn said. "You wonder what would make an individual treat somebody like that."
The victim called police and Baker was later charged with simple assault and other related offenses. Officials say he disappeared however after he was freed on $25,000 bail, according to officials.
On May 22, Hogan announced an active bench warrants for Baker for violating parole and failing to appear for a separate domestic relations matter.
A $5,000 reward for Baker's arrest was announced. It was unclear if that helped police track him down but Hogan said that social media contacts helped them track down Baker.
Hogan said others helped Baker on the run. It was unclear if those people could face charges.
Police took tracked Baker to the Clarion Hotel in Exton where they took him into custody without incident, Hogan said.
Sheriff's officers took Baker to county jail. His bail was upped to $500,000 after he failed to appear after his earlier arrest.
"This was a relentless manhunt by the United States Marshals Service, the Chester County Sheriffs Fugitive Apprehension Unit, and all of Chester County law enforcement," Hogan said. "Every cop on the street told me that they were looking for this defendant. In addition, the public did an outstanding job through social media of getting the word out that the defendant was wanted. Nobody was going to quit until the defendant was in prison, where he belongs."
Baker's prior attorney, Francis Miller, says he no longer represents him; it's unclear if Baker has a new attorney.