Cops: Man, 23, nabbed in wheels for ransom scheme

Leonel Rivera, 23, of Reading, was arrested Friday night after he allegedly held a 2003 Dodge Neon for ransom and tried arranging a meeting in Fairhill with the car’s owner, police said.  

Earlier this week, an unidentified woman borrowed the car from her ex-boyfriend’s father in Fox Chase. The woman traveled to the area of 2nd Street near Lehigh Avenue, and was most likely in the neighborhood looking for drugs, police in the East Detective Division said.

While she was in Fairhill, the woman lent the car to a man she claimed she didn’t know and he rented the car to Rivera for $80, police said.

After that, Rivera and the Neon went missing.  

On Wednesday, the unidentified owner of the car — who lives on Faunce Street near Central Avenue — began receiving phone calls from his son’s ex-girlfriend saying Rivera had his car and would return it for a $100 fee, police said.  

The owner of the car agreed to meet with the thief Friday and called the cops.  

Instead of being met by the disgruntled car owner around 7:15 p.m., Rivera was met by two officers from the 25th District, headquartered on Whitaker Avenue near Luzerne. The officers heard information about the stolen car via police radio dispatches and spotted Rivera on Mascher Street near Cambria.

Rivera was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property and has yet to be arraigned.

Police said they were not questioning the unidentified woman in connection with the incident Friday night, and were unsure of her whereabouts.