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MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP

A Philadelphia man who was on probation for illegal possession of a firearm has again pleaded guilty to a prohibited weapon charge, stemming from a traffic stop in Montgomery Township in September 202

Man pleads guilty to illegal possession of ‘ghost gun’ for second time in two years

Montgomery Township Police. Photo by James Short.

  • Courts

A Philadelphia man who was on probation for illegal possession of a firearm has again pleaded guilty to a prohibited weapon charge, stemming from a traffic stop in Montgomery Township in September 2023.

James Ditsche, 36, pleaded guilty on May 1 to a felony count of prohibited possession of a firearm, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that saw additional charges of firearms not to be carried without a license, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia dropped in exchange for his plea. Court records show he has a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 11 at 3 p.m. in front of Montgomery County Judge Wendy Rothstein.

Police were patrolling at 10:40 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2023 when they observed a black Jeep Liberty heading southbound on North Wales Road, which matched an alert from the department’s stationary license plate reader indicating the owner had an active arrest warrant, police said. The vehicle was stopped by police in the parking lot of the Wawa along the 900 block of North Wales Road, and the female driver was detained on the arrest warrant, according to the criminal complaint.

The passenger – identified as Ditsche – was known to carry a firearm without a license, police said, and a check through criminal records indicated Ditsche also had an arrest warrant out of Burlington County, NJ on weapons charges. Once outside of the vehicle, Ditsche advised he had a firearm on his hip, which police described as a loaded 9mm Glock replica, or ghost gun, the report states.

Ditsche also was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, police said.

Ditsche was previously arrested in Montgomery Township in January 2022 on felony weapons charges, and again in March 2022 on felony theft and receiving stolen property. He was also arrested on a dozen misdemeanor counts of theft, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief in Franconia Township in February 2022.

A review of court records from those three cases shows Ditsche struck plea deals in each case in early August 2023, with Judge Rothstein sentencing Ditsche to four years’ probation on the felony weapons charge, three years’ probation on the felony theft charge, and three years’ probation on the misdemeanor theft charge.

Sentencing notes in those cases do not indicate if the sentences were consecutive or concurrent.

Ditsche was also facing more than 50 felony charges and 30 misdemeanor charges in Bucks County at the time of his September 2023 arrest, stemming from a different arrest that occurred in Hilltown Township in November 2022. Charges in that case ranged from felony theft and receiving stolen property to more than two dozen counts of theft from a motor vehicle.

That case is scheduled to go to trial on May 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

Court records show Ditsche remains in custody in lieu of $99,000 cash bail.


author

Keith Heffintrayer

Keith Heffintrayer is an Executive Editor with Access Global, and the founder of North Penn Now. An army veteran and UGA alum, Keith has previously held editorial positions with Patch and Hibu.

Monday, June 24, 2024
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