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Amazon employee accused of threatening co-workers, fighting with Lancaster police

Booking photo for Robert P. Mendlewski. (Photo courtesy Erie County Sheriff's Office)

A worker at the new Amazon sorting center in Lancaster drunkenly threatened other employees, spat at a police lieutenant, threw a 30-pound scanner at an officer and stopped fighting only after they Tasered him, Lancaster police said Wednesday.

Robert P. Mendlewski, 45, of Lackawanna, faces an extensive list of charges following the episode that began at 4 p.m. Tuesday, when town police were dispatched to Amazon's facility at 4201 Walden Ave., which opened in September.

Detective Capt. William J. Karn Jr. said employees there reported an unruly fellow worker who had threatened other workers and was believed to be intoxicated. Karn said officers spotted Mendlewski's vehicle at Broadway and Cemetery Road, but he refused to stop. They pursued him to Broadway and Schwartz Road, where he got stuck in traffic.

Police said Mendlewski failed several roadside sobriety tests and spat into the face of a lieutenant.

He registered a 0.21 percent blood-alcohol level on a chemical breath test, nearly three times the legal limit, police said.

While Mendlewski was being photographed and fingerprinted at the Lancaster police station, he became upset and ripped the digital fingerprint scanner from its cradle and threw it at an officer several feet away, police said. The officer was not hit, but the device fell to the concrete floor and was damaged.

Officers used a Taser on Mendlewski to bring him under control.

Karn said he doesn't know whether the device, which costs about $15,000, will need to be replaced.

Mendlewski was charged with first-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief, both felonies, as well as less serious charges of third-degree assault, driving while intoxicated, operating a vehicle with a suspended registration and failure to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle.

He was arraigned Tuesday night in Lancaster Town Court and remanded to the Erie County Holding Center.

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