HANOVER TWP. — A Dallas man was arrested Thursday after police say he stabbed a female co-worker at their workplace and then fled, triggering a lockdown of the nearby Hanover Area Junior-Senior High School and a manhunt for the suspect.
The suspect fled in a white Subaru, resulting in a massive search by municipal police, the FBI and Pennsylvania State Police. After several hours the suspect was captured without further incident in Larksville.
According to Hanover Township police, Fred Koptcho, 48, of Dallas, stabbed Diana Ivy, 48, at 6:05 a.m. at Mondelez International, formerly Kraft Foods, in the Hanover Industrial Park. The two were co-workers, police said.
While township officers were on the scene, Koptcho called Mondelez and threatened to do more harm to more people, said police Chief Al Walker. Koptcho also allegedly threatened officers who would try to arrest him.
The incident unfolded when police were dispatched to the Mondelez International building at about 6 a.m. after receiving a report of an assault with a knife.
Police found Ivy, who had sustained multiple stab wounds, Walker said. She was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center by Hanover Township ambulance. The victim underwent emergency surgery and was expected to survive the attack, Walker said.
“There was some type of relationship between the two,” he said. “But we have not yet determined what that relationship was.”
Koptcho’s alleged threats prompted Walker to lock down the high school and the township municipal building until the suspect was apprehended. “We take these threats very seriously,” Walker said. “We were told the suspect had access to weapons and we felt the lock-downs were necessary to assure the safety of employees and school students and personnel.”
Hanover Township Detective Dave Lewis made contact with Koptcho via cellphone to discuss turning himself in, and Luzerne County 911 was able to locate the suspect, police said. At first he was reported to be in Duryea, then the Larksville area. After a state police trooper spotted the suspect’s vehicle, Koptcho was soon taken into custody on Cannery Drive in Larksville at about 10:50 a.m.
As he was being taken into the township building on the Sans Souci Parkway for processing, Koptcho said: “How are you doing, boys? Don’t ever fall in love with a married woman.” He was shirtless, wearing shorts and his toenails were painted pink.
After processing, Koptcho was taken to District Judge Joseph Halesey’s office for arraignment. He faces one count each of aggravated assault, simple assault with a deadly weapon, recklessly endangering another person and unauthorized use of automobiles or other vehicles.
Halesey set bail at $100,000 cash, and Koptcho was remanded to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Koptcho asked police if he could call a lawyer and a bail bondsman. He was told he could make those calls from the prison.
A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. before Halesey.
Ivy was stabbed in the back, left arm and left leg, the affidavit states. She told police that Koptcho has access to weapons, including assault rifles, that he keeps in a storage locker close to Mondelez.
At the scene, police placed two large butcher’s knives in evidence bags. One witness told police she heard the victim screaming and saw the suspect leaving a cooler holding two bloody knives. The witness grabbed the suspect by the T-shirt and yelled at him to get out and called for security, according to police accounts.
The affidavit states Koptcho told investigators he stabbed Ivy four times.
Koptcho and Ivy had carpooled to work for the past year. Before she picked him up on Thursday, Koptcho told police, he drank two beers and a coffee. He also told police that he and Ivy had been out drinking the evening before and that they had gone back to her residence and argued, the affidavit states.
Koptcho also told police he called Ivy’s husband, Robert Groblewski, of Tunkhannock, at some point after the stabbing to tell him what he did, that he got angry with her and that Groblewski should know “that (Ivy) is using him for his money,” according to the affidavit.