Cops: ‘Thug’ tried to whack teacher with claw hammer

James Darlington
James Darlington
Posted: February 21, 2013

A 19-year-old Upper Darby Township man who allegedly tried to strike a high school teacher with a claw hammer during a classroom robbery is a suspect in several other thefts, police said Wednesday.

Michael J. Chitwood, police superintendent in the Delaware County township, said Darlington James was prowling the second-floor halls of Upper Darby High School after dismissal Tuesday.

Darlington, who is not a student, entered the classroom of a 32-year-old teacher who was alone in her room. He grabbed her, forced her to the ground, and then tried to hit her with the hammer, according to court documents.

The teacher, whom police would not identify, began to scream. Darlington then took her personal Apple computer and ran from the room, the teacher in chase. Two other teachers joined in the pursuit, police said.

Darlington was caught by police on the 1400 block of Bywood Avenue with the stolen computer in his backpack, according to court documents.

Darlington has been charged with robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, receiving stolen property, theft, and other related charges, according to court documents.

"He could have beat her to death," said Chitwood, adding that the suspect was a "brazen, brash criminal, a thug."

On Jan. 14, Darlington allegedly attempted to steal another computer from a teacher at Beverly Hills Middle School, but the teacher was able to wrestle it away. A school security video showed Darlington in the building, said Chitwood.

He has been charged in that theft attempt, and police also are investigating whether Darlington was involved in the thefts of several laptops from the schools, Chitwood said.


Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-313-8111, mschaefer@phillynews.com or @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

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