Arlen Briddell must have forgotten to read "A Criminal's Guide to Concealing Weapons."

Briddell was spotted by two Highway Patrol officers Thursday afternoon as he was hanging out with a few guys at 54th and Malcom streets in Kingsessing.

When Briddell spotted the cops, he immediately started to walk off, struggling along the way with what was causing a large bulge in his waistband, said Highway Patrol Capt. Michael Cochrane.

Officers Pat McDonald and Jim Kuzowsky got out of their patrol car and approached Briddell, 19. He promptly ran, Cochrane said.

The foot chase ended nearby on Broomall Street, where the cops took Briddell into custody. He was charged with weapons violations and possessing an instrument of crime.

"He was carrying an Intertech 9 mm semi-automatic handgun that was loaded with 11 rounds and had an obliterated serial number," Cochrane said. "He was also wearing a body-armor vest."

Cochrane said it was unclear why, exactly, Briddell felt compelled to walk around Kingsessing in daylight with a bulletproof vest and a large gun with an obliterated serial number.

"He didn't say what he was doing," Cochrane said. "He's had some prior contact with the law."

Indeed. In June, Briddell was arrested on drug-possession charges that were later dismissed, according to court records. In March, he was arrested on charges including recklessly endangering another person and attempting to elude a police officer, records show. Those charges were dropped.

Records show that Briddell was arrested twice in January - once, on charges that included attempted murder, aggravated assault and terroristic threats, and then a few days later on theft and simple assault charges, records show. Both cases were dismissed. *