Category Archives: Police & Fire

POLICE: Dog attacks woman, kills her Yorkie in Ewing Park

An Ellwood City woman was cited after her pit bull slipped its collar and killed another dog.

Nancy Neghiu watched in horror as the pit bull, owned by Kasey Marie McClymonds, mauled her Yorkshire terrier to death just outside of her Petain Street home.

According to the police report, Neghiu took her dog for a walk on Friday, Nov. 7, just prior to 9 a.m.  While outside, the large gray dog approached the two and began attacking them.  She picked up her dog to protect it, then the pit bull knocked her to the ground and yanked the Yorkie from her arms.  The victim found a metal pipe and began hitting the dog, who was “shaking her dog like a rag doll.”  Her screams alerted two neighbors, who came out and chased the pit bull away.

When police arrived, they found the small dog laying dead on the sidewalk.  Witnesses explained that the attack was unprovoked.  The owner said the pit bull was tied outside for approximately 15 minutes, and broke free from its collar.

According to Article V-A of the Pa. Dogs and Cats law, “any person who has been attacked by one or more dogs, or anyone on behalf of the person, a person whose domestic animal, dog or cat has been killed or injured without provocation, the State dog warden or the local police officer may file a complaint before a magisterial district judge, charging the owners or keeper of the dog with harboring a dangerous dog.”  The dog reportedly had prior behavioral issues.

Lt. David Kingston explained that, according to the law, dogs must be declared dangerous by a magistrate in order to proceed with further action.

“The owner has been charged, and we have to wait for the outcome,” Kingston explained.  “We told the owner of the dog that she needs to follow the law by staying with the dog at all times while it is outside, and muzzling it when it leaves the property.”

If the dog is deemed dangerous, the owner must present sufficient evidence of a proper enclosure to confine the dangerous dog, post a clearly visible warning sign on the premises that there is a dangerous dog on the property, and conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog.  Further, the owner will pay a court-ordered restitution to the victim of the dangerous dog, and pay a $500 annual fee to register the dog.

McClymonds received citations for harboring a dangerous dog and confinement and housing of dogs.

The pit bull has been retrieved, and is currently being kept at the owner’s residence.

A hearing about the incident has been set for Jan. 5 at Judge Jerry Cartwright, Jr.’s office.

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POLICE: Three men assault victim on Loop Street

Three Ellwood City men received assault charges after brutally beating a victim on Saturday evening.

Matthew Shane Webb, 19, of 701 Orchard Ave., Devin James Myers, 18, of 2 Fifth St., Apt. 4, and Shane E Mihalko, 19, of 319 Hillside Ave. allegedly harassed and collectively attacked a man on Loop Street on Nov. 15.

According to the report, the three men approached the victim at a playground located near 412 Loop St. at approximately 10 p.m.  They jumped on him and began striking him repeatedly in the head and body.  The victim pushed his attackers off and attempted to flee when one of them struck him in the front of his head with a beer bottle.  The men then threatened to “beat up” and shoot the victim and a witness.

The victim entered a nearby residence on Loop Street, while the accused stood outside and continued trying to provoke him into a fight.  When he refused, they shattered beer bottles by throwing them at the porch.

The actors left the scene after a neighbor contacted police about the incident.  A witness identified the men as Webb, Myers and Mihalko.

The victim was treated at Ellwood City Hospital and received several stitches to close a large laceration wound on his forehead.

All three men received charges of simple assault and harassment.  Also, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Mihalko, who faces a felony charge for aggravated assault for using a beer bottle as a weapon.

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FROM THE MAYOR: Gun buyback

Ellwood City — Ellwood City Police Department, in conjunction with the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office and District Attorney, Joshua Lamancusa and Mayor Anthony Court of Ellwood City will be participating in a Gun Take Back Campaign starting Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 and ending Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

Any individual who has an unwanted gun can bring the gun to the Ellwood City Police Department starting Sunday at 9 a.m. The individual will complete a form, and the police department will take possession of the gun.  The individual will receive a check for $50 from the District Attorney’s Office in about 7-10 business. Individuals may bring the guns to the police department between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., daily. Individual(s) bringing guns to the police station should make sure the gun is unloaded and secured prior to arriving at the police station.

The program was started after a mother, Deborah Murdock who’s son Richard Hogue was murdered in Ellwood City last year on Nov. 16, 2013.  Deborah Murdock had actively requested the District Attorney to adopt such a program to be conducted during the anniversary week of her son’s death. Deborah Murdock promoted the program with the District Attorney and Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court and Lt. Kingston. New Castle Police Department and Ellwood City Police Department will be drop off points for the guns.

Anybody having questions concerning the gun buyback program can contact the Ellwood City Police Department at (724) 759-9935 or the police department’s non-emergency dispatch number (724) 758-7564.

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POLICE: Man found unconscious from apparent drug use

An Ellwood City man faces charges after paramedics found another man unconscious at his home from apparent drug use.

Police arrived at the home of Jason Frank Reid, 35, of 521 Wampum Ave., apt. 4, on Friday, Oct. 31, at approximately 11:55 p.m., and found an unconscious man with brown saliva and mucus emanating from his nose and mouth.

Ellwood City fire fighters, Noga medics, and officers spoke with Reid, who claimed to not know what happened to the man.  The defendant identified the man as his neighbor’s boyfriend who was “just over hanging out.”  The officers discovered eight pills in a Rite Aid pill bottle with the label ripped off, and a baggy of what they suspected as marijuana on the unconscious man.  Reid stated that the bottle contained three Adderall pills, but he was unsure of the rest.

Reid allowed police to search the residence, and they located two marijuana pipes, and a large bag of the white pills, later identified as Tramadol, found on the unconscious man.  Reid stated that he was holding one of the pipes, and the bag of pills for his neighbor’s boyfriend.  When the man came to at Ellwood City Hospital, he explained that he had a drug problem, and that Reid sold him pills.  Also, he said that the pipe was not his.

Reid faces two charges of delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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POLICE: EC woman run over by own car at mailbox

An Ellwood City woman sustained undisclosed injuries Tuesday evening after being hit by her own car in a Line Avenue parking lot.

According to police, Nancy Melinda Thomas, 62, of 724 Line Ave., was knocked to the ground by her 2013 Fiat while trying to put mail into a United States Postal Service mailbox outside of State Representative Jaret Gibbons’ office at 428 Line Ave.  Thomas exited the vehicle, which contains a manual transmission, believing that the emergency break was on and that the car was out of gear.  When she got to the mailbox, the car began to roll out of the parking lot and onto Line Avenue.  While trying to re-enter the vehicle, Thomas was knocked to the ground.  The Fiat drifted south across the road and into a row of hedges beyond the sidewalk.  It was unclear if Thomas was dragged by the vehicle.

The victim was taken to Ellwood City Hospital for further evaluation.  No other injuries were reported at the scene.

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COURT: Webb faces charges in separate incidents

An Ellwood City man secured two court dates with following separate incidents of burglary and drug possession.  Matthew Webb, 19, of 701 Orchard Ave., will appear before Judge Jerry Cartwright on Nov.19, at 9:30 a.m., then again on Dec. 2, at 9:30 am.

On multiple occasions police attempted to question Webb about a burglary they began investigating in August 2013 that occurred at Weller’s Flea Market at 130 Wampum Ave.  According to criminal complaint, police responded to an investigation of burglary at the flea market on Aug. 27 that happened overnight.  The actor used some type of bar to pry the rear entrance open, and broke the deadbolt in the process to gain entry to the building.  After breaking in, he/she allegedly stole several retail items, including jewelry and power tools.

During the investigation, police obtained addresses to two locations in New Castle that purchased and resold jewelry: Greeks House of Gold, located at 368 1/2 E. Washington St., and New Castle Gold Company, located at 2201 Wilmington Rd.

At Greeks House of Gold, an employee gave officers a receipt from Aug. 28 detailing the purchase of rings confirmed to belong to Weller’s Flea Market.  The receipt depicted Webb as the person involved in the transaction, which amounted to $106, thus confirming his possession of the stolen goods.  Then, police discovered a receipt from Aug. 31, at 11:35 a.m., showing that Webb again sold silver rings from Weller’s Flea Market to Greeks House of Gold for a total of $14.  Furthermore, the defendant sold rings on Aug. 31, at 11:45 a.m. to New Castle Gold Company for $9.

Approximately three months later, on Dec.9, officers recovered two chainsaws taken in the burglary at Hamilton Tool & Supply in Beaver Falls.  Verification of the purchases showed that Webb sold the Poulan Pro and Home Lite chainsaws to the tool and supply store for $50 on Aug. 29.

He refused to speak with police about the matter on several occasions, including an occurrence when New Castle Police detained him for a disturbance, so he received a summons to appear in court on Dec. 2.

On Oct. 16, Webb earned a second court date after officers found several individually wrapped plastic baggies of marijuana on him after they responded to a call about a man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with black shorts carrying a gun on his waistband while at McDonald’s parking lot on 5th Street.

Police arrived to find Webb, who matched the description, standing near the parking lot entrance.  They found ten baggies of marijuana, packaged to sell, on the accused.  He told the officers that he possessed it for personal use.  Police seized the marijuana.

Webb faces one count of receiving stolen property for the first case, and possession of marijuana in the second case.

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COURT: Portersville man held for assault

A Portersville man is set to appear in court after violently assaulting a woman and a juvenile on the evening of Oct. 5.

According to the complaint, Matthew Richard Tolley, 28, of 269 Studebaker Rd., Portersville, punched a woman five times, pulled her hair, and twisted her arm after an argument turned violent.  The woman claims that Tolley became angry because she had not made him dinner, so he hit her repeatedly, which left lumps and swelling on the top of her head..  A juvenile bystander attempted to intervene, and Tolley shoved the juvenile to the floor causing minor injuries.

Tolley will appear before Judge Jerry Cartwright, Jr. on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 9:30 a.m.  He is being held on $5,000 bond.


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POLICE: EC man faces five charges, including DUI

An Ellwood City man faces several charges after state police observed his vehicle hop two curbs Friday morning.

According to the criminal complaint, Michael Raymond Santillo, 27, of 646 Crabapple Ln., drove his beige 2005 Buick LeSabre over a curb while turning right from 5th Street onto Spring Avenue just prior to 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 4.  Officers followed Santillo, who continued north and turned right onto Highland Avenue.  From there, the driver again made a right turn onto Bridge Street, and drove to Orchard Avenue where he completed yet another right turn.  Then, he drove from Orchard Avenue back to North Street and turned right.  The car traveled north for one more block, and hopped another curb after, again, turning right onto Hazen Avenue.  The officers pulled Santillo over after he drove over the second curb.

Upon speaking to Santillo, police detected alcohol emanating from his breath.  He exhibited slurred speech and bloodshot, glassy eyes.  The officers found two open containers in the center console of the vehicle.  Additionally, they discovered a black glass grenade pipe with suspected marijuana residue lying on the driver’s seat as Santillo exited the car.  The actor failed the field sobriety tests, and was transported to Ellwood City Hospital for a blood test.  Testing revealed his blood-alcohol content as .147.

Santillo faces two charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, careless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possessing open alcoholic beverage containers in a motorized vehicle.

A warrant was issued for his arrest.

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Crime watch and mayor advisory committee meetings

Crime Watch Meeting

Mayor Anthony J. Court held his monthly crime watch meeting on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., at the Walnut Ridge Community Center.

Court extended his gratitude to the Lawrence County Housing Authority for the installation of the 25 cameras in the Walnut Ridge public housing complex. He advised that the project would be completed on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Further, Court stressed that 95% of the Walnut Ridge community members are obedient citizens, and that criminal activity is mostly provoked by outsiders.

The mayor commended the housing authority’s efforts to evict those individuals who disrupt and cause harm to the community. He stated that the housing authority is continuing to research criminal records in order to protect the law-abiding citizens that reside within its jurisdiction.

During a question-and-answer session, citizens raised questions in regards to their privacy, and how the cameras may intrude upon it. Court assured them that the cameras monitor only outside activity in addition to the entrances and exits of the housing authority community. Also, discussion occurred as to whether or not the cameras are remotely accessed from police cruisers. Court stated that the notion of patrol monitoring remains in deliberation. The mayor reassured those in attendance that if/when criminal activity transpires in the Walnut Ridge public housing complex, that the Ellwood City Police will be notified immediately.

Court believes that his, and law enforcement’s, collaboration with the Lawrence County Housing Authority took a big step toward creating a safer environment for citizens in the Walnut Ridge public housing complex, and the entire Ellwood City community.

Mayor Court advised that the next meeting would be held on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, located on the first floor of the Ellwood City Municipal Building.

Mayor Advisory Committee Meeting

Mayor Anthony Court’s Advisory Committee met on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, at 3 p.m. in the council chambers, located on the first floor of the Ellwood City Municipal Building.

The committee began the meeting by discussing the installation of the Walnut Ridge public housing complex cameras, and a possible date for their completion. Next, it was reported that Sabre Industries, of 700 Second St., would be repaying its debt to the Ellwood City Borough. Further, the committee vowed to make code officials aware of an abandoned home located on June Lee Street.

Also, advisory committee members discussed a possible issue with emissions believed to be coming from the Inmetco stacks. Concerned citizens alerted the group that the emissions may be producing a foul odor.

Finally, Mayor Court advised members that he planned to continue the war on drugs.

The mayor’s next advisory committee meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 at 3 p.m. in the council chambers.

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POLICE: One man wounded in apparent break-in attempt

Two Ellwood City men were suspected of assaulting another with a firearm on Monday morning after a man attempted to break into a Fifth Street apartment.

James Hammond, 19, of 12 Fifth St., and Anthony Cirelli, 25, of 4639 Portersville Rd. were detained by police after Donald “Pooker” Ostrom, 30, of 707 Fairview Ave., showed up at Ellwood City Hospital at approximately 1:47 a.m. with a gunshot wound to his hand.

According to the report, Ostrom spoke with police while being treated for his injury, and named Hammond as the shooter.  He claimed that the accused owed him $30, which sparked the altercation at 12 Fifth St.  Prior to his arrival, police heard three gunshots in the vicinity of Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Glen Avenue, and Factory Avenue.  Further investigation revealed that Cirelli fired his silver Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum in an attempt to stop an intruder.

The shooter claimed that the intruder kicked the back door in at the residence while he and Hammond were watching television.  A male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a red bandana over his face entered the apartment and sprayed Hammond in the face with pepper spray.  Cirelli admitted to firing the weapon, which was never properly registered upon purchase, through a door at the intruder.  Police received a call about a burglary, not in progress, from Ostrom’s sister, who said that her brother might have been trying to break into the apartment.

When police asked Ostrom to go to station for questioning, he stated that he was too sedated to answer questions.

Police detained Hammond and Cirelli and held them for questioning.

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