Category Archives: Police & Fire
Local fire departments, Noga Ambulance Service, and the Ellwood City Police Department responded to a laundromat fire around 2:00 p.m. on Monday.
The fire, at Drop and Stop Laundromat on 313 Seventh St, started in a dryer. According to the police report, clothes in a running dryer caught fire. The apartments above Drop and Stop were evacuated, and the fire was quickly extinguished.
Involved fire departments included Ellwood City Borough and Wayne, Franklin, Perry, and North Sewickley townships. The Ellwood City Electric Department and Columbia Gas turned off the utilities.
Although the fire created considerable smoke, there was little damage.
Animal Cruelty and Perjury
- According to the criminal complaint, Pamela Kifer, 66, of Center Ave was under investigation for cat abuse at her former residence in Ellport. At a previous hearing, Kifer said she had one cat and possibly some kittens. She was thirty days to remove the cats from the residence and failed to do so. An investigation by Lawrence County Humane Detective Stacey Wiley at the old apartment revealed three adult cats and one kitten, all of which were severely emaciated and sick. She was charged with perjury and four counts of animal cruelty.
- An Ellwood City man was charged with open lewdness for wandering around naked. Ryan Hessler, 22, of Ellwood City, faces charges of criminal trespass, harassment, open lewdness, and public drunkenness. According to the police report, on August 20 around 3:00 a.m., officers responded to a call on Crescent Ave. Resident Judy McCloskey informed officers she had fallen asleep in the living room when she was woken by a nude male rubbing her face. She ran upstairs and informed her son, John, who called the police. Investigating officers found Hessler and arrested him. Hessler had been drinking at Pagley’s Pour House earlier.
- According to the police report, on August 18 around 1:20 a.m., an investigating officer responded to a disabled vehicle in a ditch on 9th St and Border Ave. The driver, Judy Lynn Jacobs, 36, of Ellwood City, was passed out but woke when the officer arrived. The vehicle was still running. Jacobs reported she only had two drinks but failed several field sobriety tests. She was taken to the Ellwood City Hospital where it was determined she was intoxicated. She was charged with careless driving and two counts of DUI: general impairment and highest rate of alcohol.
Simple and Domestic Assault
- According to the police report, Daimien Javon Holmes, 25, of Ellwood City, assaulted his girlfriend Amber Yannachione, 33, also of Ellwood City on August 18 around 1:20 a.m. Yannachione fled her residence on Glen Ave in her vehicle with her four month old daughter. She informed police that Holmes had hit her in the face and grabbed her throat. Yannachione’s left eye was swollen. Investigating officers arrested Holmes at Yannachione’s residence and charged him with simple and domestic assault.
- One person suffered minor injuries in an accident yesterday on Lawrence Ave and 7th Street around 9:45 a.m. According to the police report, Anthony DeCarbo, of Ellwood City, was driving south on 7th and James M. Taylor, of Poland, OH was driving west on Lawrence when Taylor’s truck, which he was operating for Canteen Services of Steel Valley, struck DeCarbo’s vehicle. Both people claimed the other had run a red light. However, a witness said Taylor ran the light. DeCarbo had minor injuries and was taken to the Ellwood City hospital. Taylor was cited for running a traffic light.
- Police arrested one man for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, and underage drinking on August 1. According to the police report, around 3:30 a.m. the North Sewickley police department informed the Ellwood City police department of an accident in the township. The injured were taken to the Ellwood City Hospital. Investigating officers arrived to find one of the patients belligerent. Brandon Holsinger, 18, of Ellwood City, was shouting obscenities at officers, trying to instigate a fight, and refusing to calm down to be handcuffed. Officers warned Holsinger that he would be tasered if he did not cooperate, after which Holsinger calmed down. He was taken to the police station and cited.
Simple Assault and Domestic
- According to the police report, on July 28 officers responded to a domestic disturbance report on Loop St. Investigating officers arrived at the residence around 10:40 p.m. and spoke to Nicole Kathleen Maunder, 21. Maunder reported that she had been baking smores when Michael Vincent Kerr, 23, of New Castle, got into a heated argument with her over the smores. Kerr shoved her against a wall and choked her. Maunder had marks under her chin and on her throat and reported she attempted to fight back. Officers took Kerr into custody and charged him with simple assault.
- On July 28, the Beaver County Sheriff Department informed the Ellwood City Police Department that they had in custody Chauncey L. Watson, 41, of New Brighton. Watson had a warrant in Ellwood City dating back to 2011 for receiving stolen property, intent to deliver drugs, and providing false I.D. to law enforcement. On March 15, 2011, investigating officers pulled over a vehicle on Line Ave. for an expired registration plate. One of the passengers identified himself as Michael Tucker. Due to the smell of marijuana in the vehicle, investigating officers obtained a search warrant and on March 16, found suspected crack cocaine. On April 2, the Beaver Falls Police Department informed investigating officers that Tucker was in reality Chauncey L. Watson. The driver of the vehicle claimed she only knew Watson as Tucker and had dated him on and off.
Ranger, the son of police dog Jozek, has been in training for over a year. He was certified in May for the first time, while Jozek was re-certified.
On Sunday around 1 a.m. Brett Baldelli, of Ellwood City, fled police after speeding by a patrol car. Baldelli fled to his residence and hid in the basement. In response, the K9 unit was called in to help secure the property.
Initially, Baldelli, hiding in the basement, refused to reveal himself. However, once he learned of Ranger’s presence, he emerged and surrendered without incident.
Lt. David Kingston, the police department’s ranking officer, said that the presence of a K9 dog is frequently enough to convince someone to surrender.
Sgt. Michael McBride, K9 officer and recently promoted, said that Ranger sniffed out four possible narcotic stashes, all of which were later confirmed to have illegal substances.
McBride explained that, for now, both Jozek and Ranger will be active. “Jozek would just sit at home and be bored if he retired,” McBride said.
“The most important part of a K9 unit is the bond,” McBride added. “Another K9 officer couldn’t work with Jozek and Ranger, and I couldn’t work with another dog. A bond has to form in the training for the unit to form.”
Police arrested a man wanted for theft and drug dealing last week following two incidents in Ellwood City.
According to the police report, Brett Baldelli, 33, of Entrance Drive, Ellwood City was arrested on June 14 in his house after attempting to elude capture.
On June 9, officers investigated a vehicle theft. The owner’s wallet had been stolen, along with driver’s license and credit cards. There were no leads.
On June 13, another vehicle theft was reported, although this one appeared to have aslo occurred between June 8 and 9. Stolen items included a purse, wallet, license, around $50 in gift card, and around $30 in cash. Again, there were no leads.
On June 14, at approximately 1:15 a.m. an office patrolling on Argonne Blvd saw a car turning onto Woodside Ave. As the car was speeding, the officer pursued. The car pulled into Baldelli’s driveway and fled into the basement. The officer identified the driver as Baldelli, who had several bench warrants.
The officer approached the house and saw at least three women inside. He announced his presence and called for back up. The K9 unit arrived and gained entry to the residence. When Baldelli heard the dog, he exited the basement, surrendered to police, and was taken into custody.
There were three females and one male in the house, all non-Ellwood residents, who were released. Police subsequently obtained a search warrant from Magistrate Jennifer Nicholson. The K9 unit found four locations with possible drugs, later all confirmed to have drugs.
Police found several bags containing what appeared to be cocaine, several syringes with an unknown liquid, a marijuana blunt cigar, and equipment for drug use, such as a 100 gram scale, lottery ticket paper used for packaging drugs, and a dragon pipe.
Police also found $1033 in cash, the credit cards and license of the previous victims, and a stolen revolver.
Baldelli is charged with three counts of receiving stolen property, prohibited possession of a firearm (as he was already a convicted felon), drug possession, intent to deliver, and flight to avoid capture.
He was arraigned by District Magistrate Jerry Cartwright with a bond of $35,000.
Burglary- Forced Entry
- According to the police report, about $5000 worth of items were stolen from a house on Hazen Ave. on June 13. At 8:40 p.m. the residents arrived home to find three televisions, cash, jewelry, electronic media, and other items missing. The owners had left the house around 8:30 a.m. The burglar appeared to have broken in through the back door, which had been locked. Investigating officers also discovered a window open in the master bedroom. Investigation ongoing.
- According to the police report, at 5:30 a.m. a patrolling officer noticed a truck at the tennis courts in Ewing Park that had not been there when he previously passed. The officer also spotted two white males dragging a duffel bag toward the truck. When they saw the officer, they fled into the woods, leaving their loot behind. The officer discovered candy, drinks, and Gatorade with flavors ranging from Glacier Freeze to Riptide Rush. The K9 unit was dispatched to track the burglars. However, the actors had fled over a cliff and could not be pursued. Investigation of the relationship of the truck to the actors and the identity of the actors is ongoing.
A fire that gutted a vacant home at 605 Glen Ave has been confirmed as an arson by a state police fire marshal.
The house caught fire on June 10 around 5:40 p.m. The Ellwood City, North Sewickley, and Wurtemburg-Perry Fire Departments were all involved in extinguishing the flames. The house was owned by Steve Lemanski, Jr. of Ellwood City.
Lemanski reported that the electric and gas were shut off. Ellwood Fire Chief Rick Myers found no cause for the fire to start on its own. He also determined that a padlock on the front door had been broken. He reported the fire was possibly an arson.
On June 11, a state police fire marshal examined the scene and confirmed that the fire was an arson.
The house was completely gutted, with damages estimated around $50,000.
- According to the police report, on June 8 around 8:30 a.m. Donald Plum III, 27, of Georgetown PA, was stealing change from the Ellwood City Revitalization Fountain on Lawrence Ave. The investigating officer saw him from the Municipal Building and went to question him. Plum admitted to stealing about $2.00 in change. He was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. The investigating officer discovered Plum had a warrant in New Brighton, so he was transferred to the police station there.
- According to the police report, officers responded to a domestic violence report on Loop Street on June 8 around 6:00 p.m. Investigating officers questioned Tiffany Nunez, 30, and Raphael Nunez, 32, both of Ellwood City. Nunez reported her husband had pushed her head through a wall and kicked the door. The wall had a hole and the door had marks. R. Nunez was arrested, waiting arraignment.
Rykel Samsa, 19, of Ellwood City, has been charged with criminal mischief for driving into a portable toilet.
The toilet, owned by Approved Toilet Rentals, is located in Ewing Park on Riverside Drive near Shelter #8.
According to the police report, at 9:00 a.m. on May 13, a park employee reported the toilet damaged. Investigating officers believed the damage was inflicted by a motor vehicle.
After following leads, an investigating officer interviewed Samsa on May 26. She said she was driving her car with her friend, Caitlin Hudak, 18, of Ellwood City and noticed the portable toilet was already damaged.
She decided to drive into it. She posted a video on social media, although the video had been deleted when officers checked her phone. She stated she did not believe her car inflicted more damage.
An investigating officer questioned Hudak the same day. Hudak provided a written confession that matched Samsa’s, except that she did believe their action caused damage to the toilet.