Category Archives: Police & Fire
- A court date was set for a New Castle woman after investigators found evidence of approximately $92,412.92 in stolen funds from her former employer.
According to the police report, Chastity Yvette (Booker) Williams, 38, of 2724 State St., allotted herself unauthorized overtime pay at increased rates and took an insurance allotment waiver while also receiving benefits. The former assistant business manager of Lawrence County Career and Technical Center (LCCTC) allegedly took advantage of her position in which she controlled payroll and school records.
From March 1, 2010 until Aug. 31, 2013, the defendant took 2,463.5 overtime hours without consent from the school director. Also, she changed her overtime rates to amounts between $.83 and $5.60 above her pay grade. Further, Williams opted to take $1,250 from a waiver of health insurance benefits, even though she enrolled in the health plan. Moreover, a forensic accountant team found illegitimate charges on her company credit card, including fraudulent mileage claims for business trips for which she used rental vehicles in lieu of a personal vehicle. The defendant also received overpayment on her final check after leaving LCCTC, which she failed to pay back.
Williams faces 28 counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking, 26 counts of Theft by Deception – False Impression, and 54 counts of Receiving Stolen property. She will appear in court on Monday, Sept. 29, at 1 p.m. before Judge Jerry Cartwright, Jr.
- A court date was set for an Ellwood City man after police found him heavily intoxicated and in possession of a controlled substance during the borough-wide blackout on Sept. 14.
According to the police report, Jesse Ray Vale, 32, of 213 Crescent Ave., was seen by a patrolling officer at approximately 2:16 a.m. at the seven-hundred block of Lawrence Avenue leaning against a wall outside of Studio P Dance Studio. The reporting officer flashed a flood light on Vale, who then began to stumble in the opposite direction. The officer made contact with the defendant, whose eyes appeared bloodshot and glassy, and detected a strong odor of alcohol. A pat down revealed a large plastic bag full of orange pills determined as adderall, for which he did not have a prescription.
Vale faces charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Public Drunkenness. He will appear in court on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 9:30 a.m., before Judge Jerry Cartwright, Jr.
- A court date was set for a Beaver Falls man who allegedly attempted to lure a teenage girl into his van in Little Beaver Township on Sept. 11.
According to the police report, Michael Paul Shields, 50, of 2944 Darlington Rd., pulled up to a 14-year-old girl in his gray Chevrolet Venture, and asked if she wanted a ride home from her school bus stop on Cherry Hill Road at approximately 3:30 p.m. After the girl refused a ride, Shields pulled his vehicle forward and watched her walk to her house. She called Pennsylvania State Police and described the man as being around 50-years-old, with gray thinning hair, who wore glasses and a yellow shirt with gray stripes.
Troopers found the unoccupied van in a driveway on nearby Woodhill Drive. Shields appeared a short time later with the owner of the residence. He admitted to asking the girl if she wanted a ride, then said he drove away to make a phone call and visit his friend.
Shields faces charges of Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle, and Stalking. He will appear in court on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 9:30 a.m., before Judge Jerry Cartwright, Jr.
- A court date was set for an Ellwood City man after police arrested him for allegedly driving drunk and wrecking into two legally parked vehicles on Pittsburgh Circle.
According to the police report, Michael Howard Steffler, 39, of 1005 Center Ave., drove his gray Chevrolet truck down the center of the road into two parked vehicles, then exited the truck to talk to a friend who lived on the same street. When officers arrived, at approximately 8:50 p.m., they noticed damage to the front left portion of Steffler’s truck. An officer advised the defendant to come speak with them, to which he responding he was talking to his friend. Then, Steffler staggered to the scene of the crime, emitting a heavy aroma of alcohol. When questioned, he claimed that he had not been drinking. Police arrested the defendant after he failed three field sobriety tests.
Steffler faces charges of Driving Under the Infleunce, and Failure to Keep Right. He will appear in court on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 9:30 a.m., before Judge Jerry Cartwright.
According to reports, a one-vehicle accident in Franklin Township Wednesday morning left arriving police officers stumped as the driver was nowhere to be found.
Now, charges are pending against the driver for leaving the scene of the accident and for multiple traffic violations.
The accident took place on South Camp Run Road in Franklin Township, Beaver County where, according to reports, 23-year-old Sonya Osselborn said she swerved to avoid deer on the road while on her way home from her boyfriend’s house.
The series of events led the vehicle to flip and land on its roof after it careened off the side of the road and down a hillside.
First responders were notified about a car over the hillside Wednesday afternoon, but did not know when the accident happened or where the driver was.
According to reports, after the accident, Osselborn climbed up the hillside and walked three miles home and later went to class Wednesday. Osselborn planned to contact police at a later time.
- According to the police report, John Hogue reported a burglary at his home, located on the 500 block of Line Avenue, on 8/17. Between the hours of 2:00 p.m. on August 16 and 12:30 p.m. on August 17, an unknown actor broke into Hogue’s apartment through the window. The actor stole a 32-inch Samsung Television, located in the front of his apartment. The cost of the stolen property was estimated at $200.00. Police are still searching for suspects.
- According to the police report, criminal mischief was reported at the Women’s Softball Field at Stiefel Park on 8/19. Police arrived at Hack Wilson Drive at around 4:00 p.m. to see the damage that was done to the outfield fence after an unknown driver had crashed into it. The fence will need to be pulled out and re-secured. No suspects have been found at this time.
Criminal Mischief to Automobiles:
- According to the police report, Daniel Mancini reported criminal mischief to his father’s 2006 beige Chevrolet Trail Blazer on 8/16. At some point during the night, an unknown actor smashed the victim’s driver’s side rearview mirror. It was parked outside of the Mancini’s residence on the 400 block of Beatty Street. The total damage is estimated to cost $300.00. The investigation will continue.
- According to the police report, Travis Bratt reported criminal mischief to his 2004 orange Pontiac Grand Am on 8/17. The victim told police that between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 10:20 a.m., an unknown actor threw a cinder block through Bratt’s windshield. The vehicle was parked outside of his home, located on the 500 block of Loop Street, when the incident occurred. This case is under review.
- According to the police report, Douglas Lample, 40, reported harassment from Dawn Dittmer, 41, on 8/17. Police arrived to the residence, located on the 200 block of 5th Street, at around 12:30 a.m. They immediately spotted Dittmer, who was highly intoxicated, attempting to flee the scene. Lample and a witness claimed that Dittmer was drunk and that she had been punching Lample in the face. He did have a bloody lip for the confrontation. While officers were trying to hear the entire story, Dittmer continued to scream profane language and even attempted to hit Lample. She was then placed under arrest for harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
- According to the police report, officers were summoned to Burger King, located at 627 Lawrence Avenue, for an unknown male that was passed out inside the restaurant on 8/16. He was identified as Joshua Strosnider, 24, of Ellwood City. Strosnider became annoyed and irate when Ellwood City Firefighters tried helping him at around 12:50 p.m. He denied treatment and attempted to walk away. Strosnider, smelling strongly of alcohol and marijuana, was stopped and detained by police. His speech was slurred, he had slow reactions and was staggering. Strosnider was then placed under arrest. He became resistant and had to be subdued. He is being charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
- According to the police report, John Boydell reported theft at his home, located on the 100 block of Madison Avenue, on 8/19. The victim told police that an unknown vehicle pulled up to his house at around midnight that evening. The actor took seven solar lights from Boydell’s yard that alternated between red, green and blue in color. Neither Boydell or his wife were able to describe the vehicle. The cost of the stolen property was estimated at $5.00 per light. This incident is still under investigation.
- According to the police report, Carla DiCarlo reported criminal mischief to her home on 1000 block of Beaver Avenue on 8/7. At some point during the night, an unknown actor egged the victim’s residence. The actor also threw sandwich bags of ketchup on the porch that ended up staining the carpet. The victim does have security cameras at her home and will review the footage for suspects.
Driving Under the Influence – Alcohol:
- According to the police report, Josephine Powell, 53, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on 8/11. Witnesses called police after hearing a loud crash outside of their apartment, located at 815 Second Street, at around 7:45 p.m. Powell, who lives in the building next door, was sitting in her driveway after the incident. When police arrived at the scene, they observed scrape marks on the brick apartment building and damage to the driver’s side front end of Powell’s 2005 gold Chevrolet Cobalt. Officers knocked on Powell’s car window to tell her to get out of the car and her eyes appeared bloodshot and glassy. Powell was issued a sobriety test and failed. She was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and was transported to the Ellwood City Hospital for blood tests. The results showed that Powell’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
- According to the police report, Richard Hill, 61, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on 8/9. Officers were dispatched for an erratic driver on Woodside Avenue at around 3:30 p.m. The police were able to get directly behind the 1997 blue Ford Pickup on the 5th Street Bridge. When the truck was pulled over, the driver first swerved onto the sidewalk before coming to a complete stop. Police identified the truck operator as Hill, who had alcohol odor on his breath. When Hill was asked to get out of the vehicle, he could barely stand on his own. He was issued a sobriety test and failed. He was placed under arrest for driving under the influence and was transported to the Ellwood City Hospital for blood tests. The results showed that Hill’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
- According to the police report, police received a domestic disturbance call from Jodi Vankirk, 37, who was calling from her neighbor’s home on 8/8. Officers reported to Vankirk’s residence, 814 5th Street, at around 5:30 p.m. They found her bleeding from her swollen nose and mouth. She claimed that Joseph Boots, 39, punched her over an ongoing argument while she was lying on the couch. Police spoke to Boots, who had Vankirk’s blood on his arms with no excuse as to why. Boots was then placed under arrest for domestic disturbance.
Public Drunkenness / Disorderly Conduct:
- According to the police report, officers were called to the Ellwood City Hospital for a disturbance in the Emergency Room, regarding a patient who was dropped off at the doors on 8/9. Police arrived to the hospital at around 4:00 a.m. when they observed hospital personnel holding down a heavily intoxicated patient to the bed as he was screaming obscene language. The patient was identified as Robert McDanel, 21. He was also attempting to hit the hospital staff. McDanel was placed under arrest for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct and transported to the police station.
- According to the police report, three juveniles were arrested in connection with the flag thefts happening around Ellwood City. During the months of June and July, the Ellwood City Police were able to solve over 30 cases of criminal mischief due to social media. Incidents occurred on Adams Street, Argonne Boulevard, California Avenue, Dover Lane, Fifth Street, Fountain Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Jefferson Avenue, Perry Street, Pershing Street, Plymouth Lane, Wayne Avenue and Woodside Avenue. The juveniles were charged with theft and criminal mischief.
- According to the police report, Stefanie Bartolomeo reported a burglary at her home on the 800 block of First Avenue on 7/31. The victim told police that between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., an unknown actor broke the pad lock off of her garage. They stole a five gallon red gas can and a Remington Rustler weed whacker with a black handle/neck and an orange gas can. The total retail price for the stolen items is around $105.00. Further investigation will continue.
- According to the police report, Ian Lundberg reported theft while he was staying at a friend’s home on the 400 block of Wayne Avenue on 7/30. The victim came to the police station saying he had purchased a white 16GB iPhone 5S online. UPS told Lundberg the item had been delivered to the residence, however, he never received it. The retail price of the phone is $600.00. Lundberg, of Hollywood, Calif., will be returning home next week. This case will be reviewed.
- According to the police report, James Shablesky reported theft at his home on the 800 block of Wayne Avenue on 7/29. The victim stated that between the dates of July 12 and July 29, an unknown actor stole items from his home. The following items are missing: a black Brinkman gourmet electric smoker, two green outdoor Bose speakers and a pressure washer. The combined retail price of the items is close to $1,400.00. This incident is under investigation.
- According to the police report, Meranda Rockwell reported theft from her 2001 black Saturn Coupe on 7/28. The victim told police that between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., an unknown actor broke into her car while it was parked outside of her home on the 500 block of Haig Street. The actor stole her brown Coach wallet, valued at $60.00, along with $200.00 in cash. Rockwell stated that her social security card, son’s social security card and numerous other cards were also in the wallet. She did cancel her bank cards immediately after the theft. Police are still investigating.
- According to the police report, Donald McClosky reported criminal mischief his home on the 500 block of 13th Street on 7/21. At some point during the night, an unknown actor through a brick through McClosky’s front window. The actor vandalized his home by throwing fruit, vegetables, bottles and eggs and squirting ketchup and mustard on the sides of his house. The person also broke two windows in the victim’s RV that was parked in the back of his residence. The actor was unidentifiable due to a shirt that was covering his face.
Criminal Mischief to Automobiles:
- According to the police report, Deputy Sheriff John Baldelli reported criminal mischief to his 2007 white Ford Sedan on 7/25. At some point during the night, an unknown actor got on top of the hood of the vehicle and kicked in the front windshield while the vehicle was parked on the 400 block of First Avenue. There was a footprint on the hood where the actor was standing. The car belongs to Lawrence County. No other vehicles were damaged on the street.
- According to the police report, an actor was charged in a criminal mischief incident involving the vehicle of Mayor Anthony Court on 7/19. While Mayor Court’s vehicle was parked in the Municipal Building Parking Lot at 525 Lawrence Avenue, an actor placed a can of Armour Vienna Bites under his tire. Once the Mayor ran over the can, it exploded and caused damage to his vehicle. The incident was caught on the Municipal Building’s security cameras, showing Taylor Foley, 18, responsible for the incident. She was charged with criminal mischief to automobiles, disorderly conduct and littering.
Arson to Motor Vehicle:
- According to the police report, a witness reported that they could see a car on fire at Stiefel Park on 7/24 at around 3:30 a.m. After the witness was woken up by the car’s alarm, they also observed two more cars parked beside the vehicle that was on fire. When police arrived, several firefighters had already responded and were working to put the fire out. A red gas can was found 10 feet away from the car. The vehicle, which was a 2002 silver Chevrolet Cavalier, belonged to John Wilson Jr. Police went to the home of Wilson, 220 12th Street Extension, but no one was there and the residence looked abandoned. The car was towed the following day.
- According to the police report, police were dispatched to 517 Spring Avenue for a male that was lying on the sidewalk and bleeding from the head. David Adamovich, 45, stated that he had been drinking at the West End Cafe and decided to walk home after midnight on 7/21. While on Spring Avenue, he was approached by a group of juveniles who asked him for his wallet. They then proceeded to attack the victim with a chain as well as hitting and kicking him. The juveniles got away with lottery tickets, two utility knives and $14.00. Adamovich was treated at the Ellwood City Hospital for deep cuts on his head. Police are still searching for the attackers.
Driving Under the Influence – Alcohol:
- According to the police report, a witness reported an erratic driver in a 2001 black Chevrolet Cavalier near Woodside Avenue on 7/21 at around 4:40 p.m. The reporting officer found the driver sitting inside the vehicle outside his home, 205 Johnston Drive. He was identified as Jeremy Hughes, 41, who was visibly intoxicated with his slurred speech, trouble balancing and red/flushed face and eyes. Hughes denied both drinking and driving erratically. He failed to pass the field sobriety tests and was transported to the Ellwood City Hospital for chemical testing. While at the hospital, Hughes admitted to have been drinking that day. Tests revealed his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. He was released and will be receiving his summons in the mail. The vehicle belonged to Hughes’ girlfriend, Dori Sloan.
In continuing the investigation of the Loop Street shooting Sunday night, state police charged a Detroit-area man with connections to the incident.
According to a local news source, Jeffrey Christopher Sack Jr., 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault on Monday.
The triple shooting, which occurred at the Walnut Ridge Apartments at 10:15 p.m. Sunday, left one dead and two hospitalized after the incident.
Thomas Lee Everett Paris, 43, was found dead in a vehicle at The Ranch, after friends attempted to get him help. Rashund Alteric Smith, 34, and Jessica Lynn Jackson, 29, were both flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
All of the victims were from New Castle.
According to reports, Sack was trying to leave the scene when he struck Smith with his vehicle. He is currently being held on $100,000 bond at the Lawrence County Jail.
State police, who are being aided by Ellwood City police, are currently investigating claims that the suspect was able to shoot from a nearby vehicle. It is believed that the shooting occurred over a domestic dispute between Smith and an unidentified woman, according to police.
State police will proceed in examining the shooting.
According to a local news source, a triple shooting occurred Sunday evening in an Ellwood City apartment complex, leaving one dead and two wounded.
The shooting took place at around 10:15 p.m. in the Walnut Ridge Apartments on Loop Street, according to reports.
Thomas Lee Everett Paris, 43, Rashund Alteric Smith, 34, and Jessica Lynn Jackson, 29, all of New Castle, were shot during the incident.
Paris, who was shot once, was driven from Loop Street to The Ranch, a bar located on Ellwood Road, in attempts to get him help. Police later found Paris dead in the car in the parking lot of The Ranch.
Smith, who had received multiple gun wounds, and Jackson, who had been shot once, were both flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. Reports described their injuries as “non-life threatening”.
According to the local news, police believe the shooting was triggered by a domestic dispute between Smith and an unidentified woman.
At this time, no one has yet been charged in this incident.
- According to the police report, officers were dispatched to Ewing Park to meet with the Park Superintendent Jim Arkett. At some point over the night of July 10, there were multiple acts of criminal mischief in Ewing Park. The unknown actors removed all the paper towels from the portable hand wash unit and threw them all over the surrounding area. They then emptied all of the soap dispensers and damaged them. Also, the actors tipped over a portable toilet and scattered rubbish in the pool parking lot. Investigation regarding this case will continue.
Criminal Mischief to Automobiles:
- According to the police report, Linda Boots reported criminal mischief to her 2003 blue Chevrolet Cavalier on 7/15. The reporting officer was dispatched to Boots’ home, 104 Thirteenth Street, for a smashed windshield at around 2:30 a.m. The victim stated that her children saw a black truck pull out of their driveway through the open front door after the incident. No suspects have been found at this time.
- According to the police report, Rhiannon Schnell reported criminal mischief to her 2012 white Chevrolet Traverse on 7/14. She told police that someone keyed her car between July 11 at 9:00 p.m. and July 13 at 7:00 a.m. The key left a 12 inch vertical line on the back of her vehicle next to another key scratch someone did two months ago. Schnell just wanted police to be aware of this incident.
- According to the police report, Joseph Boots and Tina Boots reported criminal mischief to their 1996 Dodge Truck on 7/15. Joseph Boots told police that he was sleeping at his home, 814 Fifth Street, when he heard beating on his walls and his truck window being smashed at around 2:00 a.m.. A witness saw three individuals outside the home and then throw a brick through the truck’s passenger window and windshield. The witness also saw the actors drive away in a black Kia. Tina Boots is the owner of the car, but her brother is the one who drives it. She stated that he had just recently fixed the windshield as it was smashed prior to this night. They later were identified as Taylor Foley, 18, Adam Pounds, 23 and Joseph Pounds, 20. The trio was charged with loitering and prowling, while Adam Pounds also picked up criminal mischief charges.
- According to the police report, Mike Tomasello called police over a drunk male fighting with him at his residence, 423 Spring Avenue. The reporting officer arrived to see George Lordi, 53, trying to leave the home. The police began yelling stop at Lordi, but he refused. He was eventually stopped along Keystone way. Lordi was heavily intoxicated and carrying a bag of beer with him. When police returned with him to Spring Avenue, he continued to yell and argue. Lordi was then placed under arrest for public drunkenness.
A Wayne Township man shot his stepfather Friday night after an argument broke out at their home, 4347 Ellwood Road.
According to local reports, Justin Burnett, 29, shot Douglas Weingartner, 60, four times at around 10:30 p.m. in Weingartner’s bedroom.
Burnett then went to the living room where he pointed his gun at his mother, Jo Ellen Weingartner, before shooting himself in the head. A .40-caliber handgun was used as the weapon during the incident, according to police.
Weingartner was a local Ellwood City businessman. He was the owner of Paul’s Auto Body Shop, 810 Woodside Avenue, which had been passed down to him from his father.
Both men were pronounced dead on the scene.