Youngwood man accused of taking $50K worth of guns, other items from 2 abandoned houses

By Renatta Signorini

You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@triblive.com or via Twitter .

A Youngwood man was charged Thursday after state police said he took $50,000 worth of guns, tools, coins and military collectibles from two abandoned houses, according to court papers.

George Raymond Weightman III, 43, told investigators he broke into the houses in Adamsburg and Hempfield to fund a drug addiction. He was jailed without bail on numerous counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and weapons violations.

He was being held at the Westmoreland County Prison.

State police arrested him Monday on two counts of receiving stolen property in connection with two guns reported stolen from the Adamsburg home.

Source: Youngwood man accused of taking $50K worth of guns, other items from 2 abandoned houses

Westmoreland Commissioner Chew pledges to cover lost drug court grant for weekend testing | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland Commissioner Doug Chew said he will pay for weekend drug tests of participants in the county’s drug court program until a permanent funding source is secured.

In an email sent to county judges over the weekend, the first-term Republican from Hempfield pledged to help identify future funding sources for the testing program and that he would pay to keep it running when a state grant runs out at the end of September.

“This may not be solved overnight, but until I can either get another grant approved or another funding source, I’ll cover the weekend program costs,” Chew wrote in an email to the two drug court judges and other county officials on Sunday.

Chew did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

County officials learned late last week that a state grant to pay for the drug testing program, which expires at the end of September, will not be renewed. They estimated the drug testing program costs about $750 each weekend.

Common Pleas Court Judges Christopher Feliciani and Megan Bilik-DeFazio on Friday emailed all three county commissioners and asked for funding help to cover drug court’s lost grant and a specific request to use money from the county’s budget until another permanent funding source can be found.

“In light of this recent development, our participants will be at an increased risk of relapse in the absence of weekend drug testing. Continued funding of expanded drug testing is not only critical for the (drug court) participants, but also their families, employers and all who are dependent upon them remaining clean and sober,” the judges wrote.

Chew said over the weekend that he did not know about the terminated grant when he responded Friday to the Tribune-Review about his reasons for diverting promised donations to drug court.

During his 2019 campaign for county commissioner, Chew pledged to donate 60% of his $81,000 annual salary to drug court. That pledge amounts to $48,600 each year.

This summer, amid criticism from Controller Jeff Balzer during a public meeting, Chew admitted he has yet to make any donations to drug court. He said he donated to other social service agencies and charities in lieu of his drug court pledge and claimed his money was not needed since no plans were in place to increase the number of participants enrolled. Drug court has been capped at 60 participants for the last several years.

Emails and text messages obtained by the Tribune-Review under the state’s Right-to-Know law revealed there were no communications between Chew and the judges in which his initial promise to donate to drug court was rejected.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Source: Westmoreland Commissioner Chew pledges to cover lost drug court grant for weekend testing | TribLIVE.com

$3.74 million winning lottery ticket sold at Sheetz in Westmoreland County

Someone who played the Pennsylvania Lottery at a Sheetz store is holding a winning ticket worth over $3 million.

Lottery officials said a winning ticket from Sunday’s Match 6 Lotto drawing was sold at Sheetz on Ronda Court, just off Route 30 in North Huntingdon.

Source: $3.74 million winning lottery ticket sold at Sheetz in Westmoreland County

Man arrested after Ligonier Township police chase | TribLIVE.com

Ligonier Valley police say a 27-year-old man who resisted arrest and led officers on a 3 mile chase in a stolen car along Route 30 was arrested and jailed on $200,000 bond.

Jesse Vaughn Lawson of New Alexandria is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, driving on a suspended license, fleeing and eluding, receiving stolen property, reckless driving, resisting arrest and simple assault.

Source: Man arrested after Ligonier Township police chase | TribLIVE.com

Detectives arrest Hempfield man after seizing heroin, Xanax, firearms, $11K from home | TribLIVE.com

Acting on tips, the Westmoreland County Drug Task Forced served a warrant at a Hempfield home this week and seized 61 bricks of heroin, Xanax pills, three handguns, a rifle, two Tasers and about $11,000, according to court documents.

After the search, county detectives charged the homeowner, Chad J. Gilbert, 51, with multiple counts of manufacture, delivery and possession of a controlled substance, possession of prohibited offensive weapons and drug paraphernalia.

He was ordered held in the county prison after failing to post $250,000 bond.

Source: Detectives arrest Hempfield man after seizing heroin, Xanax, firearms, $11K from home | TribLIVE.com

2 flown from Hempfield crash | TribLIVE.com

Two people were flown by medical helicopter Thursday morning to a hospital after a one-vehicle crash in Hempfield, according to a Westmoreland 911 dispatcher.

The crash was reported just before 11 a.m. on Route 130 in the area of Slate Run Road and West Point Drive. The vehicle went over an embankment, the dispatcher said. The helicopter landed at a West Point ballfield.

The road was closed for a time.

One person had to be rescued from the vehicle. A second person involved in the crash was able to get out of the vehicle on their own.

Source: 2 flown from Hempfield crash | TribLIVE.com

Protests continue in Westmoreland County over state’s mask mandate in schools

Protests continued at multiple school districts in Westmoreland County Wednesday as dozens of students and parents voiced their frustrations over the state’s mask mandate in schools.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 spoke with the Derry Area School District about how the district is handling frustrated families.

“I understand that frustration,” Derry Area Assistant Superintendent Greg Ferencak said. “We started off with a masks optional, but highly recommended and now we have to switch and there’s some confusion.”

Ferencak said the district’s original health and safety plan called for a change in policy in the event of a state or federal mandate. A small group of students and parents protested the decision to mandate masks in Derry each of the last two days.

“We are trying to let the voices of the students be heard and trying to be reasonable with them,” Ferencak said.

Ferencak said a failure to comply with the mandate could come with consequences for the district, including a loss of funding.

“We could be held liable for not following them through various complaints, willful neglect of duty, you name it,” Ferencak said.

Source: Protests continue in Westmoreland County over state’s mask mandate in schools

Family Sues Greensburg YMCA After 80-Year-Old Man Dies In Sauna – CBS Pittsburgh

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — A local family is suing a Westmoreland County YMCA after their loved one died in the sauna.

The filing claims 80-year-old David Robinson had no way of getting out of the building’s sauna and spent hours in 100-plus degree heat.

According to Robinson’s family, the man went to the Greensburg YMCA on March 14, 2020, to work out.“

Mr. Robinson went to the Greensburg YMCA to use the swimming pool and in turn, go into the sauna,” said Robert N. Pierce, the victim’s attorney.

However, the man would never make it out of the YMCA alive.“

What we know is that he went into the sauna on the evening of March 14 and was unable to leave,” Pierce said.

The lawsuit claims, amongst other things, that the sauna at the YMCA did not have a functioning way to open the door to get out.“

We believe no one found Mr. Robinson because no one checked the locker room and sauna before they shut down and locked up the Greensburg YMCA,” Piece said.“

The sauna ran from 4:30 in the morning until 1030 at night at a temperature of around 112 degrees,” the attorney representing the family added.

The Westmoreland County coroner listed Robinson’s death as a result of natural causes. And because of that, no autopsy was performed.

George Stewart, attorney for the Greensburg YMCA, declined an on-camera interview but released the following statement.“

The complaint is full of inaccuracies and the most egregious is that the sauna door could not be opened from the inside. The YMCA is not in any way responsible for the gentleman’s passing.”

Source: Family Sues Greensburg YMCA After 80-Year-Old Man Dies In Sauna – CBS Pittsburgh

Struggle ensues after man tries to steal vehicle from Hempfield Township Sheetz

 

State police said a 19-year-old victim was able to stop a man from stealing his car outside of a Sheetz on Lincoln Highway in Hempfield Township.

The incident happened a little before 4 a.m. Saturday.

Police said the victim confronted Burton and Burton tried to steal the keys from his pocket.

Police said a physical struggle ensued and the victim was able to maintain control of the keys and throw Burton to the ground.

State police said Burton ran off but was later arrested.

Online court dockets show Burton is facing several charges and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Source: Struggle ensues after man tries to steal vehicle from Hempfield Township Sheetz

Guns drawn during dispute over parking spot in Westmoreland County

State police said two men got into a verbal altercation over the parking spot and the altercation escalated to the point where both men displayed handguns.

No one was hurt.

Police said both men were separated at the scene.

The incident happened a little before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on the 800 block of Georges Station Road in Hempfield Township.

Source: Guns drawn during dispute over parking spot in Westmoreland County

Westmoreland County tractor-trailer rollover sends one person to the hospital

Crash happened early Wednesday morning.

A rollover crash of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 in Westmoreland County sent one person to the hospital.

The crash happened in the eastbound lanes near the Hunker/New Stanton area a little after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Source: Westmoreland County tractor-trailer rollover sends one person to the hospital

High-speed police chase crosses several communities in Westmoreland and Allegheny County

A police chase that went through several communities on Monday ended with an arrest.

The high-speed pursuit began Monday afternoon when the suspect was stopped by police in New Kensington for traffic violations and then took off.

The police went through New Kensington, Arnold, Springdale and Cheswick, crossing from Westmoreland to Allegheny County.

After being arrested, the suspect was taken to the New Kensington police.

No injuries were reported during the pursuit.

Police have not released the suspect’s name.

Source: High-speed police chase crosses several communities in Westmoreland and Allegheny County

Demolition begins in downtown Greensburg | TribLIVE.com

With the push and pull of a 25-foot claw attached to heavy equipment stationed on South Pennsylvania Avenue in Greensburg, workers started the laborious task of bringing down a dilapidated former restaurant building Sunday morning. The three-story building that once housed the former Derby’s Delicatessen but has been vacant for a decade.

Source: Demolition begins in downtown Greensburg | TribLIVE.com

Man killed in Westmoreland County after motorcycle veers off road and hits fence – WPXI

HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Westmoreland County Coroner, Kenneth A. Bacha, has released the following information on a motorcycle fatality that occurred in Hempfield Township.

Tanner B. Van Woundenberg was driving a 2008 Yamaha motorcycle while traveling north on Mount Pleasant Road.

According to a release, Woundenberg missed a curve in the road, hit a fence, and landed in a driveway.

Deputy Coroner John A. Ackerman pronounced Woundenberg dead at the scene.

Woudenberg was not wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.

Toxicology results will not be available for several weeks.

Pennsylvania State Police Greensburg Barracks also investigated.

Source: Man killed in Westmoreland County after motorcycle veers off road and hits fence – WPXI

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Westmoreland County man charged after breaking into home, sleeping on couch – WPXI

LOWER BURRELL, Pa. — A Lower Burrell man is facing charges after police said he illegally entered a home and fell asleep on the couch before stealing a pair of shoes.

Nicholas Sabo, 19, was charged with felony criminal trespass, misdemeanor loitering and prowling and summary public drunkenness after the incident around 3 a.m. Aug. 29 in the 100 block of Alder Street, Lower Burrell.

Police said the resident woke up to get ready for work and found Sabo sleeping on his couch. The resident said he did not know who the man was and called police, before the man woke up, went outside to the resident’s vehicle and sat in the passenger seat.

According to the criminal complaint, Sabo would not get out of the vehicle and police had to go in and get him out. He was found to be highly intoxicated and told police he was looking for his friend’s house.

The complaint added that the door to the home and the vehicle were both unlocked, and the front of the home is surrounded by a fence and has an entry gate.

He was arrested and taken to the New Kensington police station lockup, where it was found he was wearing a pair of tennis shoes that had been taken from the home.

Unsecured bail was set at $75,000, and Sabo was released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5.

Source: Westmoreland County man charged after breaking into home, sleeping on couch – WPXI

Hempfield man accused in wrong-way DUI crash on Route 30 | TribLIVE.com

A Hempfield man is accused by police of being intoxicated during a 2019 wrong-way crash on Route 30 that seriously injured another motorist, according to court papers.

Larry Thomas Miller Sr., 74, is charged with aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence and several other related misdemeanors and summary offenses.

State police said they were called at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 14, 2019 to a head-on crash on Route 30 eastbound near the Cedar Street exit in Hempfield. Miller was driving west in the eastbound lanes and collided with another vehicle around a bend, according to court papers.

The female driver of the eastbound vehicle saw headlights coming toward her but didn’t have time to react, police said. She was hospitalized with a fractured neck vertebrae.

Police said Miller appeared to be intoxicated at the scene and told authorities that he had a few beers at a local bar before heading home. He was taken by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of what authorities described as extensive injuries.

Troopers said Miller’s blood-alcohol content was 0.156%. The legal limit to drive in Pennsylvania is 0.08%. Miller also had opiates and prescription medication used to treat anxiety in his system, according to court papers. Police said they found about 3 grams of suspected cocaine in Miller’s pocket.

Source: Hempfield man accused in wrong-way DUI crash on Route 30 | TribLIVE.com

200 vendors set for Labor Day arts, crafts show at Westmoreland Fairgrounds | TribLIVE.com

Labor Day often marks the time to change home decor from summer to fall. Shoppers will find a large array of seasonal and holiday decorating items this weekend at the 28th annual Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts Labor Day Festival at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds. About 200 vendors will fill five buildings

Shoppers will find a large array of seasonal and holiday decorating items this weekend at the 28th annual Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts Labor Day Festival at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds.

About 200 vendors will fill five buildings and line walkways during the four-day event. Hours will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Monday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

“This is a nice opportunity to get out and do some shopping,” said Trisha Cusick, assistant to promoter Dave Stoner, owner of Family Festivals Association Inc. “You can go online and get anything from all over the world delivered to you in 48 hours, but here you can pick something up and turn it around and see what it really looks like.

Source: 200 vendors set for Labor Day arts, crafts show at Westmoreland Fairgrounds | TribLIVE.com

Westmoreland County 3-year-old taken to hospital after accident while parents were cutting grass

A Westmoreland County 3-year-old was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital after an accident while his parents were cutting grass on Thursday.

Lower Burrell police told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 this was a freak accident involving a tractor that happened along Westbrook Road.

According to Lower Burrell police, the boy walked up behind the tractor and the person who was driving didn’t see him.

Police said the boy had injuries to his leg but is in stable condition.

Lower Burrell police said they do not expect any charges to be filed.

Source: Westmoreland County 3-year-old taken to hospital after accident while parents were cutting grass

Hempfield retiree helps fend off attack on sheriff’s deputy in emergency room | TribLIVE.com

Joseph Twigger said he didn’t think twice in the emergency room at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg this week when he saw a county jail inmate trying to grab a sheriff deputy’s gun.

Source: Hempfield retiree helps fend off attack on sheriff’s deputy in emergency room | TribLIVE.com

Flash Flood Watch

Flash Flood WatchWestern PennsylvaniaAlert summary.

..FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY
EVENING…
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh has issued a

* Flash Flood Watch for Portions …More

Expires in 1 day.

4 hours ago • 

Fred Brings Impacts Inland

As Fred moves inland, impacts will spread from Georgia into the southern Appalachians today through tonight. A high risk of flash flooding is in place through tonight as very heavy rainfall may lead to widespread flash flooding and landslides. A few tornadoes may occur today from parts of northeastern Georgia into the western Carolinas and southwestern Virginia. Read More >

Source: National Weather Service

Well-known bakery in Latrobe badly damaged by fire

A well-known bakery in Latrobe was badly damaged when flames ripped through the building Thursday night.

The fire started at Dainty Pastry Shoppe on Depot Street around 9:45 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of the back of the building.

The bakery has been in Latrobe and run by the same family for 75 years.

Source: Well-known bakery in Latrobe badly damaged by fire

Westmoreland County woman accused of embezzling $340K from credit union, setting fire as cover up

A Westmoreland County woman has been indicted on charges that she embezzled $340,000 from Valley 1st Community Credit Union, where she worked as a branch manager, and later setting a fire in the credit union’s safe to try to cover up the theft.

Patty Lynn Mavrakis, 63, faces charges of embezzlement from a federal credit union, wire fraud and use of fire to commit a federal felony.

Prosecutors said Mavrakis embezzled the money in September 2016 and later set the fire, after which she allegedly claimed the fire destroyed the missing currency.

She also allegedly made an insurance claim on behalf of the credit union for the missing currency.

If convicted, Mavrakis could face a maximum total sentence of 60 years in prison, a fine of $1.5 million or both.

Source: Westmoreland County woman accused of embezzling $340K from credit union, setting fire as cover up

Kiski Township police say they found $3,750 worth of illegal drugs hidden in car

Kiski Township police say they found 50 packets of heroin and an ounce of methamphetamine hidden in a car that they pulled over for a traffic violation.

Police on Wednesday charged James D. Higgins, 41, of Apollo and Autumn Rogers, 21, of Leechburg with possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, conspiracy to attempt to commit delivery of controlled substances and other charges.

Police stopped Higgins and Rogers on Tuesday along Route 56 in Kiski Township for a traffic violation.

When police identified Higgins, they arrested him because he was wanted in Allegheny County on charges of possession with intent to deliver drug.

Source: Kiski Township police say they found $3,750 worth of illegal drugs hidden in car