LARKSVILLE – An alert police officer is being credited with capturing two teenagers on bicycles who allegedly stole many items early Monday from about 50 cars in Swoyersville, Courtdale and Larksville.
Josh Kolinoski, 19, of Plymouth, and a 16-year-old boy were taken into custody after they were found hiding in the bin of a coal truck parked on Washington Avenue in Plymouth, said Larksville police officer Josh Evans.
Evans said he became suspicious after seeing the two teens, who were wearing ski masks, pedaling bicycles in the area of State Street and Washington Avenue at around 6 a.m. At that hour in the early morning they were wearing ski masks, so I turned around to follow them and they started pedaling really fast, Evans said.
The teens attempted to flee on the bikes, but lost control and crashed on a patch of ice near Vine Street, Evans said. They ran into the backyard at 287 Vine St., where they both ran across a frozen-over in-ground pool.
One went right across, but the other fell in knee-deep, Evans said. They then hopped a 6-foot wooden fence and ran down Washington Avenue.
Evans, with the assistance of Edwardsville police officer John Sosnoski and Plymouth officer Mike Thomas, began to search the area and noticed footprints in the snow leading to a coal truck on Washington Avenue. Officers found the teens lying inside the truck bed, they said.
Soon afterward, Evans received notice that Swoyersville police were getting reports of thefts from numerous unlocked cars, he said.
Kolinoski and the other teen were taken to police headquarters and admitted they had entered about 50 vehicles, according to authorities. The bicycles the teens were riding also were stolen, Evans said.
Larksville Police Chief John Edwards lauded the officers for their efforts. With vehicle break-ins it's very difficult to catch them red-handed, because normally they're on foot and dive into bushes whenever they see headlights, he said. It's a nice win for police.
Kolinoski was taken to the Luzerne County prison, where he is being held on a warrant for failing to appear in court for a previous theft case.
Evans said he is gathering information from victims and expects to file charges against Kolinoski by next week. The juvenile will be petitioned to juvenile court.
Anyone who believes they were a victim should contact their local police department, he said.