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Police Blotter


March 16. 2013 12:03AM
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AVOCA — Police arrested a Jenkins Township man in connection with the theft of copper pipe from a building in February.


Police received a report on March 8 that about 600 pounds of copper and brass valued at $1,400 was stolen from the basement of an apartment building in the 600 block of Main Street. Police learned that a neighbor observed Eric Burgerhoff, 22, loading the materials into the back of his pickup truck, police said.


Avoca police later contacted an area scrap yard and learned that Burgerhoff made numerous trips to the scrap yard and sold the copper and brass, police said.


Burgerhoff was located and arrested by Duryea police on Monday and charged by Avoca police with burglary, criminal trespass and theft by unlawful taking. He was arraigned by District Judge Diana Malast and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $5,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Wednesday before District Judge Andrew Barilla.


WILKES-BARRE — City police reported the following:


• While headed south on Wilkes-Barre Boulevard at about 12:04 p.m. Wednesday, Irene Ogrodnick, of Wilkes-Barre, was stopped at a red light in her 2009 Hyundai Sonata at East Northampton Street when she was stuck from behind twice by a red Ford Taurus that fled the scene, police said.


Ogrodnick was transported to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital by Wilkes-Barre Medic 5.


Police officer Richard Harding was directly behind the Taurus when the suspected hit-and-run driver pulled around Ogrodnick’s vehicle and left. After checking on Ogrodnick, Harding pursued the fleeing vehicle. The driver, identified as Robert D. Cleary Jr., 44, of Hanover Township, traveled south on South Pennsylvania Avenue, turned left onto East Ross Street and stopped, police said.


Cleary was taken into custody and charged with one felony count of aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence, two felony counts of accidents involving death or personal injury, one misdemeanor count of first-offense DUI, and summary counts of reckless driving, driving without a license, failure to notify police of an accident involving injury or death and failure to stop and give information/render aid.


Cleary was arraigned before District Judge Martin Kane and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional facility for lack of $100,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.


Passengers in the car with Cleary were Allen James Novitsky, Daniel Williams and Timothy L. Wunderlich.


• Police on Friday arrested a man wanted on warrants from city police and the Luzerne County sheriff’s departments.


Police encountered Frankie Billups in the 700 block of North Franklin Street at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Billups fled toward North Main Street, they said. Police encountered him again in the area of North Main and West Chestnut streets, ordered him to stop, and he continued running, police said.


Police followed in a foot pursuit, and Billups eventually stopped in the area of East Chestnut and Sycamore streets, facing the officer “in an aggressive stance with his hand concealed behind his shirt,” police said. The officer deployed his Taser and Billups dropped to the ground.


Billups, 33, was arrested and charged with escape, resisting arrest, flight to avoid apprehension and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned before District Judge Martin Kane and jailed at Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $10,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday before Kane.


• Bill Lipfert, property manager for 291 New Hancock St., reported on Monday that someone stole about 200 feet of copper pipe from the basement, causing the basement to flood.


• A woman reported that someone stole change from her Nissan while it was parked in front of 234 N. Pennsylvania Ave. between 4 p.m. Tuesday and 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.


• Police took into custody a man they found sleeping on chairs at the Intermodal Transportation Center at about 11:32 a.m. Thursday and cited him with public drunkenness. Police did not provide the man’s full name.


• The proprietor of a store at 41 S. Main St. reported that a group of male teens entered the store at about 6 p.m. Wednesday and milled about. After she told them to leave, she noticed that her Samsung Galaxy S3 cellphone was missing from the area near the cash register where she had left it.


• Someone reportedly entered a vehicle parked at 349 N. Pennsylvania Ave. sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and removed items.




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