Former employee charged with Anthracite Cafe burglaries in Wilkes-Barre

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]

WILKES-BARRE — A former employee at the Anthracite Cafe was arrested on charges he burglarized the eatery three times to get money to support a heroin addiction, according to court records.

City police detectives allege James Delaney, 32, of Mill Street, Wilkes-Barre, admitted to entering the cafe through the building’s air-duct system on three different nights within 10 days.

Delaney resides about 150 yards from the business on Scott Street.

According to a criminal complaint:

Police responded to a burglary at the cafe May 11, and learned the suspect entered through an air-conditioning duct. The duct was damaged during the burglary.

The cafe was burglarized again May 17 via the same method of entry. Cash was stolen during the second burglary.

The suspect used a chair to re-enter the air duct to leave the building.

A surveillance camera recorded a man crouching near bushes near the building at 1:22 a.m. May 17. The camera recorded the man walking away eight minutes later.

Police said the third burglary was reported just before 6:30 a.m. May 20 when an alarm was activated.

An employee told police a board that was placed to cover the air duct was removed and money was stolen from two cash registers.

Police on Wednesday served a search warrant at Delaney’s residence.

Delaney admitted to committing the three burglaries using a flashlight, a screwdriver and gloves and entering the building through the air duct. Delaney claimed he discarded sneakers in a creek behind his house.

He also admitted to using the money stolen from the cafe to buy heroin “to fuel his drug addiction.”

Delaney was arraigned by District Judge Brian Tupper in Kingston Township on three counts each of burglary, criminal trespass and theft. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $150,000 bail.

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]