WILKES-BARRE — A former employee at the Anthracite Cafe charged with ransacking the bar and restaurant three times in May waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Luzerne County Central Court on Friday.
Under a deal with prosecutors, James Delaney, 32, of Mill Street, Wilkes-Barre, will now face trial on charges of burglary and criminal trespass.
Prosecutors in turn withdrew two other burglary and criminal trespass counts, plus three counts of theft.
Delaney’s bail was also modified from $35,000 straight to unsecured, which permits his release from the county lockup.
Wilkes-Barre police arrested him May 30 after investigating three burglaries at the cafe on Scott Street within 10 days. Police initially focused on another man during the investigation.
Delaney resides about 150 yards from the bar.
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 break-in.
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.
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 stolen from two cash registers.
When Delaney was arrested, he told investigators he used a flashlight, a screwdriver and gloves during the burglaries, and discarded a pair of sneakers he wore in a creek behind his house.
Delaney claimed he used cash he stole “to fuel his drug addiction.”
He is now slated to appear before county Judge David W. Lupas on Aug. 24.