Peters police charge two in equipment theft
Peters Township police arrested two men early Friday after an officer noticed a pickup truck pulling a trailer with a piece of construction equipment on it from the area of a housing plan under development.Richard Berry Neill, 29, of 179 Linden Road, North Strabane Township, and John I. Ivashchenko, 21, of 391 Bower Hill Road, Venetia, were charged with theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and criminal conspiracy. Neill also is charged with driving with a suspended license.Officer Frank Marko was on patrol about 12:45 a.m. on Lelak Lane when he saw the truck hauling the trailer and Bobcat skid loader turn onto the street from Ironwood Court. Three houses are currently under construction on Ironwood, police noted in the affidavit. The officer also indicated that township police have taken multiple burglary and theft reports from construction sites over the last several months in which tools, equipment, appliances and a trailer were stolen.The officer stopped the vehicle in the 600 block of Bower Hill Road. The officer said Neill’s hands were shaking when he handed over his driver’s license and vehicle information. Ivashchenko allegedly told the officer they had been asked to move the equipment to another construction site so it could be checked by a mechanic in the morning, but he was unable to give the officer the name of the person who requested the move.After Ivashchenko was asked for the trailer’s registration, the 21-year-old allegedly admitted to stealing the trailer and equipment. Police said he told the officer the trailer was stolen from a South Fayette construction site, and the equipment from a Peters construction site.Police said the two right wheels on the skid loader were damaged when the suspects were loading it onto the trailer.Both were arraigned before District Judge Gary Havelka. They were released from Washington County Jail after posting $10,000 bonds later Friday.