Police Arrest Four After Car Theft Attempt
A hunter turned his sights Tuesday from deer to would-be SUV thieves, one of whom fired two shots at him, police said.
James Matichak never fired a shot himself, but helped police hunt down the four people who tried to tow away his SUV.
State police charged Christopher J. Higby, 27, of Valley View Estates, Archbald, as the gunman. His accomplices, Paul S. Baldwin III, 25; Rebecca M. Newhall, 19, both of 253 Welles St., Meshoppen; and Angelo V. Terranova, 45, of 7 Valley View Estates, Archbald, were also charged.
All four face counts of attempt theft and conspiracy to steal Matichak’s SUV, a Ford Explorer. Police also charged Higby with aggravated assault and four counts of recklessly endangering another person. They charged Baldwin, the getaway car driver, with three counts of recklessly endangering another person and driving without a license.
The culprits targeted the SUV on Matichak’s property at Stillmeadow and Watts roads in Greenfield Twp. As Matichak hunted, his father called him to report a silver Audi on his property. About half an hour later, Matichak heard his Ford Explorer start. He jumped into his Jeep and drove to the Explorer, which was attached to the Audi with a chain and yellow strap, according to an arrest affidavit.
Higby told him someone named “John” said they could take the SUV.
Matichak said the vehicle was his. Higby and the others got into the Audi and began to drive away. Matichak tried to block their path, but they got around him. Matichak followed in his Jeep.
He spotted Higby hanging out a rear passenger window “with a green laser pointed” at him, according to the affidavit.
Fearing it was a gun, Matichak slowed down. After the Audi turned on state Route 107, Matichak speeded up to get close enough to obtain the Audi’s license plate number and called it in to 911.
The car belongs to Newhall. Police eventually tracked it to Valley View Estates where they found Higby, who admitted firing two shots at the ground as a warning, Trooper Bernard O’Malley wrote in the affidavit.
Baldwin, Newhall and Terranova also told police they heard the shots.
Magisterial District Judge Paul Keeler set bail for Higby at $335,000, $95,000 for Baldwin, and $30,000 each for Terranova and Newhall, all cash. Unable to post bail, they were all jailed in the Lackawanna County Prison. Keeler scheduled their preliminary hearings for Dec. 5.
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