Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Man Charged for Pottsville Burglaries

A man was charged for burglaries in Pottsville Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday May 2, 2017 at around 8:20am Pottsville Police officers were dispatched to the area of 300 S Centre St. for a reported burglary in progress. Additional information received while officers were responding indicated that a male suspect was observed throwing items out of a window of the victim’s house.

According to Pottsville Police Chief Richard Wojciechowsky, upon police arrival on scene, officers learned from witnesses that a white male suspect wearing a dark shirt had been inside 317 S Centre Street at a time when the owner was not present.

Additional information indicated the suspect had fled the area on foot and was last seen running west in the rear/side yard towards South Second St.

Sgt. Mark O'Toole observed a male wearing a dark in color T-shirt and carrying two black bags walking west in the 200 Block of W. Union Street at the time he had been responding to the initial call. He relayed this information to other officers and Capt. Steven Guers, located a male with two black bags, later identified as Travis Martin Welfel, 24, no known address - in the 500 Block of Schuylkill Ave.

Welfel was detained while the investigation continued and he was positively identified by witnesses as the suspect who had broken into 317 S. Centre Street and had broken a window in the residence on this date before fleeing the area.

During an interview at Pottsville City Hall, Welfel indicated that he had been illegally staying inside 317 S Centre St. for approximately one month because he was homeless. Welfel also admitted to breaking a 4’x4’ glass window on the east side of the residence.

During a search, the arresting officers seized a .40 cal Smith and Wesson M&P pistol. A subsequent records check showed Welfel does not possess a firearms license nor does he own the gun recovered.

A criminal complaint was prepared by Patrolman Joseph Murton charging Welfel with Felony Criminal trespass, Felony Firearms not to be carried without a license, and Misdemeanor Criminal Mischief. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge James Reiley and remanded to the Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bail.

In addition, information received during this investigation identified Werfel as a suspect in two separate prior criminal mischief incidents. The first occurred on 04/22/17 at 501 S. Centre Street and involved a suspect using a .40 caliber firearm in an attempt to gain access to a coin machine. The second occurred in the early morning hours of 05/02/17 in the unit block of Center Street involving windows being broken.

Both of these investigations are continuing and appropriate charges will be filed when warranted.

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