Area Man Faces Charges for Theft ATVs

JOHNSONBURG BOROUGH, Pa. (EYT) – An area man is facing felony charges related to two burglaries involving the theft of several ATVs and other items.

Court documents indicate the Johnsonburg Borough Police Department filed criminal charges against 31-year-old Michael Edward Cherry, of Saint Marys.

According to a criminal complaint, on March 24, two known victims reported a yellow 2004 Polaris Sportsman 600 with a yellow four-foot Moose plow and a winch, an ATV utility trailer, and a five-gallon gas can, valued at a total of $7,500.00, were stolen from their unlocked garage, located across the street from their residence on 3rd Avenue in Johnsonburg.

According to the complaint, at the scene police found fresh ATV tire marks and an L&M cigarette butt on tire tire marks that was believed to have been left by a suspect. Police also found multiple footprints suggesting more than one suspect was involved. Inside the garage, police found a rubber “Spring Haul for Paul 5/19/2018” bracelet near the rear door.

The complaint notes family members of the victim later told police Michael Edward Cherry wore a bracelet like the one found.

According to the complaint, while there was a collectible car parked in the garage with the keys in the ignition that was untouched, the victim reported the key to the ATV was kept on a shelf, hidden behind various Christmas decorations, and only family members, like Cherry, knew the location of the key.

While police were processing the scene, a neighbor came to report the garage next to the victim’s was also burglarized, and a red three-wheeler was taken.

According to the complaint, at the second garage, police found a window ajar with fresh pry marks on the wooden frame and two distinct fingerprints on the glass, which was preserved for analysis. Several footprints, which resembled the prints from the first scene, were also found on the concrete floor.

The complaint notes while the first scene was left in a neat condition, with containers and totes that did not appear to have been tampered with, the second scene had cabinets and totes that were opened, with the contents thrown around. The following items were identified as stolen from the second scene:

  • Red 1981 Honda 185s three-wheeler
  • Red 1986 Honda TRX350 ATV
  • Husqvarna 288xp/xp lite chainsaw
  • Husqvarna 262xp chainsaw
  • Black dolly cart
  • Husqvarna self-propelled lawnmower (with key in ignition)
  • Husqvarna push lawnmower
  • Five Husqvarna weed eaters
  • Yellow Cub Cadet push lawnmower with grass bagger
  • Five large totes with various Christmas decorations
  • Various hand tools
  • Two rolls of titanium weed eater line
  • Yellow five-gallon gas can

The total value of items stolen from the second scene was estimated at $4,595.00.

According to the complaint, the second victim and her daughter both accused Cherry of possibly being responsible for the theft and stated very few people knew the items that were stored in their garage, due to them living across town and seldom visiting the property. They also said Cherry approached them approximately two years ago and asked them to sell him the ATV and three-wheeler, and when they refused, he allegedly became upset. Police were involved at the time and advised Cherry to stop all contact with the victims, and they have not had contact since that time.

The complaint notes fresh tire tracks were found on the northside of the second garage. The tire tracks were from a truck, possibly with a trailer, as the three-wheeler and ATV reportedly both had flat tires and couldn’t have been driven from the scene.

According to the complaint, video surveillance was recovered from a nearby residence and showed a vehicle with a trailer backing in next to the second victim’s garage around 4:51 a.m. A witness who resides nearby also reported seeing a truck filled with “things” and pulling something, followed by a car, going past her residence around 4:30 a.m.

During further investigation, police allegedly found tire tracks from an ATV and a utility trailer resembling those at the first victim’s garage on a dirt road off of 5th Avenue just past Laurel Hill Cemetery. The tracks were found to come out on Glen Hazel Road heading toward Saint Marys, where Cherry resides.

The complaint notes video footage from a business located on West Mill Street in Saint Marys near Cherry’s residence showed that on the date of the burglaries, around 7:47 a.m., a white extended cab truck, possibly a Chevrolet Silverado, with a black trailer turned into Cherry’s driveway. The trailer contained a red ATV and a red three-wheeler, as well as various other items that appeared to be covered with a tarp. Several individuals then unloaded the items from the trailer into Cherry’s basement. A second video from a nearby club and another nearby business corroborated the first video.

A search warrant for Cherry’s residence was applied, granted, and served on April 10. According to the complaint, police found various three-wheelers, ATVs, and dirt bikes inside his garage, several of which were “torn apart.” However, none of the stolen items were recovered inside the residence, the complaint notes.

Cherry was also questioned. According to the complaint, he admitted to being involved both burglaries and said it was his idea to break into the second victim’s property, but it was “his friend’s” idea to break into the first victim’s garage.

Cherry allegedly told police two known men helped him break into the garages, load up the items, and transport them to his residence. He said they too the items to Glen Hazel Road and were then picked up by a third known man with a truck and trailer, and most of the items were loaded onto the trailer and taken into Cherry’s residence. He stated he stored several of the stolen items in his girlfriend’s garage.

Police then obtained written consent from a known woman, Cherry’s girlfriend, to search her garage for the stolen items. the complaint notes the following stolen items were then seized:

  • Husqvarna 257 chainsaw
  • Husqvarna LC121P lawnmower
  • Husqvarna 323C weed eater
  • Husqvarna 323L weed eater
  • Stihl FS55 weed eater
  • Large wooden toolbox containing various tools
  • Various tools such as work lights, torch head, hoses
  • Husqvarna lawnmower
  • 1986 Honda TRX350

According to the complaint, Cherry then led police to a wooded area off of State Route 120, where he believed the remaining stolen items were located. However, a search was unable to locate the items.

Cherry was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Mark S. Jacob at 6:40 p.m. on Friday, April 10, on the following charges:

  • Burglary – Not Adapted for Overnight Accommodation, No Person Present, Felony 2 (two counts)
  • Conspiracy – Burglary – Not Adapted for Overnight Accommodation, No Person Present, Felony 2 (two counts)
  • Criminal Trespass-Break Into Structure, Felony 2 (two counts)
  • Conspiracy – Criminal Trespass-Break Into Structure, Felony 2 (two counts)
  • Theft By Unlawful Taking-Movable Property, Felony 3
  • Conspiracy – Theft By Unlawful Taking-Movable Property, Felony 3
  • Receiving Stolen Property, Felony 3

He remains free on $25,000.00 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on May 13, with Judge Jacob presiding.

No charges have been filed against the other two individuals Cherry named in the burglaries as of Monday, April 13.

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