Brockway Man Allegedly Burglarizes Home, Steals ‘Puppy Fund’

BROCKWAY, Pa. (EYT) – A Brockway man is facing burglary and other charges after he allegedly stole money from a Brockway couple who were trying to save money to buy a dog.

According to court documents, on February 12, 2018, the Brockway Borough Police Department filed the following criminal charges against 27-year-old Brandon Charles Smith, of Brockway:

– Burglary – Overnight Accommodation, No Person Present, Felony 1 (two counts)
– Theft By Unlawful Taking-Movable Property, Misdemeanor 1 (four counts)
– Receiving Stolen Property, Misdemeanor 1 (four counts)

According to the criminal complaint, Brockway Police Chief Terry Young made contact with the victim (a Brockway man) after the victim called the borough office on April 26, 2016.

The victim told Chief Young that someone entered his bedroom at his Chittester Way residence and took more than $800.00 in cash from his “pup fund” box. The victim and his girlfriend were using the box to save money to buy a dog. The victim wasn’t sure when the money was taken, but he wanted the box fingerprinted. Chief Young said he would see if that could be done, and he met the victim later that day to get the box.

According to the complaint, on April 25, 2016, the victim went to put money into the “pup fund” box and found there was no money in it. He contacted his girlfriend about it, but she said she hadn’t touched the box since putting money in it on April 1.

The victim said his girlfriend keeps a diary of the money being put in the box, and she knows the approximate amount in it and who last put money in it.

The victim also implied there wasn’t anything else missing besides five to six Ziplock baggies full of loose change that was taken from his roommate’s bedroom, which was thought to be over $500.00.

The victim said he had thousands of dollars worth of rifles, shotguns, and pistols in another room, and he didn’t think any of them had been taken, but after checking, he said he couldn’t find a Beretta 9mm pistol, the complaint states.

Chief Young told the victim that he needed the serial number, make and model of the handgun to enter into NCIC, according to the complaint.

On May 1, 2016, the victim came to the police station with a 22.8-ounce orange plastic cup in a baggie. The cup was in his roommate’s bedroom where there was loose change missing, and it happened the same time as his money was taken from his bedroom.

On May 9, 2016, Chief Young took the plastic cup and the “pup fund” box to the state police barracks in Punxsutawney to see if any latent fingerprints could be found.

On May 17, 2016, Trooper Horner lifted two different prints.

On July 29, 2016, Chief Young mailed the two lifted prints and prints from the three people who resided in the Chittester Way residence to the state police Erie Crime Lab.

On March 16, 2017, the lab reported one print belonged the victim and the other to a man known as Brandon Charles Bell. After Chief Young performed a computer search, he learned that Bell had been arrested by Sandy Township Police in December 2015. It was determined that Bell was an alias used by Brandon Charles Smith.

Chief Young then interviewed the victim, his girlfriend, and the victim’s roommate about whether they had invited Smith into their apartment or seen him there. The victim’s girlfriend said the only time she remembered Brandon and the victim being together was at a wedding when they sat at the same table.

On July 20, 2017, Chief Young went to the Jefferson County Jail to talk to Smith. Smith agreed to talk to Chief Young without an attorney. According to court documents, Smith was serving time after pleading guilty to burglary related to an October 20, 2016 incident. Smith received six months to one year, 11 months and 29 days. He was later paroled in December 2017.

When Chief Young inquired about the missing gun, Smith said he was tired of getting accused of stealing. When asked if he had been in the victim’s apartment, he said he had been, but only a couple times but has never stayed overnight. Smith said he and the victim had gone to Ohio to look at some Jeeps.

When Chief Young asked Smith if ever had a pistol, he said he had a Smith and Wesson .45 caliber but had sold it. He also said he had a semi-automatic rifle.

When Chief Young asked Smith about his fingerprints in the two bedrooms, he said he had never been in either room “besides the night when he took the rifle,” according to the complaint.

Smith said he will be talking to his attorney because he didn’t want more charges for something he didn’t do, the complaint states.

Smith is awaiting a preliminary hearing.

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