Area police assisted three PA State Police Barracks in cracking over 90 burglaries
in at least two counties. News of the breakthrough came on
Wednesday, June 5th in an official notice from Rice Township Police Chief Robert Franks, Jr. announcing that
charges have been brought “ against Christopher Lee Albertson, 33,
of Freeland PA, in reference to a
string of 7 burglaries that occurred between December 4, 2012 and May 30, 2013 in Rice Township and Nuangola
The report stated that Albertson was arrested on 25 separate counts by Rice Township Police, citing Officer Brian
Stout as “the lead investigator and arresting officer, ”and advising that
the arrest was accomplished through a cooperative effort with PSP from Hazleton and Shickshinny Barracks.
This reserved statement belies over
six months of investigation and
follow-up among three State Police Barracks and five municipal departments. The total of
participating police forces shows Rice, which also covers Nuangola, Fairview,
Wright, Butler, Sugarloaf Township Police, along with officers from
PSP Hazleton, Shickshinny and Wyoming Barracks.
At this time statistics for Dorrance and Hollenback are not available, but the
total of incidents and subsequent charges numbers a staggering 33 counts in Mountaintop alone.
The trail starts in Nuangola at the home of Milroy Roushey on Tuesday, December
4, 2012, when the resident arrived home to find his front door ajar,
and his basement window open. Having checked his belongings, he
found that approximately $350 in
jewelry was missing. This information and the forthcoming details are derived from docket sheets filed with Magisterial District Court Judges Ronald W. Swank of Mountaintop,
Daniel O’Donnell of Sugarloaf, and Michael G. Dotzel, of Wilkes-
On December 17, 2012, Elmer Stewart
of Rice Township was asleep
at home having worked anight shift when he was awakenedby banging on his front door. Thedefendant was apparently attemptingto verify if anyone was home. Hewas carrying a crowbar at the time. When confronted by the homeownerAlbertson brandished the tool, butthen fled.
On January 2, 2013, the homeof Donna Meyers of Slocum wasentered, according to the filing byCpl. Patrick Dougherty of PSPShickshinny. A total of $2,500 inmissing cash and jewelry were taken.
Donna Shifflett of Rice reportedher home had been burgled onJanuary 4, with $19,686 in currencyand jewels missing. The police foundfootprints and a discarded cigarettebutt at the scene.
Between February 7 and 10, theHischak home on Slocum Road wasentered and jewels and collectableswere stolen valued at $26,210.
On February 22, Aubrey Coulterreported that her home in Slocumhome had been burgled and $24,465in tools, jewels and cash were stolen.
That same date, the Gallaghers inNuangola discovered that their homehad been broken into and jewelryestimated at $2,675 was missing.
Six days later, on Feb. 28th the Ricepolice were again called regardinga break-in, this one at the home ofBernadette Murphy. A garage doorhad been pried open and cash andjewelry worth $15,056.83 was gone.
The pattern shifted west toConyngham Township where theMaga home was entered and $34,745in jewelry was stolen.
On March 13th Lynda Kozlowskiof Conyngham Township reportedthat jewelry worth $1,400 had beentaken.
The various affidavits submittedby police indicate that informationsharing was resulting in consistentreports of vehicle descriptions. AsOfficer Stout states, the numerousburglaries “appear to follow aparticular pattern…It also becameapparent that several surrounding
See Burglary page 4