Rash of Break-ins and Scrap Thefts

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MOOSIC -- Police in Lackawanna County are stepping up patrols in one part of Moosic after a series of scrap thefts and burglaries at stores on Montage Mountain.

Moosic police said this part of the borough is especially vulnerable, and that was made clear earlier this week when police said burglars broke into three businesses in a plaza and took cash and all of the security equipment with them.

The owner of the Cold Stone Creamery on Montage Mountain said she showed up at the store Wednesday morning to find the safe empty and all of the security cameras either damaged or gone.

The same thing happened to both her neighbors, Subway, and Montage Mini-Mart. Police said cash was stolen, and the burglars didn't leave a trace. They took all the security footage with them.

“I'd say they knew what they were doing, the phone lines were cut, and no alarms went off. They had all the time in the world to be in those buildings,” said Chief Charles Maurer of Moosic Police.

Police said the first thing the burglars did was cut the phone lines to the entire shopping plaza which disabled the burglar alarms. Then, they broke into each store and cut wires to the security cameras. Moosic Police Chief Charles Maurer hasn't tallied how much cash was stolen, but this incident prompted him to step up patrols on Montage Mountain.

Last week, Moosic Police arrested a man for stealing scrap metal from PNC field, also on Montage Mountain. While the stadium is under construction, police said it's vulnerable to such thefts. The Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola promises tough penalties for scrap thieves.

He said people caught stealing from PNC field will face jail time.

“It is a bigger problem because of the location and it's kind of out of the way. There's a lot of means of access to get to PNC field, and they are stealing the scrap metal, the copper piping that's being taken out, and basically they are stealing from the county,” said Jarbola.

When it comes to the burglaries at the shopping plaza, police said the crooks will be tough to track down, but Moosic Police are working with two other departments in Lackawanna County that have had similar burglaries.