WILKES-BARRE – Authorities charged two men with risking a catastrophe and vandalism, after the duo attempted to steal a natural gas main in Luzerne County.
According to court documents, Gary Demski and Keith Fischer were arrested Monday afternoon, after they were seen trying to use a metal pipe to pry a natural gas main off of the side of the Wilkes-Barre Public Works Facility on Conyngham Avenue.
Peter Bielecki told Newswatch 16 that the duo tried selling other metal at Bielecki Scrap and Recycling Center across the street, when they were questioned by Wilkes-Barre police.
"It was only a short piece of iron pipe with a brass fitting. So they would have probably have gotten maybe a dollar and a half, two dollars for the whole piece,” said Bielecki. “They showed us IDs, but the police took them before we could pay them. We held their money until they came back in the morning, and got their money. The police said I could release that copper.”
Peter’s granddaughter Justine told Newswatch 16 that she is relieved that the men were unable to rip the gas main off the side of the building.
“Wow, it just blew my mind that people were that desperate to get something like that,” said Justine Bielecki. “It could have blown the whole block up."
Court documents said Demski and Fischer were released without posting bail.