Crook Swipes Cans From Fire Company

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SALEM TOWNSHIP -- A crook was caught on camera in Luzerne County stealing aluminum cans donated to a volunteer fire company.

Police suspect he may also be responsible for another crime.

Police believe he not only stole from the Salem Township Volunteer Fire Company but that he also vandalized church property down the street before trying to cash in on those cans.

While members of the Salem Township Volunteer Fire Company near Berwick have been busy responding to emergency calls, their surveillance cameras captured a not-so-smooth crook jumping the fence and stealing garbage bags filled with aluminum cans that had been donated to the department.

luz theft

Chris Kelchner, a volunteer firefighter, says the daytime crime recorded on Labor Day is bizarre.

"Community is nice enough to give them back and to help our department. It is a little bit frustrating when someone does try and take advantage of that."

Firefighters say surveillance was added because of similar problems in the past. Now the surveillance cameras and the warning signs are all in plain view.

"There aren't the brightest people you're talking to."

Salem Township Police Chief Robert Kishbaugh says the same guy was seen crunching cans the next day a couple blocks away at the Berwick Assembly of God Church.

Officers found vandalism spray-painted on the back of the church's shed.

luz graffiti

Kishbaugh says they're preparing to file charges against the suspect who had some trouble landing on two feet.

"(He) headed towards a local place to cash in the cans, so we picked him up at that point, brought him in and interrogated him," Chief Kishbaugh said.

Salem township volunteer firefighters say they use the money from those donated cans for building maintenance and community events, including the fall festival next month.

Police say the charges will likely be misdemeanors.


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