WARREN, Pa. - Pennsylvania State Police have broken up a burglary ring in eastern McKean County that spread tendrils into Warren County.
Over the past year, Kane-based state police have investigated a number of burglaries and thefts of ATVs, chainsaws, and dirt bikes.
In February, police made several arrests in the case.
According to police, Garrett J. Hoy, 20, of Smethport, would contact sellers on pennswoods.net via text message. Hoy would allegedly pose as an interested buyer and determine a time when the victim would not be home. He then allegedly went to sellers' homes and stole the items.
Hoy, the ring-leader of the operation according to police, faces numerous charges related to three different incidents. Hoy is charged with theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property, in one case; theft by deception, and two counts of receiving stolen property in another; and burglary, theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy burglary, conspiracy theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy receiving stolen property, receiving stolen property, criminal trespass, and criminal use of a communications facility related to a third.
All three of the incidents were in the last three months of 2013.
A number of other suspects were charged in relation to the burglaries and thefts.
Trevor A. Elder, 20, of Smethport, faces eight charges: conspiracy theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy theft by deception, criminal conspiracy, theft by deception, and four counts of receiving stolen property.
Adam D. Bachman, 29, of Smethport, faces conspiracy robbery and conspiracy theft by unlawful taking charges.
Cameron D. Causer, 19, of Crosby, faces nine charges: conspiracy burglary, burglary, two counts of theft by unlawful taking, three counts of receiving stolen property, theft by deception, and criminal use of a communication facility.
Mark D. Schneider, 19, of Port Allegany, faces eight charges: conspiracy theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy theft by deception, criminal conspiracy, theft by deception, and four counts of receiving stolen property.
Police forwarded photos of the five suspects above and two other men - Nathan K. Hoy, 24, of Smethport (Garrett Hoy's brother) and Austin J. Tankersley, 20, of East Smethport, who have not been charged in the case.
Police also released a photo of a vehicle - a blue Ford pick-up truck with the word 'Stroking' across the top of the windshield - allegedly used in the commission of the crimes.
"If anyone has bought items from any of these men, the possibility exists that those items are stolen," Trooper Mary Gausman said. "PSP Kane Station is trying to contact as many victims as possible and is attempting to recover any stolen items."
Those who have conducted business with any of the men are asked to contact Gausman at 814-778-5555. Police will not charge those who did not know the items were stolen, Gausman said.
Although most of the thefts and illegal sales were made in McKean County, a dirt bike was recovered in late March from a victim on Follett Run, Conewango Township. The bike was stolen on Dec. 28, 2013, in McKean County and traded to the victim, who did not realize it was stolen property, for a 2008 or 2009 85cc KTM dirt bike, according to Gausman.
She said the crimes spread as the suspects used pennswoods.net to identify buyers and sellers in the region.
Anyone with information about the KTM bike, or other items bought from, sold to, or traded with, the suspects is asked to contact Gausman.