After 10 vehicles were recently broken into on Race Street in Connellsville, including a vehicle owned by the city’s controller, Bruce Witt, the recent rash of criminal activity was the object of discussion at city council’s meeting last week.
Witt said his vehicle and many others were unlocked and items taken from them. Witt called 911, which Mayor Greg Lincoln said is the proper thing to do rather than going on Facebook and bash the city.
Lincoln said he was disheartened by residents who took to social media instead of calling the proper authorities. According to Lincoln, the police can’t do anything about it if you don’t call 911.
“It’s a joke,” said Lincoln. “It’s a real slap in the face.”
Meanwhile, because of those who did call the police, Chief Bill Hammerle, said he believes they have the individuals in custody responsible for the vehicle thefts.
Hammerle encouraged anyone who lost items in the recent rash of thefts from vehicles contact the police because they have a bunch of items down at the police department that needs identified.
In addition to these most recent thefts, Hammerle said there have been incidents all over the city, including break-ins, shots fired at two houses and other criminal activity. However, Hammerle didn’t think it was one individual or group committing all of the crimes.
“I think we have several different people that are doing these things,” said Hammerle at the council meeting.
Hammerle added that it is not just Connellsville dealing with these kinds of problems. The city’s neighboring communities of South Connellsville, Connellsville Township, Bullskin Township and Dunbar are also seeing the same.
“The drug problem is creating all of this,” said Hammerle, who said they are just looking to steal something they can sell to get their next fix.
Lincoln asked if the city needs to institute some sort of adult curfew to combat the criminal activity, but Hammerle said a “martial law” type of reaction isn’t the right solution.
“This is very frustrating what’s going on right now,” said Lincoln.
Hammerle had a suggestion that residents who feel distressed over the up-tick of crime. It’s become one of the police’s best weapons against crime – and that’s video surveillance systems, including the new doorbell systems with video capabilities.
“We’ve solved many crimes thanks to video,” said Hammerle.
Earlier this week, Hammerle said they located a vehicle they have been looking for and after a short pursuit and crash, the police seized a large amount of cash and drugs from the v