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Snapchat video leads to Springdale burglary suspects, stolen guns

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 6:51 a.m.
Zakery Boreland
Allegheny County Police
Zakery Boreland
Cody Michael Christy
Allegheny County Police
Cody Michael Christy

A Snapchat message helped police find and arrest three teenagers who had allegedly taken two handguns from a Springdale house they burglarized late Monday.

Acting Springdale police Chief Derek Dayoub said the three, two adults and a juvenile, targeted the house in the 400 block of Lincoln Avenue.

They were arrested after their minivan was pulled over on Colfax Street. A third adult and five other juveniles were in the vehicle with them.

Allegheny County Police charged Cody Michael Christy, 19, and Zakery Boreland, 18, both of Tarentum. The third adult was not charged.

A 17-year-old girl, also from the Tarentum area, will be charged through juvenile court, county police said.

The girl and the other juveniles, three girls and two boys ranging in age from 14 to 16, were released to their parents pending further investigation, Dayoub said.

Dayoub said police were dispatched to the burglary about 11 p.m. The van was found and stopped about a half hour later.

According to Dayoub and court documents, a woman who lives at the Lincoln Avenue house came home from work to find her home ransacked. Two firearms, described as a black handgun and a silver revolver, were missing.

Neighbors who heard the commotion told police they saw people run from the house and jump into a sedan, and they found two of the homeowner's wallets lying next to their garbage cans.

At the scene, an officer was shown a Snapchat message from a 15-year-old girl. It contained a video of three females and a male inside a vehicle; the 17-year-old girl was driving the car, and a girl was brandishing a silver revolver in the back seat.

A neighbor said the same people who came from the burglarized home had stopped at hers, arriving in two vehicles, a sedan and a minivan. She gave police still images from her home's video surveillance system, and officers determined the people in the images matched those in the Snapchat video.

Using a Snapchat feature that allows users to track each other, police determined the 15-year-old girl's location in Tarentum and that she was moving toward Springdale. Police from multiple agencies stopped the minivan at Colfax and Pittsburgh streets.

Christy was driving the minivan, and Boreland was the front-seat passenger, police said. The third adult and six juveniles were in the back.

Although court documents say two guns found under the minivan's front seats matched the description of the handguns taken from the house, county police Lt. Richard Mullen said they were later found to be BB guns and not from the house.

The two handguns taken from the Springdale house were found in Tarentum. The 15-year-old girl had hidden one under a mattress in her house, police said. She told police that Christy and Boreland told her to get rid of the other, and Tarentum police found it where she told them she had disposed of it.

The 15-year-old told police she had seen Christy, Boreland and the 17-year-old girl go into the Springdale house and come out with two handguns.

Two of the juveniles told police they had gone to the house because someone there had taken money from the 17-year-old, who initially denied any knowledge or involvement in the burglary and theft.

Police searched her car, and found two prescription pill bottles prescribed to the Springdale homeowner.

Christy refused to speak with police and asked for an attorney, court records say. Boreland and the third adult gave conflicting statements about why they were in Springdale but denied any knowledge of or involvement in the burglary or theft of the guns.

Christy and Boreland were both charged with burglary, conspiracy, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, corruption of minors and tampering with evidence. They were arraigned Tuesday afternoon and each was being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $18,000 bail.

Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for 9 a.m. July 24 before District Judge David J. Sosovicka in Harmar.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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