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Kittanning man charged with stealing Christmas presents in Leechburg

| Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 12:07 a.m.

A Kittanning area man is accused of stealing Christmas toys and electronics from a Leechburg family in order to get money for heroin.

Russell Allen Lookhart, 25, of Butler Road, East Franklin, is accused of taking $316 in items from a Spang Avenue couple with whom authorities say he stayed with for three weeks before Christmas.

The couple told police they had the gifts, including a Justin Beiber doll and several necklaces, locked in a bedroom closet. Cortney Beatty said she and Ronald Johnson Jr. and their children were away for a week before Christmas and returned home to find the items were missing.

The day after Beatty called police, one of Lookhart's relatives told police that Lookhart was trying to sell a gold, heart-shaped necklace with diamonds and that he had sold a Wii game console for $40 to another relative, police said in an affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Lookhart and a relative walked into the police station on Dec. 28 to admit he had stolen items from the Spang Avenue house. He also wanted treatment for heroin addiction.

Lookhart allegedly told police that he got $17 for each of the necklaces from a pawn broker and about $65 by returning some of the toys to Wal-Mart. He said he had earlier grabbed a sales slip out of the garbage can at the residence where he stole the items.

Lookhart, who waived charges to court Wednesday, is charged with burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief for allegedly damaging the bedroom door.

In the courtroom where they awaited a possible hearing, Beatty and Johnson told police and some of Lookhart's relatives they accept police dropping the first two charges in exchange for his getting drug treatment and paying restitution for the gifts.

Beatty and Johnson are facing unrelated drug charges filed Dec. 19 by state police. Beatty is charged with drug-related conspiracy. Johnson is facing that charge as well as drug possession and sales.

Lookhart is not accused of taking drugs from their house.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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