Springdale man accused of being the 'fake beard' Walmart thief

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, 12:08 p.m.

Police say a Springdale man wore a disguise when he allegedly stole more than $30,000 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart stores in Westmoreland, Armstrong and Fayette counties because he was afraid he could be identified by his tattoos.

Police in Cranberry, Butler County, charged Scott Reed, 42, in connection with the theft of 11 Apple iPads worth about $5,700 from the Wal-Mart store in that township on Aug. 16.

Reed is suspected of being responsible for stealing merchandise from there and three other Wal-Mart stores since Aug. 1, according to an affidavit filed in the Cranberry case. The stores were targeted in the late night through early morning hours.

Police in other jurisdictions had not filed charges against Reed as of late Friday, according to online court records.

Reed was identified by Frances A. Radeshak, 33, of New Kensington, who police say conspired with Reed in at least three other retail thefts. Cranberry police did not charge Radeshak in the Aug. 16 incident.

New Kensington police arrested Radeshak on drug paraphernalia charges during a traffic stop on Freeport Road on Aug. 29 after a tipster said he recognized her from a newscast showing security footage of a woman and man stealing merchandise from Wal-Mart stores in the region.

The same man, wearing nearly identical clothing, was seen in surveillance video from Wal-Mart stores in each of the three counties.

Radeshak also identified Reed's vehicle, a 1995 Mitsubishi Galant sedan, which had been seen leaving the Cranberry store.

Reed was driving the car when Cranberry detectives went to interview him on Wednesday, Cranberry police Sgt. Chuck Mascellino said. When Reed was arrested, he was wearing clothing similar to that seen in the store surveillance video.

Police said Reed has 16 prior arrests and 14 convictions for retail theft.

Radeshak said Reed wore a disguise during the thefts because he is heavily tattooed on his face, head and neck “and was concerned he would be easily recognized by law enforcement,” according to court documents.

According to court documents, a man later identified as Reed entered the Cranberry Wal-Mart around 2:54 a.m. on Aug. 16 and went to the electronics section. Between 3 and 3:20 a.m., he broke the lock on a display case and periodically removed iPads, which he hid in his clothes, pants pockets and a bag he took from within the store.

A man who identified Reed and Radeshak from the publicized surveillance images said he had bought several of the stolen iPads from Reed.

Reed was arraigned on charges of retail theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief by Cranberry Judge David T. Kovach on Wednesday. He was put in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 20 before Kovach.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 orbrittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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