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More charges possible in Elizabeth Township carbide theft case

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 4:31 a.m.

Three South Allegheny area residents face further legal action as a result of their preliminary hearings on Monday on burglary and theft charges.

Tylor M. Steinkopf, 27, of Liberty and Robert Kite, 33, of Lincoln waived hearings before Forward Township Magisterial District Judge Beth Scagline Mills, while John R. Riggle Jr., 26, of Port Vue was held for trial.

The trio was arrested on April 13 by Elizabeth Township police on charges of stealing $15,000 worth of carbide rods during visits on eight occasions to Basic Carbide along Blythedale Road.

Police Chief Robert McNeilly said the owner of Basic Carbide was notified about the theft from a local recycling center. The rods delivered there weighed anywhere from 67 to 280 lbs.

McNeilly said Steinkopf formerly worked for Basic Carbide but still was allowed by that company's owner to use a compressor machine there for his motorized wheelchair.

Steinkopf waived one count each of defiant trespass and conspiracy to commit burglary as well as eight counts of receiving stolen property and six counts each of burglary and theft by unlawful taking.

Kite waived charges of conspiracy to receive stolen property and six counts of receiving stolen property. In his case, five counts apiece of burglary and theft by unlawful taking were dismissed.

Riggle was held for trial on one count each of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of a controlled substance and defiant trespass.

For Steinkopf there is irony in his situation.

On Oct. 3, 2011, a motorized wheelchair valued at $7,000 to $9,000 was stolen from his home, cut up and then sold to a West Elizabeth scrap dealer for $91.

Liberty police later picked up John Francis Sisko Jr., 34, of Pitcairn and Douglas Woolheater, 29, of McKeesport on charges of receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and criminal conspiracy.

Both eventually pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and were given two years probation.

Steinkopf, Kite and Riggle are free pending formal arraignment on June 10 at 11 a.m. at the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh.

Steinkopf posted $25,000 bond, Kite $10,000 and Riggle was released on nonmonetary bond after that obligation was reduced from a $10,000 monetary bond.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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