Police: Tips lead to Glassport raid
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013, 12:51 a.m.
Glassport police said a 73-year-old homeowner faces charges when a raid of his rental property turned up approximately 100 marijuana plants as well as equipment used to grow them.
Beau Zimmerman of West Mifflin was not taken into custody after the early Friday evening raid of the duplex along Harrison and an alley between Marie Street and Fairview Avenue.
“We had tips that there was a marijuana-growing operation in the basement,” Patrolman Mike Piccini said. “He gave consent to (police to) search the house.”
According to Allegheny County real estate records, Zimmerman bought the house in 2005 for $100. He paid more each year in county real estate taxes shown to be current through 2012.
“The landlord would come at night and stay for hours,” neighbor John Keslar said.
Police said one piece of equipment seized outside the home at 309-311 Harrison St. was a propane tank. It was removed as a potential hazard by Glassport's Citizens Hose Co. volunteer firefighters.
Neighbors said they thought it was an oxygen tank.
“We called about that two years ago,” neighbor Ashley Moore said. “The tank had a copper line running into the house.”
A Duquesne Light crew cut power to the 311 portion of the duplex, which police said was vacant except for the alleged marijuana operation.
“Duquesne Light disconnected the power because of exposed wiring for growing the plants,” Patrolman Todd Kiggins said.
The Friday night raid did not come as a surprise to neighbors.
“I'm surprised it took that long,” Keslar said.
“It is about time,” Moore said.
Neighbors and police said the 311 side was vacant, but the 309 side was a boarding home that normally would have several tenants.
“There were different people there all the time,” Keslar said.
Keslar and other neighbors said police frequently were called to deal with fighting, drug deals, noise and other complaints.
“(Police) are here all the time,” Moore said.
“I used to see (the tenants) in the morning, when I'd take my kids out,” neighbor Cristy Klacik said. “Creepy people, staggering down the road.”
Police said they do not plan to file charges against any tenants on the 309 side.
“I had nothing to do with (the marijuana operation),” said one tenant, who declined to be identified. “I knew nothing about it.”
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or email@example.com.
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