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Newell burglary ring suspect nabbed

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Newell man wanted in connection with a burglary spree in his hometown was arrested Friday in Penn Hills.

Matthew von Kerik, 21, of 136 Fourth St., was picked up during an unrelated investigation in Penn Hills on an arrest warrant held by Southwest Regional Police.

Von Kerik was placed in the Fayette County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond.

He previously confessed to participating in a burglary at 206 Long St., Newell, in which jewelry and a .38 special revolver were stolen.

When von Kerik failed to appear for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jesse Cramer in Belle Vernon, the arrest warrant was issued.

“We're glad to make the arrest since he failed to appear and answer to the charges,” Southwest Regional Chief John Hartman said.

Investigators obtained information from that robbery that eventually led police to discover military and industrial explosives in the home of Jeffrey Wilson at 102 Miller St., Newell, late last year.

Wilson, 58, is still on the lam and thought to be out of state.

In December, Southwest Regional police arrested Ryan Cline of 100 Church St., Jacobs Creek, and charged him with six counts of illegal possession or selling of firearms; three counts each of conspiracy to commit theft of a firearm and theft by unlawful taking; and one count of carrying a concealed firearm without a license.

Cline was arraigned by Cramer and sent to the Fayette County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bond.

Brandon Perine, 19, of 101 Linden St., Monessen, was charged in December with conspiracy to commit theft of a firearm and theft by unlawful taking. He was arraigned by Cramer and released on $2,500 unsecured bond.

Perine and Cline waived their rights to preliminary hearings Jan. 4 and are awaiting trial.

According to Hartman, Perine confessed that he and Cline had stolen the guns to obtain drugs.

While investigating, police determined Cline had been involved in at least two other firearm thefts.

Police originally went to Wilson's residence in search of the two guns as a part of an investigation into the burglary ring that struck several homes in Newell over a five-month period.

A burglary reported Oct. 11 at a 206 Long St. residence provided a break in that case.

In October, Mark Anthony Burnett, 18, of 409 Miller St., Newell, and Michael Sawyer, 21, of 922 Evan St., Jeannette, were each charged with three counts of burglary, criminal conspiracy aiding, theft by unlawful taking-movable property, and receiving stolen property.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or