Animal cruelty report leads to charges for Valley vistors
A call to police in August about dogs in a hot car in Belle Vernon led to arrest warrants being issued Monday for a California state man and a Georgia woman.
The two are not in custody and are being sought by police.
Southwest Regional Police have charged Frank Gillon Jr., 24, of Cathedral, Calif., with possession of a firearm with altered or obliterated serial number, endangering the welfare of children, possession of a prohibited offensive weapon, possession of small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and cruelty to animals.
Kayla Kathleen Creamer, 28, of Moultrie, Ga., was charged with endangering the welfare of children, possession of a small amount of marijuana (two counts), and cruelty to animals.
Southwest Regional Chief John Hartman said the department received results Monday morning from a state police forensics lab on a sawed-off shotgun Gillon allegedly transported across the country and stored next to a child's toy box at 310 C. Market Street in Belle Vernon.
“They had gone clear across the country with this stuff and had stopped in Belle Vernon for a couple days to visit a friend on Market Street,” Hartman said.
Hartman said police initially responded Aug. 7 to a report of three pit bulls being kept in Gillon's vehicle with minimal ventilation. Police conducted an investigation with the Fayette County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Police obtained a search warrant for the car and found alleged “growing materials” for marijuana, along with paraphernalia and how-to manuals on growing.
Police eventually confiscated the vehicle.
Police obtained a search warrant for the residence and found additional drug-related items scattered among the child's clothing and belongings.
Most significantly, police seized a sawed-off shotgun with its serial number scratched off, a 20-gauge shotgun and several boxes of ammunition, most of which was hidden inside a child's toy box.
Hartman said the child, approximately 7 years old, belonged to Creamer.
“This gun was not secured, and the child had access to this gun,” Hartman said. “(The warrants) were delayed, because we had to get the confirmation that the gun was patently illegal and that it was able to be fired.”
Hartman said the Belle Vernon resident faced no charges because police determined that person was unaware of the situation.
Police seized a laptop computer, purportedly with photographs of Gillon and his marijuana growing operation in California, and were eventually able to determine its location.
Hartman said his department contacted the National Crime Information Center and local police departments in California and Georgia.
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Gillon or Creamer, should contact Southwest Regional Police at 724-929-8484 or via private message on the department's Facebook page, Southwest Reg. Pd.
“We weren't letting up on it, and one thing led to another, that led to another, and we got more than what we thought,” Hartman said.
“The most important element to this is, we were able to do this solely because somebody took the time to call police about cruelty to animals. When you see something that doesn't look right, call the police.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.