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Valley men accused of burglary in Charleroi

| Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Edward Stonick
James Cowart

A burglary suspect's shoe prints and security camera footage from several break-ins led to two arrests in Charleroi.

James R. Cowart, 33, of 731 Fallowfield Ave., Charleroi, and Edward J. Stonick, 28, of 15 Madison Ave., Herminie, were each accused by Charleroi Regional Police of burglarizing a borough residence and breaking into vehicles.

The men were allegedly seen 12:16 a.m. Tuesday on a borough security camera entering vehicles and taking a fishing pole and a tackle box.

Cowart was waving a knife around, according to the criminal complaint filed with Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins in Charleroi.

The men then allegedly were observed in video surveillance recordings placing the items by a black vehicle in the 400 block of Cherry Way.

Officer Michael Leasure said the footage also revealed Stonick kicking in the rear door of a residence at 421 Fallowfield Ave. Stonick and Cowart entered the residence, the complaint states.

Lt. Mike Polinski saw the alleged suspects as they were leaving the residence. When Stonick saw the police cruiser's headlights, he took off running and hid between two buildings on Cherry Way, the complaint alleges.

Polinski and Officer Chad Zelinsky found the knife at the intersection of Peach Alley and Cherry Way and the stolen items by the black vehicle. A radio stolen from another vehicle was found in Peach Alley, police said.

After watching the video surveillance recording Tuesday morning, police arrested Cowart and Stonick, who were walking in the 700 block of Fallowfield Avenue. Police said the men were wearing the same clothes as seen in the video.

While investigating the burglary at 421 Fallowfield Ave., police noticed shoe prints on the door that had been kicked in.

Chief Eric Porter and Lt. Mark Yates reported the soles of the shoes Stonick was wearing matched the pattern of prints left on the door, the complaint states.

Cowart and Stonick are each charged with burglary, criminal trespass, theft from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief and loitering/prowling at night.

They were arraigned by Hopkins and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility, each in lieu of $50,000 straight cash bond.

Each faces a preliminary hearing before Hopkins 9 a.m. Sept. 4.

Other cases

This isn't the first time Stonick was arrested for breaking into vehicles.

In January, Stonick pleaded guilty in Westmoreland County Court to theft from a motor vehicle and was sentenced to two to 23 months in jail.

He pleaded guilty to a separate charge of criminal mischief and was sentenced to two years of probation.

State police from the Belle Vernon barracks accused Stonick of stealing numerous items Nov. 23 from vehicles parked at the Link Night Club in Irwin.

Cowart was sentenced in January to three to 23 months in jail after he pleaded guilty in Washington County Court to resisting arrest.

He was charged by Charleroi Regional Police Aug. 27, 2013, after he fled from police after they came to his residence to pick him up on an adult probation bench warrant.

Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at