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Plum burglary, car chase ends with crash at Penn Hills Service Association

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 1:54 p.m.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
A sizable hole is overlaid with plywood and plastic at the Penn Hills Service Association on Universal Road. Manager Ed Hoover sits outside the association, on the right.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
A car chase resulting from a burglary report in Plum ended with the suspect's car crashing into the northeast corner of the Penn Hills Service Association building.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
The crash punched a hole straight through the building's wall. No one was inside the building when the crash occurred.

A car chase following a Tuesday-afternoon burglary in Plum ended with a crash that punched a sizable hole in the side of the Penn Hills Service Association building on Universal Road.

Plum police responded to a report of a late-morning burglary on Regency Drive, and developed a suspect as a result of prior daytime burglaries in the Plum area, according to Chief Jeff Armstrong.

Armstrong said the burglary was reported at 11:37 a.m. when a woman returned home to find the house broken into and jewelry and small electronic items were taken.

Officers discovered a 1998 green Toyota Camry reported stolen from Regency Drive at a location in Penn Hills, and when they attempted to box the car in, the suspect was able to elude police, who gave pursuit.

During the chase, the suspect hit the car of a customer at Universal Pizza, located at the Reiter-Universal intersection. Armstrong said the suspect also struck a county police vehicle during the chase and ultimately crashed into the northeast corner of the Penn Hills Service Association building on the 2000 block of Universal Road.

Armstrong said the man fled on foot.

A roughly three-by-six-foot hole was covered over with plywood and plastic on Wednesday morning.

Service association manager Ed Hoover said he is waiting on Duquesne Light crews to restore electricity.

“The municipality called shortly after the crash and had the electricity shut off,” Hoover said. “I had (an electrician) come out and look at it, and they said it was alright to turn the power back on, but Duquesne Light said their crews have to come look at it first.”

Hoover said the crash hasn't interrupted the association's food and clothing pantries, “but our food distribution this morning had to be done in the dark.”

Chest freezers at the association are expected to hold up for 24 to 48 hours if left closed, but Hoover said he is hoping to have power back sooner rather than later.

“We expect this incident will lead to an arrest in the near future,” Armstrong said, adding that the suspect left “significant” physical evidence behind.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2367 or

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