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Warrants pending for Baldwin Borough home invasion suspects

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By Stephanie Hacke and Margaret Harding
Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 7:15 p.m.

Baldwin Borough police said Tuesday they were close to issuing warrants for four of six people they suspect are involved in a home invasion of a local apartment last week, when a woman told police eight children were held at gunpoint, and the intruders ordered her to take them to a man.

“We have a pretty good idea of who they might be, pending further investigation and should be obtaining warrants in the near future,” police Chief Michael Scott said.

A woman told Baldwin Borough police last week that she was with a female friend and the children, ranging in age from 1 to 13, when someone knocked on the door of a Keeport Drive apartment shortly before 11 p.m. April 30, Scott said.

Masked gunmen barged in and ordered the children into a bedroom, Scott said. They told the woman to take them to a man she knows by a street name and threatened to killed the children if she didn't comply, Scott said.

She drove two of the men to a house in West Mifflin. They told her to tell the man at the house to come outside, Scott said. Instead, she ran into the home, locked the door and called 911. The gunmen drove off, but, Scott said, because police didn't know how many remained at the apartment with the children, SWAT officers were summoned.

After about five hours, police entered the house and determined none of the children were injured, Scott said. Police continue to investigate.

There are about 1,500 apartments and town houses in the 74-building The Residences of South Hills complex, located on 55 acres in Baldwin Borough. Formerly Leland Point, the complex underwent a multimillion-dollar improvement project in the last several years after resident complaints prompted the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office to file nuisance charges against the former owners in 2010. The case was settled.

The complex, previously called The Knolls, Baldwin Courts and Green Meadows, was sold in June 2011 for nearly $10 million as part of a multistate acquisition. Kushner Companies of New York partnered with Apollo Property Management of Ohio and Square Mile Capital of New York to purchase 4,681 apartment units in three states, including those at Leland Point.

Kristin Cox, 25, said she often sees “kids running around doing things they shouldn't” at the complex.

She said she has called the police about the activity and that even though she just she moved to The Residences of South Hills in September, she wants to relocate.

Cox, who lives in a basement-level apartment with her family, said she has put pillows and blankets along the windows in an attempt to keep her children safe inside.

She said she “expected the teenage hoodlum thing” but not something like the home invasion.

Vanilla Henry, 49, a Keeport Drive resident who has lived in the complex since 2001, said she often hears police sirens but feels safe.

“I've never had any problems with anybody,” Henry said.

Baldwin Borough police have had a substation in the apartment complex for more than 12 years and added extra contracted patrols at the complex within the last few years, Scott said.

Stephanie Hacke and Margaret Harding are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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