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Alleged culprits in Murrysville silver heist arrested

Someone broke into a Murrysville electrotechnics company last spring and stole 429 pounds of silver pellets worth $306,000, then buried them in a field near Irwin in three one-gallon plastic jugs, police said.

When the thieves forgot where they buried the loot, they rented a metal detector, located and dug up the jugs, and sold the silver to Southside Jewelers in Pittsburgh for thousands of dollars, police said.

A nearly 11-month investigation into the theft culminated on Wednesday with the arrest of four Allegheny County men in connection with the theft from Metalor Technologies.

Arraigned yesterday on charges of conspiracy and receiving stolen property were: Colin Carr Fulciniti, 22, of Shadyside; Brian John Flaherty, 55, of Penn Hills; his son, Bryon Jon Flaherty, 38, of Penn Hills; and George M. Viglione, 56, of Monroeville.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two Irwin residents -- Bobbie Jean Dickson, 47, and William Michael Degrange, 55 -- on burglary and theft charges in connection with the April 2011 heist.

The current price per ounce of silver is $32.16. When the silver was taken, the price was 47.15 per ounce.

In court documents, Murrysville police Officer John Devlin and Westmoreland County Detective Thomas Horan said someone entered the Metalor building through a second-floor vent. Inside, investigators found bolt cutters and several pillowcases, one of which contained silver granules.

The thieves used a long tree branch to place a white T-shirt over a security camera near the vent, authorities said.

Bryon Flaherty and Fulciniti were released yesterday on $10,000 unsecured bond. Brian Flaherty and Viglione were released on $25,000 unsecured bond.

Preliminary hearings for the four men are scheduled for April 3.

Jake Shireman, Metalor Technologies customer service manager, said none of the suspects is employed by the company.

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