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Brothers charged in Scottdale vehicle thefts

Scottdale police on Thursday charged a Scottdale man with last weekend's spree of thefts from motor vehicles in the borough and the destruction of a 6-year-old boy's wheelchair. His brother is charged with stolen property in the break-ins.

Christopher Prolenski, 21, and Dylon Prolenski, 20, both of Scottdale, were arraigned last night via night court video.

Christopher Prolenski is charged with one count of criminal mischief, 19 counts of thefts from motor vehicles and 12 counts of criminal attempt.

Dylon Prolenski is charged with three counts of stolen property. Items stolen in the thefts were found in his apartment, borough police Chief Barry Pritts said last night.

The two arrived at the police department last evening accompanied by attorney Jason Taylor.

The charges stem from numerous calls police received on Monday reporting thefts from vehicles throughout the borough.

"Through an investigation, it was determined that Christopher Prolenski had entered these vehicles, stolen numerous items, and destroyed this wheelchair," Pritts said in a release.

"Basically, (Christopher Prolenski) is taking the rap for all of it," Pritts said.

Thirty-two vehicles were entered Sunday night, Pritts said.

One of those vehicles belonged to the family of Ian Hixson, who breathes with a ventilator because he has cerebral palsy. He is being treated for an inoperable brain tumor, said his mother, Heather Hixson.

She had loaded her Chevrolet HHR at the family's Market Street residence on Sunday night in preparation for Ian's appointment Monday morning at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. When she came out Monday morning, she discovered the mangled wheelchair. Ian's medicine had been scattered and his medical bag stolen.

Pritts said the two showed no remorse last night.

"Sometimes we make decisions as young adults that, unfortunately, we can't change," Hixson said last night, after learning of the arrests.

"I just don't understand why they did it. You work months to get approval for many, many items -- equipment to medications. ... Hopefully, this can change them in a positive direction," she said.

"I hope through all of this I can help change people's lives," Hixson said.

The family has set up a trust fund with First Niagara Bank at the Laurel Mall in Dunbar Township to help meet Ian's medical needs.

She also hopes to do some advocacy work, possibly including setting up a website to help families whose children have special needs to share or locate equipment.

"Six years ago, I sat in a (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), worrying over my child, not knowing if he would live. ... I want them (alleged vandals) to meet Ian. I want to know what they would say to my son. ... (They) took away the only thing he has to be able to get enjoyment out of life. How do you feel• That's what I want to ask them," she said last night.

The Prolenskis were lodged in the Westmoreland County jail. Christopher Polenski's bail was set at $20,000; Dylon Prolenski's bail was set at $10,000.

They face preliminary hearings on Wednesday.

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