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Connellsville mayoral candidate Joshua DeWitt faces charges

| Monday, May 6, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

Charges have been filed against one of the three candidates for Connellsville mayor for an alleged chop-shop operation in 2011.

The charges were filed against Joshua DeWitt, 27, of Connellsville at District Judge Ronald Haggerty Jr.'s office at 1:45 p.m. Monday.

The charges included owning/operating/conducting a chop shop, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

On March 15, 2012, DeWitt was charged only with owning/operating/conducting a chop shop for an incident that occurred on March 3, 2011, in Bullskin Township. That charge was dropped during an April 2012 preliminary hearing.

In 2012, DeWitt was originally charged with his uncle, Rodney Francis Allen and Dale Robert Naugle, both of Connellsville, by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Western Regional Auto Theft Task Force. The task force opened an investigation on the three men after a 2005 Ford F-150 pickup truck was stolen between March 1 and 3, 2011, from the rear lot of Davies Ford.

The stolen truck was located at a garage owned by Allen and had been stripped of parts that were later recovered at Allen's Garage/B&R Recycling. Those parts were being used to repair another truck.

Allen provided police an invoice indicating that he purchased Ford from a vehicle auction and purchased the parts three days prior.

Video surveillance in the scale house and office of Allen's Garage/B&R Recycling showed a white tilt bed being used to transport the stolen truck on the evening of March 3, 2011.

Naugle told police he used Allen's flatbed truck to off-load the truck at the garage at 169 Bellview Road. Naugle admitted that he and Allen dismantled the stolen truck while DeWitt was present.

Allen and Naugle are currently awaiting trial for the incident in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for DeWitt at 1 p.m. Thursday before Haggerty.

Calls to DeWitt and his campaign manager, Charles Lowery, were not returned.

DeWitt is running a campaign against incumbent Connellsville Mayor Charles Matthews and candidate Gregory Lincoln on the Democratic ticket for the upcoming primary election.

He is free on $20,000 unsecured bond.

Mark Hofmann is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mhofmann@tribweb.com or 724-626-3539.

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