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Uniontown man charged in car break-ins near Five Star Trail

| Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, 11:03 p.m.

State police at Greensburg used surveillance video of a man using stolen credit cards to identify a suspect breaking into cars parked near the Five Star Trail in Youngwood.

Richard H. Powell III of West Berkeley Street, Uniontown, is charged with multiple counts of access device fraud, theft from a motor vehicle, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property.

One victim told state police she parked at an access point on the trail near the Youngwood Railroad Museum about 10 a.m. May 27 and returned to her car about 30 minutes later to find someone had smashed out a rear window.

The thief took her purse, which contained numerous bank and credit cards, $10 in cash, sunglasses and an umbrella with a total value of $120, according to an affidavit of probable cause police filed with Hempfield District Judge James Falcon.

Powell attempted to use the woman's debit card at Commercial Bank and Trust in Pleasant Unity, where still photographs of him were obtained, Trooper Isaac Lanham said.

He used one of the stolen credit cards to make other purchases in the area totaling about $180, police said.

Police said they were able to identify Powell through the photographs. During an interview July 24 in the Westmoreland County Courthouse, Powell admitted to Lanham that he stole a purse from another woman's vehicle parked near the trail on July 11 by breaking a window.

The victim in the July 11 case reported her purse contained $6,379 worth of items, mostly jewelry.

The investigation is continuing.

“Powell said he committed these crimes because he was on drugs at the time and needed money to support his habit,” Lanham wrote in the affidavit.

Powell is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Monday before Unity Township District Judge Michael Mahady on chargess filed by Westmoreland County Park Police of breaking into vehicles parked at Twin Lakes Park in Unity and Hempfield townships and Mammoth Park in Mt. Pleasant Township.

Powell failed to post $25,000 bond and is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Sept. 3 before Falcon.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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