Copper theft charges filed in Blairsville
By Jeff Himler
Published: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 10:42 a.m.
A police investigation into a string of break-ins and thefts of copper at unoccupied Blairsville homes has led to the arrest of two suspects in three of the incidents, and borough police indicate more arrests could be on the way.
David Paul Dilts Jr., 30, and Danielle Lynn Dilts, 28, were arraigned Wednesday before Blairsville District Judge Jennifer Rega, each charged with three counts each of burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief and single counts of criminal conspiracy and possession of instruments of crime.
According to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed by Blairsville police, the suspects were last known to be living at 396 N. Harmony Rd., Penn Run. Borough police listed an additional address for the pair at an apartment on Wayne Avenue in Indiana.
They are charged with involvement in burglaries at three Blairsville homes between May 1 and July 5.
According to the court documents filed by arresting officer David Romagnoli, the suspects broke a window and cut copper pipes from a home at 148 E. Campbell St., resulting in a loss of $1,200 for owner George Harris, and damaged a basement door and cut and removed copper wire at 344 E. Chestnut St., resulting in an estimated $500 loss for owner Bill Orr.
The suspects also allegedly broke into 350 Hodge St., Apt. A by cutting a padlock on a door but did not take anything from the home owned by Teresa Hall.
They were released on an unsecured bond of $25,000 each and face a Sept. 11 hearing before Rega.
“Additional charges are pending along with other suspects as we gain more information every day,” said Blairsville Police Chief Michael Allman.
According to the police affidavit, Romagnoli received a July 23 tip from an informant indicating that Danielle Dilts had admitted to committing some of the burglaries borough police were investigating and had stated that David Dilts and other individuals also were involved.
Allman also obtained receipts and copies of ID cards from Weimer's Iron and Scrap Metal in Saltsburg indicating the Diltses had made several trips there to sell copper pipes and fittings.
Romagnoli said Danielle Dilts came to the Blairsville police station voluntarily later on July 23, admitted involvement in some burglaries and led the officer to the three sites of the incidents.
According to Romagnoli, Danielle Dilts said the burglary attempt at 344 E. Chestnut St. was thwarted when the participants were “almost caught by someone” and fled without taking anything.
Police found that the basement door had been pried open and a bucket and bags of copper wire and several pry bars were recovered nearby.
Danielle Dilts also reportedly told police that the burglars came up empty at the Hodge Street address when they discovered the pipes in the home were plastic, not copper.
In a separate interview, Romagnoli said, David Dilts also confessed to being involved in the three burglaries and using a 1996 Chevrolet Blazer to travel to the break-in sites and to transport stolen items.
According to Romagnoli, police learned the vehicle had been seized by police in Bellevue, Allegheny County, in relation to a drug arrest while David Dilts was driving it.
Romagnoli obtained a warrant to search the vehicle and reported recovering pry bars, bolt cutters and a hacksaw.
Since June, Blairsville police have reported at least seven break-ins where copper wiring or pipes were removed from unoccupied borough homes.
Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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