Pit bulls attack officer, K9 during heroin bust in Latrobe
A Latrobe police officer and the city's K-9 officer, Rocky, suffered minor injuries Saturday afternoon when they were bitten by a pair of pit bulls during a heroin bust on Weldon Street.
Bruce Thompkins, 43, and Michelle Muck, 32, were charged with several drug-related offenses after Latrobe police and members of the Westmoreland County Drug Task Force seized 95 stamp bags of heroin, $680 in cash and drug paraphernalia from the house.
The stamp bags, all marked “The Joker,” have a combined street value of around $2,500 according to Latrobe Police Chief James Bumar.
Thompkins was charged with manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Muck was charged with manufacture or possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Muck and Thompkins were arraigned in night court before Monessen District Justice Joseph Dalfonso, who set bond at $25,000 each. Both are being held in the county prison.
The drug task force initiated an investigation of suspected drug activity at the Weldon Street address in late March after an incident in which Thompkins accused a neighbor, city Councilman Robert Forish, of threatening him with a gun during an argument on Forish's front porch.
Forish allegedly photographed Thompkins' house and accused him of “selling dope,” according to documents charging Forish with simple assault and reckless endangerment.
On five separate dates since then, police observed Muck and Thompkins meeting briefly with known drug users in business parking lots throughout Latrobe, police allege.
On Saturday, Muck, through an intermediary, sold six stamp bags to a confidential informant, according to police.
Officer Joseph Angus was bitten on the foot by one of the two pit bulls at the house before police killed the dog.
That dog's brain is being tested for rabies because Thompkins and Muck did not have the proper paperwork to confirm whether it had been vaccinated. Hoffman Kennels removed the second pit bull, according to police.
Angus is awaiting test results to determine whether he will need to undergo rabies treatments, Bumar said.
Rocky is “doing fine,” according to Bumar.
“He's on antibiotics and they have to watch to make sure the wound doesn't get infected,” Bumar said. “It was like a tear in the lower lip area and a puncture wound on the opposite-side cheek.”
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at (724) 459-6100, ext. 2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Penn Township man who shot friend gets probation
- United Way surplus funds benefit 9 nonprofits in Westmoreland County
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Western Pa. retirees skip relaxing, instead head back to school
- Hempfield man accused of threats against troopers
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Shop With a Cop helps Westmoreland County children in ‘unfortunate circumstances’