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Salem man charged with raping child

| Saturday, May 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.



Salem man charged with rape of girl, 8

Murrysville police have accused a Salem Township businessman of raping an 8-year-old girl seven years ago

James Zahorsky is charged with child rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of a child.

The alleged incident was reported to police in December. Zahorsky is free on $10,000 unsecured bond.

Zahorsky, 56, who lives above his business, Astorri's Tavern, at 2831 State Route 66, allegedly took the girl to a restaurant in Murrysville with his cousin, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The men got “very drunk” and did not purchase any food for the girl, according to court documents.

The three left and went to the girl's home, where Zahorsky prepared Ramen noodles for her. The girl spilled the noodles on her shirt and was ordered to change, according to police.

Zahorsky followed the girl to her room while the cousin was on an outside porch, according to police. Zahorsky allegedly assaulted the girl in her bedroom, the affidavit said.

The girl told police Zahorsky smacked her on the face twice, but she was able to kick him away after the attack and ran to a neighbor's house, according to police.

A preliminary hearing is set for May 28 with Export District Judge Charles Conway. Zahorsky is free on bond.

Woman pleads guilty to fraud

A Murrysville woman pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to defraud people who invested their money with the East Haven Housing Development Co.

Bonnie Gardner, 55, pleaded guilty to a single count of mail and wire fraud conspiracy. She and Frank Guzik Jr., whose last known address was in Derry, persuaded more than 100 people to invest more than $14 million in a fake “house flipping” scheme, prosecutors say.

In a complicated scheme using straw purchasers, multiple mortgages on each property and faked documents, the pair tricked their victims into thinking the investments were secure and earning money, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer scheduled Gardner's sentencing for Oct. 18. Guzik disappeared and federal agents have a pending warrant for his arrest on fraud charges.


Sheriff: Burglary suspect apprehended

Westmoreland County sheriff's deputies apprehended a man wanted on burglary and other charges Thursday night near the North Hempfield Volunteer Fire Department, according to a news release.

Thomas Dittmar, 21, was apprehended about 8:30 p.m. on a warrant in connection with the burglary of an Allegheny County home, Sheriff Jon Held said.

Dittmar faces charges of burglary, theft, conspiracy and criminal trespass in Ohio Township District Judge Tara Smith's office.

Police charged Dittmar with breaking into a home on Herron Avenue with another person and stealing $800 in coins and a .25-caliber handgun.

Deputies spotted Dittmar on the back porch of the home on Business Route 66.

He fled through the house and went out the front door before he was caught by deputies near the fire hall, Held said.

Dittmar may face additional charges, according to the sheriff.

Lifeline subscribers get robocall warning

Excela Health System officials in Westmoreland County and its personal emergency response service program partner, Philips Lifeline, are warning subscribers about a recent aggressive telemarketing campaign from a competitor.

Robin Jennings, a spokeswoman for Excela, said that the recent “robocalls” by telemarketers either claim they are Lifeline or are mistaken by the general public for Lifeline, with which the local health system maintains a partnership.

“We would never ask an individual for a credit card number or their bank account information,” Jennings said.

She warned that Philips Lifeline subscribers should never provide callers their private credit card numbers or bank information. If people are uncertain with whom they are speaking, existing subscribers can push the personal help buttons on their devices to speak with Philips' emergency response center.

If subscribers have questions, they can call program services at 800-852-5433, Ext. 3.


Bomb squad called to South Side

The city bomb squad responded to three reports of suspicious packages late Thursday and early Friday along Brosville and Pius streets on the South Side.

All three turned out to be electronic anti-theft devices that stores attach to merchandise, Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. No explosive materials were found.

The bomb squad responded to the 300 block of Brosville at 11:09 p.m. Thursday and found a small cardboard cylinder wrapped in aluminum foil with wires attached and making a beeping sound.

Officers returned to the area about an hour later and found a similar device wrapped in foil, but without the cylinder.

A third device with foil was found on the ground nearby on Pius Street at 8:22 a.m. Friday.

Police think someone discarded the devices from stolen merchandise.

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