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2 accused of stealing metal shavings from manufacturing site in Penn Township

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 10:48 p.m.
 

A trail camera outside a Penn Township manufacturing company captured two masked men who police believe stole hundreds of pounds of valuable metal shavings from a trash bin.

Gary Alan Cecil, 47, and Keith Lawson Jessman, 32, allegedly sold the shavings for about $7,000 at an Allegheny County scrap yard, which helped police identify them as suspects. Police did not list addresses for either man, but online court records indicate that Jessman is a Greensburg resident.

“These were pretty significant thefts,” township police Chief John Otto said.

A supervisor at Hamill Manufacturing Co. reported to police on June 19 that shavings were missing from a trash receptacle, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Company officials put up a trail camera.

Two days later, the camera captured two masked culprits at the site taking metal shavings, Detective Todd DeNillo wrote in the complaint.

When the second theft was reported to police on June 23, a visit to P.J. Greco Sons scrap yard in Tarentum that day proved fruitful, DeNillo wrote.

An employee told police Cecil had brought in 600 pounds of metal shavings that morning. Cecil was accompanied by Jessman on June 16 when the men sold 600 pounds of the shavings, the employee said.

DeNillo obtained receipts bearing both suspects' signatures from the sales, according to the complaint.

Otto said the men were not employees of the company. The trail camera was a great help, as was “good old-fashioned police work,” he said.

The remote cameras are popular in sports and wildlife photography.

“It's very rewarding to be able to find out who does these things when initially all you have to go on” is a reported theft, Otto said.

Police were able to identify Jessman as one of the men on the video who was “wearing a mask which was open around his eyes and nose,” by comparing the tape to Jessman's Facebook page, according to the complaint. He is charged with theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy and criminal trespass.

He was arraigned on Tuesday and is being held in the Westmoreland County jail on $25,000 bails in two separate cases. Jessman did not have an attorney listed in online court records. A July 29 preliminary hearing is set before Harrison City District Judge Helen Kistler.

Cecil is charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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