The Thursday wrap
The role of social media in assisting police is clearly evident in the case against a suspected thief who allegedly stole packages off porches in North Huntingdon and Irwin. Police said a surveillance camera captured a theft in the township, an image from which police put up on social media. Almost instantly, police said, they began receiving calls identifying the suspect as Jaime T. Shipley, 22, of North Huntingdon. It just goes to show that social media can be a valuable crime-stopper — so long as people get involved. ... Penalizing home-buyers for the benefit of families living at or near the poverty level, Pittsburgh City Council voted 7-2 to jack up the city's realty-transfer tax by 25 percent, channeling that money into a trust fund established last year to build housing and rehabilitate older homes. So by singling out one group, City Hall taps others (including first-time buyers) who'll pay what Realtors say will be the highest realty-transfer tax in the state. And once again, the erstwhile Steel City gives prospective home-buyers a reason to look elsewhere. ... The list continues to grow of Westmoreland municipalities opting out as potential locations for 10 new mini casinos under Pennsylvania's expanded gambling law. North Huntingdon joins Murrysville, New Alexandria, Delmont, South Huntingdon and North Irwin in voting against the location of casinos within their borders by the state's Dec. 31 deadline. Expanded gambling is not the golden goose it's purported to be. More than likely, any revenue will simply shift from locales that already have casinos to the municipalities that eventually land the new ones.