Cal U standout Portis gets deal in theft case
By Stacy Lee
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
A California University of Pennsylvania senior quarterback has made a deal with prosecutors involving a theft case.
Joshua Allen Portis, 23, of Coal Center, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Monday in front of McKeesport Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.
Allegheny County prosecutors offered Portis entry into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program, a type of probation for first-time offenders.
He is charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, forgery and access device fraud for allegedly using a credit card stolen from a McKeesport residence at a store in Century III Mall in West Mifflin.
If he successfully completes the program, Portis can request the charges be expunged. His next court hearing is Feb. 11.
"Josh has already paid restitution and accepted responsibility for his actions," defense attorney D. Scott Lautner said. "This was a very large mistake on Josh's part, and he will be paying for it for a long time.
"Josh is a good kid with a great future in front of him. We all make mistakes."
According to a criminal complaint, two McKeesport residents reported to police that their home along Harrison Street had been burglarized Sept. 27. They said a purse containing various debit and credit cards had been taken. One card was used multiple times on Sept. 27, including a $313.60 purchase at a mall store.
The criminal complaint said that when McKeesport police Sgt. Chris Halaszynski questioned store employees on Oct. 5 about the purchases, they said the male customer was acting "shady," or suspicious.
One employee described the person who made the purchases as a tall, thin black male wearing "Cal U" clothing stating he was from the "real" California, originally from Los Angeles.
The employees said the customer registered for a rewards card using the name Josh Portis from California, Pa. Two employees then pulled up Portis' Facebook page and identified Portis as the customer.
Court documents indicated Portis agreed to meet with, Halaszynski on Oct 4, with Lautner present.
Portis reportedly admitted to using the stolen credit card to make the purchases in question and signed the victim's name.
It said Portis claimed he got the stolen credit card from a McKeesport man when they saw each other at the mall. Portis allegedly gave that person some of the items purchased.
In 2009, Portis quarterbacked the Vulcans to the NCAA Division II semifinals.
On Nov. 20, the Vulcans lost 28-26 to Bloomsburg in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
Portis set the Cal record with 69 passing touchdowns and finished his career ranking fourth with 6,072 passing yards. Last week he was selected as an alternate for the Valero Cactus Bowl.
McKeesport police said the investigation is continuing.
McKeesport Daily News Sports Editor Mark A. Kaboly contributed to this report.
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