Police: Vandergrift man traded $100 of crack cocaine for $15K Rolex, other jewelry
A Vandergrift man is accused of trading $100 in crack cocaine for stolen jewelry, including a $15,000 Rolex watch.
A criminal complaint filed in the case against Levern Baccus, 38, said a Vandergrift couple reported the missing jewelry to borough police on Sunday. The missing items included the Rolex, two other watches valued at nearly $300 apiece and three rings worth about $1,500 apiece.
The alleged victims told police whom they suspected of taking the items, and police knew the man because they arrested him earlier in the day in connection with a separate burglary, the complaint said.
Police said that man — identified in the complaint as Jonathan Marty, 35, of Vandergrift — admitted taking the three watches but denied taking the rings, the complaint said.
Marty told police he traded the watches to Baccus in exchange for $100 in crack cocaine, according to the complaint. Marty said he smoked all the crack at Baccus’ residence, the complaint said.
Police said they executed a search warrant at Baccus’ Columbia Avenue apartment and found two rings, about 6 grams of crack, unknown pills and drug paraphernalia. Police said they are still looking for the other stolen jewelry.
Baccus was arraigned Monday morning on a felony count of receiving stolen property and several drug-related charges. He was being held in Westmoreland County Prison on $50,000 bond.
Marty was arraigned on charges of burglary, trespassing, receiving stolen property and theft in connection with the other burglary, in which police said he stole $40 in cash from another Vandergrift residence and used the money to buy drugs. He had not been charged in connection with the missing jewelry as of Monday afternoon, according to online court records. Marty was being held in Westmoreland County Prison on $50,000 bond.
Police said borough residents have been calling police to report alleged drug sales along Columbia Avenue.
“The neighbors were fantastic,” said Vandergrift Patrolman Richard “Joe” Gray. “They’d called us and let us know what was going on. And when we arrested (Baccus) at about 6:40 p.m. (Sunday), about 20 of the neighbors stood outside and applauded.”
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .