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Westmoreland

Clerk helped man burglarize Rostraver Township pizza shop, police say

Paul Peirce
| Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, 12:33 p.m.

Rostraver Township Police have charged two men for a Jan. 28 burglary at Little Caesars Pizza Shop on Route 51 in which $600 was taken from a safe.

Zachary M. Gonzales, 25, of Belle Vernon, and David P. Vankavelaar, 25, of Rostraver, are charged with planning and committing the burglary, according to court documents filed before District Judge Charles Christner.

Gonzales is charged with burglary, criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass, receiving stolen property and theft while Vankavelaar is charged with four counts of criminal conspiracy.

Officer Richard Beranek II reported in court documents that the pizza shop, located in a Marathon Gas station, had just closed around midnight Jan. 28.

Security video showed that at 12:36 a.m. Vankavelaar, who worked as a clerk there, “left the store open and went to the men's room,” Beranek reported.

At 12:37 a.m., Gonzales entered the building and walked into the pizza shop.

“Gonzales looked around and retrieved the safe key that was hanging in the business. Gonzales wouldn't have known where the safe key was unless he was told...,” Beranek wrote.

Beranek said the video showed Gonzales took the cash from the safe and left at 12:39 a.m.

“Vankavelaar came out of the rest room at 12:41 a.m.,” Beranek wrote.

Beranek said Vankavelaar told him in an interview that he and Gonzales had planned the burglary. However, Beranek said Vankavelaar denied receiving any money from the heist.

“He said he just felt bad for Gonzales' situation and that he had no money,” Beranek wrote.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled March 5 before Christner.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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