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Westmoreland

Boyfriend of missing Unity woman jailed on stolen property charge

Patrick Varine
| Saturday, April 14, 2018, 1:39 p.m.
Thomas G. Stanko
WPXI
Thomas G. Stanko

A Latrobe man is facing a charge of receiving stolen property in a case his attorney said is completely unrelated to an investigation of the man's missing girlfriend.

No arrest has been made in the disappearance of Cassandra E. Gross, 51, police said.

Thomas Stanko, 47, of Latrobe denies any involvement in her disappearance , according to attorney David Shrager. Stanko was charged late Friday with receiving stolen property and was in Westmoreland County Prison on Saturday on $100,000 bail.

“My understanding is that this case has nothing whatsoever to do with my client's missing girlfriend,” Shrager said Saturday. “I believe the allegation is that a quad he's had for 20 years on his property was alleged to have been stolen.”

Shrager said he had not independently verified the allegations, “as this is brand new.” He said Stanko also was charged with resisting arrest, although that charge was not listed in court records.

“I do believe the bond is too high, and most likely we'll be addressing that with the court,” Shrager said.

Stanko faces an April 23 preliminary hearing before Latrobe District Judge Michael Mahady.

State troopers Thursday morning converged on a Unity property Stanko owns and were seen sifting through a burn barrel.

Gross' mother, Kathleen, reported her missing Monday. Gross had last talked to her mother by phone the previous Saturday afternoon and didn't show up Monday at her job in Pittsburgh. Her dog, which is blind, was found along Beatty County Road, a few miles from her apartment and about five miles from Twin Lakes Park.

On Tuesday, police found Gross' red 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander along railroad tracks in a wooded area near Twin Lakes Park, three days after her family and friends last spoken with her. The SUV had been burned almost beyond recognition. The Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department Rescue Dive Team searched at least one pond for evidence, near Stanko's mother's home at the end of White Fence Lane in Unity, next to Unity Cemetery.

Police are seeking information from anyone who may have seen Gross' SUV in the Twin Lakes area or any other unusual activity. The license plate is HLP-1411.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police in Greensburg at 724-832-3288 or 911.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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