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Westmoreland

Murrysville man accused of theft from eagle cam company PixController

Joe Napsha
| Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, 4:18 p.m.
Two eaglets are tended to by a parent in 2016 at their nest in Pittsburgh’s Hays neighborhood. The footage was recorded by cameras placed by PixController Inc. of Murrysville.
Two eaglets are tended to by a parent in 2016 at their nest in Pittsburgh’s Hays neighborhood. The footage was recorded by cameras placed by PixController Inc. of Murrysville.

A Murrysville man is accused of stealing more than $13,000 in computer parts and equipment from his former employer that live streams wildlife, including bald eagle nests.

Rick Furnari, 57, allegedly stole equipment from PixController Inc. of Murrysville. He also disrupted his employer’s computer system to deny the owner, William Powers Jr., access when he fired Furnari in October 2015, police said.

PixController specializes in wireless products “for outdoor applications designed for long-term monitoring of remote sites without AC power or wired Internet,” according to its website. Its clients include the National Parks Service, Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

PixController’s cameras have attracted local attention for years , particularly those streaming nesting bald eagles in Hays, where they’ve captured video of eaglets hatching.

Additionally, Furnari faces accusations that he forged documents from his daughter’s information technology firm, Krisson Technologies Inc. of Plum, to obtain thousands of dollars for products and services.

The criminal activities occurred between August 2014 and October 2015, according to a complaint filed this week by Murrysville and Westmoreland County detectives.

Furnari allegedly sent invoices under the names of Krisson Technologies and Pix Industries to customers for work he did. One invoice from Pix Industries was sent to Shale Gas and Innovation and Commercialization for $2,993, with the name “Krisson Technologies” under the heading.

His daughter told investigators she was not familiar with the billings and did not receive money from Pix Controller in June 2015. She told investigators her father was not involved in the business and was not an employee.

Furnari is charged with two counts of theft and single counts of forgery, unlawful use of computer and disruption of service. The charges were filed before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Sept. 18.

Furnari denied the charges Friday.

“I was a partner there (Pix Industries), and there was no theft,” he said. “These are all false charges.”

Furnari blamed the filing of the charges on what he said was a poor business relationship with Powers.

“That was like a bad marriage,” Furnari said.

Powers, president of Pix Controller, declined to comment.

Powers had filed a civil lawsuit in Westmoreland County against Furnari in January 2016, alleging Furnari committed some of the actions outlined in the criminal complaint. The lawsuit was settled in December 2017, but Powers returned to court in May seeking to force Furnari to comply with terms of the settlement to return certain files and other materials.

No further court action has been listed.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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