Agents again raid Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Agents again raid Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office

Rich Cholodofsky
1066807_web1_gtr-sheriffsearch002-042519
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Investigators leave the Westmoreland County Courthhouse in Greensburg on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, after serving a search warrant on the sheriff’s office. They loaded several boxes of potential evidence into the backseat.
1066807_web1_gtr-sheriffsearch001-042519
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Investigators leave the Westmoreland County Courthhouse in Greensburg on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, after serving a search warrant on the sheriff’s office. They loaded several boxes of potential evidence into the backseat.

Turmoil continues at the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office as state police investigators on Wednesday served another search warrant and departed with boxes of potential evidence.

Details remain secret, but Sheriff Jonathan Held made one thing clear: “It’s not about me, this time.”

He delivered that message when he briefly emerged from his office inside the downtown Greensburg courthouse as agents worked inside.

“Everything is under seal, and I can’t talk about it,” Held said.

Investigators arrived shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday and left through a back door two hours later with about six boxes, according to sources. They searched the office for evidence and questioned staff, according to several deputies who were in the office during the raid.

It was the second time in just over a year that Held’s office was searched.

State agents in March 2018 raided his office and seized two computers as part of an investigation into allegations Held used sheriff department staff for campaign purposes. That investigation led to criminal charges filed against the sheriff that are still pending. A trial in December ended after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

A potential retrial is on hold as Held’s attempt to have the case against him dismissed is pending in the state appeals court.

Meanwhile, no information was immediately available about what investigators sought Wednesday.

Sources said a county judge this week signed three sealed search warrants for the office.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office filed the criminal charges against Held last year.

The attorney general’s office was not involved in Wednesday’s raid, a spokesman said.

District Attorney John Peck said his office was involved in the probe.

“The search warrant was part of an investigation, and we don’t have any other comment beyond that,” Peck said.

Since Held became sheriff in 2012, his office has been besieged with allegations of improprieties among its administrators and deputies that ranged from the public corruption charges against Held, to summary harassment charges against his chief deputy and captain, who have since been fired.

Criminal charges also have been filed against deputies for drug offenses and drunken driving. Last year, criminal charges were filed against a deputy alleging he sent sexually suggestive text messages to a teenage girl.

That case against now-former deputy Bobby Neiderhiser, 39, of Mt. Pleasant, is still pending. His trial is scheduled to begin in July.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.