Agents again raid Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office
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 .