Bail set at $100K in 2 new cases against Unity man linked to woman’s disappearance
Bail was set Wednesday at $100,000 in two new cases against a Unity man who has been linked to the homicide investigation of Cassandra Gross, a woman last seen more than a year ago.
Thomas Stanko, 48, was arraigned on new solicitation allegations filed by state police. He remains in custody.
In the new cases, Stanko is accused of sending a 24-page letter to a woman asking her to falsify a receipt for an all-terrain vehicle he allegedly stole and requesting she steal electricity from the Westmoreland County Housing Authority to charge the battery on a vehicle in his Greensburg storage unit, according to court papers.
Gross, who would turn 53 May 17, was last heard from April 7, 2018, when she spoke with her mother by phone while driving to her Unity apartment. State police have officially deemed the disappearance a homicide.
Stanko has denied any involvement. No arrests have been made. His attorney believes authorities are abusing their power by repeatedly filing new criminal charges and other actions in past cases.
Preliminary hearings on several criminal solicitation counts are set for June 21.
Investigators have been seen searching a few times in and around Unity Cemetery, which is near a property Stanko owns. In the days after Gross was reported missing, state police descended on Stanko’s Macey Road home and a White Fence Lane property where his mother lives. That’s where they found the ATV that had been reported missing in 1997, according to court papers.
Gross was declared legally dead by a judge in January.
Her credit cards have not been used since she disappeared. The only withdrawals from her bank account have been automatic transactions.
Baxter, her blind, diabetic dog, was found April 9, 2018, wandering alone in the Beatty Crossroads area. The next day, her Mitsubishi Outlander was found burned along a rail line near Twin Lakes Park.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .