Police: Westmoreland jail inmate made shank from toothbrush
A Pittsburgh man accused of stealing items from unlocked vehicles in Hempfield earlier this year allegedly had a homemade shank in his cell at the Westmoreland County Prison, according to court papers.
Douglas Allen Bartrug, 33, of Bloomfield, was charged last week with inmate possessing a weapon and prohibited offensive weapons.
Bartrug, previously of Hempfield, has been held at the jail since Feb. 15 on $100,000 bail on theft and related charges. He was arrested after residents in the Fort Allen neighborhood reported a suspicious man riding a bicycle at 3:50 a.m., according to police.
Authorities found him in possession of a handgun and numerous other items belonging to neighborhood residents, police said. A previous felony conviction prohibits him from having a firearm. Police said Bartrug’s pickup truck was parked nearby.
Bartrug was arraigned Monday on the new charges. Bail was set at $50,000.
The reported weapon was found Aug. 6 in Bartrug’s cell by jail officials, according to court papers. Investigators described the item as a red toothbrush with the bristles removed that was sharpened into a point.
Bartrug took responsibility for the item, according to county detectives. His attorney could not be reached. A preliminary hearing on the new case is set for Sept. 20.
A Sept. 6 status conference is set in the theft case.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .