Police arrest 'Roof Top Burglars'
Three Westmoreland County residents have been charged in connection with a 15-day burglary spree last month that targeted business establishments throughout several northern and eastern Allegheny County communities.
Because those responsible gained access to several of the buildings by breaking in through a roof vent, Allegheny County police investigators began dubbing them the "Roof Top Burglars," said county police Superintendent Kenneth Fulton.
Those arrested were Scott David Baird and his wife, Janean Manglialardi Baird, both 22, and John Thomas Russ III, 30, who police said all live at Russ' home in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue, New Kensington.
A warrant has been issued for a fourth person, Thomas Britton, 31, of Turtle Creek.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed to support the charges, Scott Baird is believed to be responsible for at least eight break-ins, Russ at least seven and Janean Baird two.
Britton is charged in connection with one burglary.
Baird and his wife, who are 1997 graduates of Plum High School and own a home on Providence Drive in Plum, were arrested on Nov. 10, several hours after a man in a ski mask was caught on a surveillance camera breaking the window of the CoGo's Company store in Springdale Borough and stealing several Pennsylvania Instant Lottery tickets.
Later that morning, a man and a woman tried to cash the tickets in at a CoGo's store in New Kensington. The clerk noticed the tickets were listed as stolen and refused to pay them.
He did, however, take down a license number of a car which police found belongs to a relative of Scott Baird and had been reported stolen.
That afternoon, police were called to a disturbance on Fourth Avenue where they found Janean Baird involved in an altercation with Russ.
Police spotted the ski mask in Russ' home along with several lottery tickets. Russ told officers the couple had been staying with him for a short time.
The burglary spree apparently began shortly before midnight on Oct. 12 when someone caused substantial damage to a roof at Wagner's Market in Hampton Township but fled after an alarm system was activated.
While county detectives were still there, someone broke through the roof of Quizno's Subs restaurant in Hampton and stole cash and a drop safe containing some $750.
Five days later, burglars broke through a window at Messina's Pizza - which is located in the same building as Wagner's - and stole $350 in cash.
The next day - Oct. 18 - someone broke through the roof of the Village Inn in Verona and stole a cash box drawer.
On Oct. 20, someone tried to break a window at Jack's Service Station in Indiana Township - not far from Wagner's - and finally broke in through an exhaust and air conditioning unit. Some $400 was taken in that burglary.
The front door of the Natrona Heights Food Mart in Harrison Township was smashed and someone grabbed $3,300 worth of Pennsylvania Instant Lottery tickets on Oct. 26.
Scott and Janean Baird also were arrested on a warrant issued by authorities in White Oak for the break-in of Lincoln Way Landscaping, police said.
The four are charged with various counts of burglary, receiving stolen property, dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities and conspiracy.
County police said they are trying to determine if any of the four are responsible for other burglaries in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Butler counties.
The Tribune-Review News Service contributed to this report.