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4 charged in parking meter thefts

| Thursday, May 10, 2012, 6:47 p.m.

Four people have been charged with stealing parking meters in Jeannette, including three already jailed on charges stemming from the theft of meters in Greensburg.

Jeannette police arrested Edward Watkins, 21, whose last known address was 1009 Dithridge St., Jeannette; Sarah Chelan, 19, of 1516 Pine St., Greensburg; Robert Postlethwait, 21, of 317 Harrison Ave., Jeannette, and Nicholas Heasley, 18, of 919 Arlington Ave., Jeannette.

The suspects were arraigned Thursday before Jeannette District Justice Mary DiClaudio on eight counts each of theft, receiving stolen property, criminal conspiracy to commit theft and criminal mischief. They were taken to Westmoreland County Prison with bail set at $10,000 each. Preliminary hearings are scheduled before DiClaudio at 9:30 a.m. May 13.

Watkins, Postlethwait and Chelan already were in Westmoreland County Prison after being charged with stealing and breaking open six Greensburg parking meters. In that case, bond was set at $3,500 for Chelan and Postlethwait and $7,000 for Watkins. They face preliminary hearings on those charges May 6 before Greensburg District Justice James Albert.

Meters taken in Jeannette last week included one in front of City Hall, another from South Third Street near Persichetti's restaurant, another from in front of Family Dollar on Clay Avenue, one on Bullitt Avenue and one near Pitzer's Townhouse Restaurant.

The suspects found loose meters, pulled them out of the concrete and placed them in the truck, police said.

They would drive to Beaver Road, break the meters open by slamming them on the ground, throw them over the embankment and divide the money, according to police.

Police said three of the suspects reported receiving $30 in change from the theft of three of the meters. The police report also said Chelan received $50 for the week's worth of meter thefts in Jeannette. Watkins reported receiving $25 from one meter and $5 from another meter, which he said he took by himself, police said.

The change was then taken to a store and exchanged for paper currency.

"They caused a little havoc for about a week," said Jeannette police Chief Jeff Stahl. "But our guys did a good job of catching them pretty quickly."

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