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Alleged crook covers ground

| Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011

A Roscoe man allegedly stole a truck in Monessen, grabbed a purse in Rostraver Township and led police on a chase through three Mon Valley municipalities.

According to Monessen police, John Jeffries Jr., 45, stole a Chevrolet truck owned by Gary Smith, of Monessen, while it was parked at 143 Schoonmaker Ave., at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.

A short time later, Rostraver Township police received a report that a woman had her purse stolen while she was in the Walmart parking lot.

The victim provided a description and a license plate number to police. who quickly learned it was the truck stolen in Monessen.

North Belle Vernon police Chief James Bedsworth was traveling on Trail Alley when he spied the stolen truck.

With Bedsworth in pursuit, the truck turned onto Henry Street at high speed. Bedsworth said the vehicle sped through stop signs on Henry Street with pedestrians on the sidewalks.

The vehicle chase continued over Monongahela Street and ended when Jeffries allegedly stopped the truck in the driveway at 166 Johnston Ave.

Bedsworth said Jeffries left the truck and ran, adding the stolen purse was left in the truck.

The Rostraver Township K-9 officer was called to assist, along with officers from Monessen and Charleroi.

Jeffries was arrested about a half-hour later near State Road in Monessen.

Under arrest, Jeffries reportedly told police the truck keys were in a cinder block under a bridge in a creek near State Road. Police said they found the keys there.

North Belle Vernon police charged Jeffries with two counts of receiving stolen property, fleeing or attempting to elude police, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving and traffic violations.

Monessen police charged him with theft by unlawful taking.

Rostraver Township police charged Jeffries with two counts of receiving stolen property and theft by unlawful taking.

He was arraigned twice -?before Magisterial District Judges Charles Christner in West Newton and Magisterial District Joseph Dalfonso in Monessen. Each set bail at $10,000.

Jeffries was placed in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post bail.

He faces preliminary hearings 9:15 a.m. Sept. 23 before Dalfonso and 9:15 a.m. Sept. 26 before Christner.

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