2009-03-05 / Front Page

Charges Bound Over Against Six Hustontown Burglars

Only one preliminary hearing requested Monday
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Charges have been bound over to the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas against six young Hustontown men accused of committing a rash of crimes, including burglary, theft and mischief against neighbors, business owners and even family members for well over a year.

In speaking with the "News" immediately following Fulton County Central Court on March 2, District Attorney Travis Kendall confirmed Max Harold McQuait III, 2149 N. Clear Ridge Road; Christopher George Shotts of 3823 North Clear Ridge Road; Brian Allen Cutchall, 379 Pitt Street; Jonathan Lee Kauffman of 7475 Waterfall Road; and Samuel Gardner Ranck III, 353 Pitt Street, waived their right to a preliminary hearing in connection with the incidents that occurred mostly in northern Fulton County.

Only Joshua Michael Weaver of 3404 North Clear Ridge Road opted for a preliminary hearing on Monday. Weaver and Mc- Quait both face charges of conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property for an incident that reportedly occurred in April at Remsburg Service Center salvage yard where a large number of catalytic converters were reported missing.

Weaver, who was represented in court proceedings by attorney Richard Weber, did not take the stand on his behalf. Mc- Quait, however, was called to the stand by the commonwealth to testify to his involvement as well as Weaver's in the April 25 incident off R&D Lane in Todd Township. McQuait stated he and Weaver both attended the Forbes Road School District and in recent times have "partied and hung out together." Mc- Quait added it is "possible" that they smoked "weed" before committing the crime, which included a one-eighth mile hike each direction to remove the converters.

The converters, according to Remsburg Service Center employee Roger Sowers, were valued at $50 to $150 depending on the type and size. They were stored in a van in the salvage yard until they could be sold in bulk to scrap metal yards.

McQuait was unable to provide a figure as to the amount of money he and Weaver received in selling the stolen converters to various scrap yards.

After reviewing testimony from McQuait and Sowers, Magisterial District Judge Carol Jean Johnson ruled there was sufficient or adequate evidence presented for a prima facie case. As a result, charges against Weaver were also bound over to the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas.

The next scheduled appearance in court for the six Hustontown area men will be formal arraignment in the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas. Of the six men, only McQuait, Shotts and Kauffman have been unable to post bail and remain incarcerated in the Franklin County Prison.

While defense attorneys spoke with magisterial district judges Johnson and Devin Horne as well as District Attorney Kendall regarding the charges filed against their clients, investigating Trooper James Lupey and victim services coordinator Carolyn Kerlin met with victims regarding restitution and various court-related matters.

The men have been tied to more than 20 different incidents in Fulton County, with the first dating back to June 2007 and the most recent occurring in mid-December 2008. They have also been linked to incidents in neighboring Bedford and Huntingdon counties, where a salt spreader was stolen and a breakin was reported at a pizza shop. Money was stolen in the majority of the incidents, but metal objects that could be scrapped for cash were also reported missing in several incidents.

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