The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 6, 2012

Midday briefing: Thief steals presents for the needy

News from around the state

UNIONTOWN — You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

State police are searching for whoever stole about 20 presents earmarked for needy children from a Fayette County church.

Pastor Ewing Marietta's church has a "tree of angels" listing the gender and ages of poorer children, for whom members of his Liberty Baptist Church buy presents. They were to be given out at a church celebration on Dec. 23.

Marietta says the woman who runs the program noticed they were gone when she returned Tuesday from several sick days. After checking to ensure the presents hadn't been moved or stored elsewhere, church officials called police Wednesday.

The North Union Township Church, about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, is hoping to raise money to replace the presents with a Friday auction and a Gospel concert Saturday.

Ex-Pittsburgh employee to plead in computer scam

PITTSBURGH — A systems analyst who no longer works for the City of Pittsburgh is scheduled to plead guilty to helping a man fraudulently obtain a $327,000 contract to install radios and computers in Pittsburgh police cars.

Federal court records show Christine Ann Kebr is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday before a federal judge.

She's charged with conspiring with 63-year-old Arthur Bedway Jr., of Robinson Township, and an unnamed woman who pretended to be the owner of his Alpha Outfitters business,, which got the set-aside contract because the city believed the company was female-owned.

Kebr is charged with taking a $3,000 bribe to help prepare the fraudulent bid.

Bedway is still awaiting trial, but his attorney contends that Bedway's contract was a "bargain" for the city and nobody was harmed by the deal.

DEP recants on source of ink-stained creek

CONNELLSVILLE — The state Department of Environmental Protection is now saying it can't conclusively prove that ink from an envelope printing plant turned a Fayettee County creek a deep blue early last month.

DEP officials on Monday said that a contractor had improperly disposed of the ink, and that investigators followed a trail of ink on the highway from the contractor's house on the creek in Connellsville Township to an envelope printing plant. As a result, the DEP said then it had cited the envelope firm.

But spokesman John Poister now tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that was incorrect and that the contractor, but not the envelope company, has been cited.

The envelope firm is cooperating, but Poister says the focus is the contractor who the DEP believes has been illegally storing other materials on his property.

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