The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 22, 2013

Local and state in brief: Fire damages office trailer

(Continued)

BOSWELL —

Inquest to probe market shooting

GREENSBURG – A coroner has scheduled an inquest into a state trooper’s fatal shooting of a man who reportedly attacked the officer with scissors at a Westmoreland County supermarket.

Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth Bacha will hold the inquest Tuesday at the county courthouse in Greensburg. Bacha routinely holds such public hearings on police-related shooting deaths.

A 10-year veteran trooper identified by Bacha as Chad Cope, shot 26-year-old Seth O’Donnell of East Huntingdon Township on Jan. 4, allegedly after O’Donnell tried to stab the trooper with scissors. Police have said most of the blows were absorbed by the trooper’s bulletproof vest, though he did receive six stitches for a cut to his head.

Police said O’Donnell was acting erratically before police were called to the Save-A-Lot on Route 119 after O’Donnell began eating snacks without paying for them.

Alleged beer burglar caught

ALTOONA – A man has been jailed on charges he climbed through a roof vent in a failed attempt to steal two 30-packs of cheap beer from a Blair County store.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for 20-year-old Derek Dasher, of Tyrone, who faces a preliminary hearing April 4 on burglary and other charges.

The Altoona Mirror reported that Dasher climbed into the cooler at Cassidy’s Brew Zoo through the vent about 5 p.m. Wednesday while the store was still open for business.

Police say he took two packs of Keystone Light worth $36.99 and ran out the back door, but was caught by an employee.

Police said Dasher was in the store’s office when they arrived and acknowledged stealing the beer.

He remained in the Blair County Prison on Friday.

Century-old whiskey consumed

GREENSBURG – Fifty-two bottles of well-aged whiskey disappeared between his lips, police said, and now it’s time for a Westmoreland County man to settle up.

John Saunders, the former live-in caretaker of a Scottdale area mansion, faces criminal charges for allegedly drinking more than $100,000 worth of the owner’s whiskey.

Owner Patricia Hill found nine cases of whiskey hidden in the walls and stairwell of the century-old Georgian mansion built by coal and coke industrialist J.P. Brennan after she bought it in 2012.

The Old Farm Pure Rye Whiskey was produced in the early 1900s by the nearby West Overton Distilling Co.

“My guess is that Mr. Brennan ordered 10 cases pre-Prohibition,” said Hill, a New Yorker who bought the house to convert it into a bed-and-breakfast. “I was told by his family that family members used to greet him at the door each day with a shot of whiskey.”

Scottdale police told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Saunders drank dozens of bottles of the whiskey valued at $102,400 by a New York auction house.

Saunders, 62, of Irwin, was charged with receiving stolen property and theft. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Hill told police Chief Barry Pritts she stored the whiskey in the original cases, which contained 12 bottles each. After Saunders moved out, Hill said she discovered last March that the bottles in four cases were empty.

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