The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 24, 2009

Ex-weatherman faces new theft counts

EBENSBURG — Authorities allege that a former television weatherman stole $7,500 from his landscaping employer just days before he fled the country for four years rather than face a possible prison sentence for sexual abuse.

James “Jay Patrick” Holcomb was taken to the Richland Township police station Tuesday for processing in two pending cases, one involving an alleged check-cashing scheme and the other an escape charge.

Holcomb, 43, left the county in March 2005 shortly before he was scheduled to be sentenced on his no-contest pleas to charges of sexually abusing a girl during a three-year period beginning in 2000, when she was 6 years old.

He was apprehended earlier this month in Kiev, Ukraine, and brought back to the United States, initially to the Manhattan Detention Center in New York. On Monday, he was returned to Cambria County Prison.

On Tuesday, he was fingerprinted and photographed at the Richland station in the two pending cases.

They are as follows:

• A felony charge of escape, alleging that Holcomb fled March 21, 2005. At the time, he was wearing an ankle bracelet for electronic monitoring while awaiting sentencing by Judge Gerard Long.

County Detective Gary Makosy alleged in an affidavit that Holcomb – who had permission to leave his residence for work – had failed to show up for his job at an Upper Yoder Township landscaping business and never returned to his apartment. He previously worked as a weatherman at WJAC-TV.

• Two counts of forgery, five counts of theft and five counts of receiving stolen property filed by Upper Yoder police.

Police Chief Walter Howell alleged that on or about March 14, 2004, Holcomb stole three blank checks from a desk at Lichtenfels Nursery.

Holcomb allegedly forged two of them – one for $630 made out to him and the other for $1,450, made out to his business, Eagle Point Consulting of Belfast, Maine.

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