The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 27, 2013

Crime Roundup | Police: Pair stole jewelry, cash from man, 95

HOLLSOPPLE — Two men with criminal records befriended a 95-year-old Hollsopple resident and then stole money and jewelry valued at more than $25,000 from him, according to police in Conemaugh Township, Somerset County.

Ronald Lawane Webb Jr., 55, and Jamie Leroy Blough, 40, are accused of befriending Joseph Belle, then entering his home and making off with an oval sapphire and diamond ring valued at about $9,950. They also are accused of stealing $15,000 worth of assorted jewelry and $2,000 cash.

“They preyed upon him,” police Detective Michael Popma said. “They used the friendship they forged to take advantage of him.”

Belle said he is finding out there are many people you can’t trust.

“The way society is today everybody’s on drugs or stealing,” he said.

Belle said he made friends with Webb, who had done some work at Belle’s restaurant, Joe’s Place, in Johnstown.

After the power went out at Belle’s Hollsopple residence around Thanksgiving, he said Webb and his friend Blough came to help.

“I had no electricity and no heat,” Belle said.

“They said, ‘Joe, you can’t stay here. Why don’t you come to my girlfriend’s place for turkey dinner?’ ”  

They drove him to Webb’s girlfriend’s house in Johnstown.

“They fed me a nice turkey dinner with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie for dessert,” Belle said.

Belle, a World War II Army veteran, said he spent the night on a couch

at Webb’s home in Johnstown, but Webb and Blough left sometime during the night.

“They went to my house and broke into the cellar window and took cash and jewelry,” Belle said.

He said the jewelry had belonged to his sister, who had died a few months earlier.

Popma said a few of the lower-value items have been recovered. The rest is gone.

“I don’t know how I could have been sucked into such a stupid deal,” Belle lamented.

Charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft and receivingstolen property were filed Tuesday against Webb and Blough before District Judge Susan Mankamyer of Boswell.

Blough is charged with unrelated crimes and is in State Corrections Institution-Cresson.

Webb, also charged with other crimes, is in Progress Community Correction Center in Waynesburg, Greene County.


HASTINGS – Borough police are searching for the robber who stole cash from a local store.

A man wearing a camouflage jacket, blue jeans, a ski cap and a scarf covering his face entered P&P Pit Stop at 10:47 p.m. Monday and demanded money from the female clerk, Hastings police Chief Ron Sharkey said.

“He said he wasn’t kidding,” Sharkey said. “The man lifted his jacket, indicating he had a weapon, but no weapon was displayed.”

The robber reached over the counter as the clerk opened the cash drawer, grabbed a handful of cash and fled, Sharkey said. No one was injured in the incident.

A police dog from Northern Cambria Borough tracked the suspect but lost the scent near Spangler Street.

An off-duty police officer was getting out of his vehicle on Spangler Street when he saw a tan minivan speeding by with no lights on, Sharkey said.

The robber is described as a stocky white male around 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall.

Anyone with information on the latest incident is asked to contact authorities at 800-281-1680.

The last robbery in Hastings was at Fowler’s Pharmacy in February 2001.

Assault, threats

A Johnstown man was jailed after he was accused of stalking a home heath-care worker, threatening her while she was with a patient and injuring a police officer during a struggle.

The woman became alarmed when Mark Wayne Sollenberger rode his bicycle past the house in Kernville where she was visiting a patient, city police said in a criminal complaint.

The care worker told police her patient wanted to go to Sheetz on Haynes Street so she drove the patient there, and Sollenberger showed up.

“Video showed Sollenberger walking up to the driver’s side window and raising his closed fist at (the woman) several times,” police said in the complaint. “It appears an assault was imminent.”

Police said Sollenberger fought with two officers who tried to arrest him. One officer suffered a broken right hand during the struggle.

The incident occurred on Feb. 22.

Sollenberger, 46, of the 100 block of North Street, was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats and resisting arrest.

He was arraigned by on-call District Judge Michael Musulin of Johnstown and sent to the Cambria County Prison after failing to post 10 percent of $30,000.

Threats, endangering

A Lower Yoder Township man faces several criminal charges after police said he pointed a loaded semi-automatic handgun at his girlfriend and threatened to shoot her.

The woman told West Hills Regional police that John V. Lantzy “got a gun and pointed it to my head,” officers said in a criminal complaint.

Police said the woman reported he gave her five minutes to leave the residence and threw a bottle at her as she left.

Officers said they later retrieved a silver-and-black semi-automatic handgun from the home, where the woman said she had hidden it after Lantzy put the gun down.

The incident occurred Monday.

The woman reported that Lantzy had threatened her several times before, police said.

Lantzy, 39, of the 100 block of Tremont Road, was charged with terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and harassment.

He was arraigned by on-call District Judge Max Pavlovich of Richland Township and was freed after posting $5,000.


ARMAGH – State police are searching for an Armagh woman who allegedly stole $71,230 from an 85-year-old woman.

Troopers said Sheryl Bostian, 60, was involved with the older woman’s financial affairs when she allegedly stole the money between July 2009 and January 2013.

A warrant was issued for Bostian’s arrest.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts can contact state police in Indiana at


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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