Man Waives Hearing in Scrap Metal Theft Cases

CLEARFIELD – One man accused of stealing scrap metal from coal strip mining sites and camps and then selling it for money waived his right to a preliminary hearing during Centralized Court Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.

Joseph David McPherson, 49, of Clearfield has been charged with theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property in three, different cases. In a fourth case, he’s been charged with burglary; criminal conspiracy/burglary; criminal conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking; theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; and criminal mischief. In a fifth case, he’s been charged with theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; criminal conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking; and criminal conspiracy/receiving stolen property.

Co-defendant Brian Donald Demi, 43, of Curwensville had his hearings continued until Feb. 13, 2013. He has been charged with theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property in three, different cases and only receiving stolen property in a fourth case. In a fifth case, he’s been charged with burglary; criminal conspiracy/burglary; theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; criminal mischief; and criminal conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking. In a sixth case, he’s been charged with theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; criminal conspiracy/theft by unlawful taking; and criminal conspiracy/receiving stolen property

According to the affidavits of probable cause, on July 30 or July 31 McPherson and Demi allegedly removed several items of scrap metal from a coal strip mining job site located in a wooded area off state Route 153 in Woodward Township. The job site and parts are owned by the Northern Sun Coal Company.

McPherson and Demi loaded the scrap metal items into a pick-up truck, which is owned by McPherson but registered to another individual. McPherson and Demi allegedly removed scrap metal (150 loose nuts and bolts); six steel pins; and two master pads for a bulldozer. The total value of the stolen items is estimated at $5,000.

On July 31 McPherson and Demi allegedly transported the stolen items to Novey Recycling, where they subsequently sold it as scrap metal for $68.82.

On Aug. 2 several bulldozer parts were allegedly dissembled and stolen from the same job site as the prior incident. The stolen parts included four track pads, two front wheel covers, wheel covers, two master pad bolts, a roller cap and miscellaneous scrap iron.

On the same date, Demi and McPherson transported the stolen items to Novey Recycling, where they subsequently sold it as scrap metal for $239.

On Aug. 3 a Novey Recycling employee contacted Northern Sun Coal Company. The employee notified the company that they had received some heavy equipment parts from Demi that they believed belonged to them.

A company employee responded to Novey Recycling and identified the parts as that belonging to the Northern Sun Coal Company.

State police responded to Novey Recycling and obtained receipts that listed the items sold by Demi.

Sometime between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4, Demi and McPherson traveled to the Northern Sun Coal Company’s strip mining site located off Ridge Road in Girard Township. Upon their arrival, Demi and McPherson allegedly broke the pad locks on two, separate semi-boxed trailers that were used for storage.

Demi and McPherson allegedly removed several items from the trailers. The stolen parts included: two shanks for D-11 dozer; new Hensley shovel tooth; D-11 dozer transmission water pump; clamps; bolts; and a D-8 dozer battery. The total value of the stolen parts is estimated at $6,840. Damage is estimated at $40.

Demi and McPherson then loaded the stolen items and went to Novey Recycling, where they sold it as scrap metal.

On Sept. 13, McPherson and Demi arrived at a victim’s camp located on Medix Grade Road in Goshen Township. Upon arrival they allegedly removed a homemade steel cooker from behind the victim’s camp and loaded it into a pick-up truck. The total value of the stolen cooker is estimated at $200. The next day, McPherson and Demi transported the stolen cooker to Novey Recycling and sold it as scrap metal.

On Sept. 13, McPherson and Demi arrived at a victim’s camp on Medix Grade Road in Goshen Township. Upon arrival they allegedly cut a 90-foot copper electrical wire that ran from the camp to another outside building that’s used as a shed. They loaded the wire into a pick-up truck; the total value of the stolen wire is estimated at $75. The next day, McPherson and Demi transported the stolen wire to Novey Recycling, where they sold it as scrap metal.

Also on Sept. 13, McPherson and Demi arrived at a victim’s camp on Medix Grade Road in Goshen Township. Upon arrival they allegedly removed several metal items that were located outside at the rear of the camp. McPherson and Demi loaded them into a pick-up truck.

McPherson and Demi allegedly stole the following items: a cast iron sink, a 10-guage, 50-foot pump line; a 7-foot flu pipe for a gas stove; a log roller; a 5-foot flu pipe; eye bolts and miscellaneous scrap metal. The total value of the stolen items is estimated at $173. The next day, McPherson and Demi transported the stolen items to Novey Recycling, where they sold it as scrap metal for $169.47. A check was issued to McPherson for the total amount.

On Sept. 17, state police interviewed one victim at the Clearfield barracks. He told police he had several items stolen from his camp on Sept. 13. He had been at his camp Sept. 9; when he returned Sept. 15, he noticed items were missing from behind his camp. He checked his trail camera, and in some of the pictures, he observed two people in a blue- and white-colored Ford pick-up truck.

The victim then checked a neighboring camp and noticed a homemade cooking grill was missing from behind it. He then contacted the owner of that camp and informed him. In addition, he mentioned hearing about an Irvona camp that had been unlawfully entered recently by suspects who were operating a blue- and white-colored pick-up truck. He said it matched the description of that pictured at his camp.

On Sept. 17 the victim said he went to Novey Recycling and observed some of the stolen items in a pile that were sold by McPherson on Sept. 14. He said he’d identified the cast iron sink and some items that had been stolen from his camp. On Sept. 17 state police interviewed a Novey Recycling employee who indicated they had a grill and bumper jack that had been brought in by McPherson and Demi on Sept. 14. The items were set aside after the victim had observed them and stated that they belonged to another victim.

On Sept. 17, state police were provided with pictures from the victim’s trail camera that captured McPherson and Demi, and their truck while at the victim’s camp. These images were contained on a memory card, which the victim provided. On the same date, state police transferred 11 images from the memory card to the station’s computer and then onto two CDs.

On Sept. 26 state police interviewed McPherson at the Clearfield barracks. He admitted to committing several thefts from camps and strip mining sites in the area. He admitted to being at the victim’s camp with Demi and they’d removed items from behind it. He said he had removed a metal fire ring and some pieces of metal that appeared to be grates from a grill.

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