CLEARFIELD – A 24-year-old Clearfield man who has been accused of stealing tree trimming saws and equipment from his former employer waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
Robert Lee Runyan, 24, of the CCJ, has been charged with receiving stolen property. His bail has been set at $25,000 monetary.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on May 25, state police responded to an alleged theft in the parking lot behind 200 Shady Lane Dr. in Rush Township. There, he met Bradley Wright, a foreman for Davey Tree Service.
Wright told state police four company vehicles were broken into while parked there. He said numerous pieces of tree cutting and climbing equipment had been stolen from them. The stolen items included 14 various Stihl chainsaws, eight climbing saddles, five tree spikes used for climbing and three gas cans and safety bags.
Wright said that the total loss was estimated at $12,370. He further advised that the trucks had been parked in the lot for approximately one month without any problems.
On June 7, Wright contacted the state police by phone and advised than an employee, Justin Unch, approached him. Unch said that his friend had been approached by Runyan in the Sheetz parking lot in Clearfield. Runyan asked Unch’s friend if he wanted to buy a trim saw, which the friend did and gave to Unch.
Unch brought the saw to Wright, who contacted his office and provided the serial number for the saw. Wright was advised that the saw had been purchased by his company, Davey Tree Service, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Wright told state police that Runyan had worked for Davey Tree Service but was fired prior to the theft for poor attendance. He said Runyan was well aware of where the vehicles were parked, and he worked out of the truck that had the most items stolen. Wright said it appeared the suspect was knowledgeable, because they were selective in stealing items.
On June 7, state police spoke with Unch at his job site on state Route 53. He said his friend, Brad Robbins contacted him and asked if he wanted a trim saw to which he inquired about the saw. Robbins told him that Runyan was selling one in the Sheetz parking lot. He said Robbins purchased the saw and gave it to him and he provided it to Wright.
On the same day, state police were contacted by Robbins, who said he was at Sheetz the evening of June 5. He was approached by Runyan, who asked if he wanted to buy a trim saw, and they agreed on $100. He said that the saw was in the trunk of Runyan’s car with other items, such as rope and saddles that are used for climbing.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on June 8, state police interviewed Runyan at his residence. He said he’d worked for Davey Tree Service for approximately one month before being fired. He said that he’s worked in the lumber field and has his own equipment and didn’t have any from Davey’s Tree Service.
In addition, Runyan told state police that he’s never sold any equipment that belonged to his former employer. Then, state police confronted Runyan about selling one of the company’s saws to Robbins for $100.
He told police he didn’t have any knowledge about the saw belonging to the company and he had purchased it for $100 from Jason McGonigal and another man. He said he’d purchased it approximately one week prior and then sold it to Robbins on June 6.
Runyan told state police he sold it to Robbins because he was “hunting for money.” He said the sale didn’t occur at Sheetz, but he showed it to Robbins while they were there. He said he sold the saw to Robbins at J&G Food Warehouse.
State police also questioned Runyan about having other equipment that belonged to Davey’s Tree Service. He denied having any at which point state police asked to search the residence, the outdoor shed and the vehicles on the property. Runyan granted permission.
After checking the residence and vehicles, the state police didn’t yield any results. However, after checking the outdoor shed, state police recovered two Stihl chainsaws, a yellow Davey helmet, two green Davey saddles and a set of tree climbing spikes.
When he was confronted about the recovered items, Runyan didn’t have any explanation for having them. All the items were seized and taken to the Philipsburg-based state police barracks.
On June 8, Wright arrived at the barracks and inspected the items that were seized from Runyan. He confirmed that all of the items were stolen from Davey’s Tree Service. Wright took all of the items back into his possession. The value of these items, including the chainsaw sold to Robbins, was $1,205.30.