Oklahoma man accused of stealing natural gas

Jeffrey Zinchini

Jeffrey Zinchini

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Allegheny Township, Pa. – An Oklahoma Borough business man is accused of stealing $207,000 worth of natural gas from Peoples -T.W. Phillips and faces three felony charges after his preliminary arraignment Tuesday afternoon in Allegheny Township.

According to the police criminal complaint, Jeffrey Zinchini, 57, of Orr Avenue allegedly tapped into a People’s natural gas line and was stealing natural gas from People’s and reselling in through his own well and pipeline.

On November 5th 2012, crew members from Peoples TW Phillips including a gas operations supervisor went to the area of 720 Community Park Drive to cut off a service line to the Vandergrift Golf Course maintenance building. That line had formerly been used to provide gas service to the Vandergrift Golf Course but had been shut off and the meter removed some time ago.

Accordingly the line should have no pressure in it and been empty of natural gas as the People’s valve to the service line was maintained by Peoples in the closed position. The expectation and knowledge of the workers was the closed People’s valve was the only potential source of gas to the service line. However, when they arrived the People’s valve to the service line had been opened and was left that way without the authorization or prior knowledge of Peoples.

The People’s worker then shut off the valve from their 3 inch line that supplied the service line. However, contrary to their expectation when workers cut the service line, pressurized natural gas was in a line and continued to feed through the line toward them. Eventually workers were able to discover the source of the gas. An unauthorized and unknown tap had been made ( a tee had been installed) into the People’s service line and was feeding gas into the same.

Approximately 40 feet away from the People’s service line an above ground manifold operated by Windfall Energy was observed. It’s configuration could account for the source of the gas as position of the valves was consistent with the middle riser being the source for the gas passing through the unauthorized tee into People’s service line.

The middle riser from the Windfall Energy manifold was confirmed as connecting to the People’s service line (at the point of the unauthorized tap in).

While People’s workers were on site, Jeff Zinchini , owner of Windfall Energy arrived. Zinchini was asked by the People’s workers whether he had any ideas if his facilities would have an effect on the pressure in the People’s system to which Zinchini replied ‘no”. Zinchini acted increasingly nervous, annoyed and paced and continued to ask Peoples workers how they knew there was a problem with the their pressure and why did they decide to dig where they did (in the area of the unknown and unauthorized tee).

The investigation and analysis into this incident took place over a period of 4 years between Allegheny Township Police, Peoples and the Westmoreland County Detective Bureau. Zinchini admitted to installing and maintaining the unauthorized tee into the People’s system.

Zinchini faces charges of Theft by Unlawful Taking, Deceptive Business Practices, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Criminal Mischief – Tamper W/Property. A May 26 preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:15 am at Magisterial District Judge Cheryl J. Peck-Yakopec district court in Allehgeny Township.


Lower Burrell woman died from dehydration


Lower Burrell, Pa. – Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha released the following information on the death Sheila M. Creevey, an 86 y/o female from 516 Arizona Drive in the City of Lower Burrell. Her date and time of death was listed as May 12, 2015 at 8:20 AM.

The Coroner reported the cause of Death as dehydration due to hyperthermia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. The manner of death was accidential. A missing person report was filed with police regarding the decedent, Sheila M. Creevey, on May 8, 2015. Searches by multiple agencies over the past few days were unsuccessful in locating the decedent. Recent weather conditions were humid, hazy and exceeding 90 degrees.

A neighbor of the decedent located her in his pickup truck on the morning of this date and notified 911. At the scene, Deputy Coroner Sean R. Hribal investigated the incident and pronounced the decedent dead at the scene. An autopsy was performed by Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and Pathology Associates on this date and his autopsy results are reflected in the cause of death above.

Lower Burrell Police Department also investigated and will release additional details at their discretion.


Lower Burrell woman found deceased

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 10:25 am

Lower Burrell, Pa. – Lower Burrell Police Chief Tim Weitzel has confirmed the finding of a Lower Burrel resident who police have been searching for since early Friday morning.

Investigators are currently on scene on Arizona Drive close to the decedents house. Sheila Creevy was found in a pickup truck about 7:00 am Tuesday morning.. Cheif Weitzel said there did not appear to be foul play with the incident and an autopsy will be performed. The coroner arrived on scene at about 8:30 am. Chief Weitzel said he was notified about 7:00 am of the finding.

(Update:)  Chief Weitzel said the vehicle she was found in was locked, her purse and wallet intact and it did not appear any criminal element occurred. An autopsy will be conducted today at noon. The scene was cleared by authorities about 10:15 am Tuesday morning.


Lower Burrell Police Chief requests residents help to locate missing woman

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 5:29 pm

Lower Burrell, Pa. – Police Chief Tim Weitzel has requested residents who live in the area of Arizona Drive and other nearby streets in Mrs. Creevy’s community to please check your sheds, outbuildings, porch areas, shrubbery areas, cars, trucks or secluded locations around your property to insure she has not been overlooked so close to her home.

Firefighters have intensified their search this afternoon and have re-searched areas over the hillside areas and along a sewer line path from the Lower Burrell Police Department to SR. 56 highway. Crews from Markle and Lower Burrell searched with ATV’s and dogs.

Westmoreland County TEAM 211 Rough Terrain Fire & Rescue (RTFR) also arrived on scene and searched with rescue dogs in an effort to locate the missing woman. RTFR is an all volunteer team that uses mostly their our own money to purchase and build all of the equipment that they use; from ATV’s, stokes baskets and trailers to water tanks, pumps and hand tools. Members pay for these things right out of their own pockets. The team currently responds throughout 5 counties providing their assistance, professionalism, experience, and service. They work with many agencies including the Red Cross, PEMA, FEMA, PA State Police and the PA Turnpike Commission just to name a few.

Also called in on the search late this afternoon was Citizen’s Hose from Natrona Heights and additional search crews from Armstrong County.


Upper Burrell scam alert – gypsy activity

(Stock Image)

Upper Burrell, Pa. – Upper Burrell Police are investigating several instances of possible gypsy activity after receiving four calls since Friday May 8, 2015.

In the scam, a male approaches the homeowner offering to clean their carpets free of charge and then offers the homeowner a handful to Tide laundry detergent pods as a gift. Police say one of the vehicles involved has been identified as a 2001 blue Ford Expedition with Tennessee plate of R7073T. TN.

There is another younger W/M passenger who appears to be between 20-25 years old and has yet to be identified. Police have been unable to come in contact with the persons as they flee to another area quickly after their services are refused. In one of the incidents, a female stated that she works for “Kirby Vacuums” who had just opened a new store in North Versailles and they were out promoting the business. The vehicle in this instance was reported to be a burgundy Chevrolet Tahoe or SUV.

Upper Burrell POlice Chief Kenneth Pate says these type of incidents sometimes end up with the homeowner discovering thefts from inside the home well after the solicitors leave. While one person speaks with the homeowners to distract them , another individual enters the home through another door and removes small items such as jewelry and cash.

Residents are encouraged to dial 911 if any persons comes in contact with these individuals.


Child luring suspect arrested in Arnold

Mark L. Diller

Mark L. Diller

(Image Courtesy WCJ)

Arnold, Pa. – Police in Arnold say an incident of child luring took place behind Ice Cream Heaven in the 1700 block of Freeport Road this past Saturday at 4:43 pm.

New Kensington Police received a call about this incident involving two juveniles who gave police a very good description of the actor and actor’s vehicle. The juveniles stated that the actor engaged them in talking and that he could help one juvenile with a tire problem by using an air pump on his bicycle.

The actor then rode the bicycle around and didn’t really like the 13-year-old victim. The 12 and 13-year-old victims were offered a ride in the actor’s vehicle by the actor. The actor had grabbed one boy by the arm and that’s when they both got away and called police.

Arnold and New Kensington Police Department located the vehicle and actor in the rear parking area of Ice Cream Heaven on Freeport Road. Arrested in the incident was Mark L. Diller, age 38 of 123 Grafton Road in Gilpin Township. Diller is charged with two counts of Luring child into a vehicle, one count of Terroristic Threats and one count of drug paraphernalia. Diller possessed an uncapped syringe and six empty stamp bags in his wallet and two empty stamp bags in his shoe.

Diller is lodged in the Westmoreland County Jail on $20,000 straight bond and awaits a preliminary hearing at District Justice Frank Pallone’s office on May 21, 2015.


Missing person in Lower Burrell


Lower Burrell, Pa. – (UPDATE:  11:40 AM)  Lower Burrell Police Chief Tim Weitzel said there are no solid leads in the disappearance of Sheila Creevy from Arizona Drive in Lower Burrell.  Chief Weitzel said search crews are searching near the Mills Mall area along Crawford Run and Baileys Run Road with State Police Aerial Helicopter and ground crews.

The search will continue on the Lower Burrell side of the river sometime after lunch whenever more searchers become available.  Team 211 will bring in search dogs to aid their efforts to find Creevy.  

In the photo below:  Fire crews and police searched an area midnight Sunday morning with fire trucks, atv’s a and police cars. Frazer assistant fire chief Gary Harrison said one of the mall security officers thought they has spotted Creevy but were not 100% sure it was her on video surveillance.  

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


(Original Story)  Police in Lower Burrell are searching for Sheila Creevey, age 88 and a dementia patient who was last seen on May 8, 2015 about 11:15 at 516 Arizona Drive in Lower Burrell. Creevy was wearing light colored shirt, dark colored pants and is to be a whie female 4’11” tall with gray/white hair, blue eyes.

If you know the whereabouts of Sheila Creevey, please call 911 or the Lower Burrell Police Department at (724) 339-4287. Your help is greatly appreciated.


Firefighters respond to kitchen fire in Vandergrift

AKV_1396 - Copy
© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 4:02 pm

Vandergrift, Pa. – Fire breaks out in a volunteer firefighters home in the 100 block of Sherman Avenue about 2:40 pm Saturday afternoon.

Fire crews from Vandergrift responded to the fire with possible entrapment in the house. Believed to be a kitchen fire , crews quickly knocked down the fire but two pets were removed from the structure. Sources reported two dogs perished in the fire.

Fire units from Lower Burrell, Oklahoma, Parks Township and Vandergrift responded to the fire along with Lower Kiski EMS.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


Arrest warrants issued for two suspects in Leishman Avenue gunfire

Deverrick Bonds ------- Don Carter Jr.

Deverrick Bonds ——- Don Carter Jr.

(Images Supplied NKPD) 10:25 pm

New Kensington, Pa. – Arrests warrants have been issued for two Arnold men after Thursday nights shootings that occurred in the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue at 8:00 pm.

New Kensington Detective Sgt. Dino DiGiacobbe said arrest warrants have been issued for Deverrick Bonds Jr., age 21 whose last known address was 1500 Leishman Avenue and Don Carter Jr. age 20 whose last known address is 2000 Victoria Avenue, both from Arnold. A third shooter is also being investigated by police.

Sgt. Digiacobbe said two vehicles and two houses were hit in the exchange of gunfire. Police reported there were no injuries however there was additional property damage to an air conditioning unit.

Bonds faces charges of Felony Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Possession Instrument of Crime, Felony Discharge Into Structure, and other criminal charges including a Firearms License Violation. Carter will be charged with Felony Assault, Carrying a Firearm w/o A License and Recklessly Endangering Another Person.

If you know the whereabouts of Deverrick Bonds Jr. or Don Carter Jr., you are asked to call New Kensington Police at (724) 339-7533. New Kensington Police are appreciative of the witness information and tips that led to the issuance of these arrest warrants. BOTH ARE CONSIDERED TO BE ARMED AND DANGEROUS.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

The New Kensington Police Department thanks Lower Burrell, Arnold and Springdale Township Police for their assistance with this incident.


SOURMASH ready to rock in Vandergrift Casino Theatre on Saturday night

SOURMASH at the Casino Theater - Vandergrift

SOURMASH at the Casino Theater – Vandergrift

Vandergrift, Pa. – SOURMASH is an accomplished group of musicians hailing from Pennsylvania assembled to pay tribute to the guitar-driven music of the south. Labeled as ‘100 Proof Southern Rock’, this band performs like the whiskey from which its name is derived – smooth with a strong finishing kick.

The band’s high-energy performances have become legendary in its brief existence. Formed in 2010, the band has been a consistent headliner for motorcycle rallies, festivals, and clubs. In addition, SOURMASH has opened for national acts, such as Blackberry Smoke and David Allan Coe.

The powerful SOURMASH performances showcase the band’s many talents. Strong and clear vocals; a grinding three-guitar attack; lush harmonies of both voice and guitar; and the thunderous panache of bass and drums combine to define the SOURMASH sound. The musicians also display their abilities playing keyboards, mandolin and fiddle to enhance the aural excitement. The highlight of the show however, is the participation of the crowd. Whether the audience is dancing, singing along, or shouting “Hell Yeah!” – it is that energy that keeps SOURMASH alive.
Take a shot!

Craig Harnish – Vocals
Tim Henry – Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Nick Farine – Guitar
Ken Harnish – Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Matt Knapp – Drums, Fiddle
Dave Stanoszek – Bass

Saturday Night: Casino Theatre presents: Local southern rockers, SOURMASH; Vandergrift’s own, Lenny Collini 5th Element; and local folk heros, FolkHammer. 3 great acts from the Kiski Valley come home to showcase their latest cds for family and friends. 7pm start. Doors open at 6. Meet and greet to follow. Tickets are $10 – proceeds to benefit the Vandergrift Historical Society.


Multiple shots fired on Leishman Avenue in New Kensington

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

New Kensington, Pa. – Police responded to multiple shots fired on Leishman Avenue about 8:00 pm Thursday evening.

Police were seen in the vicinity of Oak Alley investigating a parked Audi that was possibly involved with the shootings on Leishman Avenue. On Leishman Avenue, multiple markers lined the street and sidewalk in the 1200 block where casing were identified. Lower Burrell K-9 handler Steve Cernava and K-9 Dax were working an area at the intersection of Locust Street and Freeport Road. From that location, the K-9 was brought down to Leishman and searched areas in the 1200 block for possible suspects.

AKVNEWS.COM spoke with several residents who said they heard at least 10 shots being fired and across from one residence, an air conditioning unit was apparently hit by gunfire. The resident said the freon was blowing out of the cooling unit. One other resident said gates in his yard were broken as the actors apparently fled thru his yard. AKVNEWS.COM will update this story as more details become available.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer

Assisting New Kensington Police were Lower Burrell Police and Springdale Township Police. It’s unknown if there are any injuries in the incident.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer


91 year old Leechburg woman slapped during home invasion


Leechburg, Pa. – A 91-year-old woman sustained injuries to her face during a home invasion early Wednesday morning in the Borough of Leechburg.

According to a police criminal complaint, multiple police units from Westmoreland and Armstrong county responded just after 4:00 am Wednesday morning to a residence with a front door wide open and an elderly female laying on the couch. The elderly woman is reported to be frail, in poor health and home bound.

Police officers announced and entered the home of the victim who had a large swelling bruise on the right side of her face. Police officers searched the house for any possible actors. The victim said she heard some noises coming from the back of the house and then all of a sudden there was someone in her house stating, “Where’s your purse, I need money! When no money was given, the victim was smacked across the right side of the head resulting in several bruises to her upper face, cheek and eyebrow area.

Police were given a description of the actor, and stated she had attempted to activate her “life alert” alarm and that the actor took it from her. The victim tried to call 911 with her phone, but the actor took it from her and threw it across the room.

Leechburg Police Chief Mike Diebold was notified about the situation and was requested to come to the scene. Officer Rigatti from the Vandergrift Police Department was able to follow tracks that were left in the morning dew that were leading away from the back right basement window that had been shattered in the invasion.

Chief Diebold was able to speak with PSP Lt. Dubovi and arranged for a forensics unit to arrive on scene as soon as possible. Chief Diebold also contacted the Armstrong County District Attorneys K-9 and requested that a search dog be brought to the area.

The victim was transported to a Pittsburgh hospital where it was later learned preliminary reports indicated the victim had suffered internal bleeding in the area of the face in which she was struck. The search dog was able to track to a location and alerted it’s handler where the end of the scent was located at an address that is occupied by Audrey Halvorsen and Yvonne Shotts, as well as the property owner who gave police written consent to search his home.

Inside the home officers found a small amount of marijuana and a very large amount of used heroin stamp bags in the possession of Audrey Halvorsen. Over 300 empty stamp bags were present and these bags were found in the bedroom designated to Halvorsen’s young daughter. Halvorsen was on State Parole and taken into custody for the narcotic related offenses.

According to the complaint, Halvorsen stated she was a “lookout” for Yvonne Shotts. Shotts entered the elderly lady’s home a total of three times because the victim was screaming. By the third time, Halvorsen stated Shotts entered through the front door but didn’t know exactly what was going on. Once inside, Shotts didn’t know she had that thing on her wrist referencing the life alarm. Halvorsen also told police that Shotts stated that she “slapped her so hard it was going to leave a bruise.” Halvorsen also stated that Shotts also told her that she said to the victim “give me the money or I’m going to hit you over the head with an ax.”

After police obtained a written statement from Halvorsen, Shotts was taken into custody.


Yvonne Shotts was arraigned before District Magistrate James Andring and faces the following charges: AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY ENGAGING, TERRORISTIC THREATS, TAMPER WITH/FABRICATE PHYS’L EVIDENCE, BURGLARY, HARASSMENT, SIMPLE ASSAULT, RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING ANOTHER PERSON, OBSTRUC OF TELEP LINE IN EMERG, CRIM’L MISCH-TAMPER W/PROPERTY, CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY AIDING, CRIMINAL ATTEMPT, CRIM TRES-BREAK INTO STRUCTURE, and SIMPLE ASSAULT. Shotts is lodged in the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $100,000 straight bond. Shotts had just been released from the Armstrong County Jail on May 5th.

Audrey Halvorsen was also arraigned and faces the following charges: Criminal Conspiracy Engaging, Criminal Conspiracy Aiding both felonies and 2 misdemeanor charges of Controlled Substance Act. Halvorsen is lodged in the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $50,000 straight bond.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 13 @ 1:00 pm.