Suspect arrested for Harmar carjacking

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 3:21 pm

Brackenridge, Pa. – In the photo above, State Constable Jeff Killian escorts Jeanette Mendenhall, 32 of Verona to an arraignment in Brackenridge facing charges stemming from a carjacking in Harmar at the Funfest on Monday.

At the time of the carjacking, a male suspect pulled a pocket knife on the female victim who had two small infants in the back seat. The infants were 3 years and younger according to police at the scene. The male was described as being a white male, approximately 38 years old with a strange accent.

The suspect fled the Harmarville area headed towards Little Deer Creek road where the vehicle struck a utility pole and a hillside. The vehicle was found at the bottom of Barnhart Street in Indiana Township near Rural Ridge.

According to the police criminal complaint, the victim of the carjacking was presented with a photo array consisting of eight separate photographs of eight individuals, all with similar facial features and was informed that the “actor” may or may not be in this photo array.

This photo array was arranged individually and in separate folders. The Victim looked at each folder/photo and stated the fourth folder containing Jeanette Mendenhall was the actor that took her vehicle.

The suspect was identified in a criminal complaint as 32-year-old Jeanette Mendenhall. Mendenhall was taken into custody at his Verona home. Charges included in the online criminal docket lists charges including aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, robbery of a motor vehicle, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Police and K-9 search the manufacturing business along Nixon Rd in Harmar

Police and K-9 search the manufacturing business along Nixon Rd in Harmar


Upper Burrell pursuit suspect picked up on a tip

Law Enforcement Officer Jason Kerr escorts Sean Riddle for arraignment.

Law Enforcement Officer Jason Kerr escorts Sean Riddle for arraignment.

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 1:14 pm

Upper Burrell, Pa. – (Correction to this story). Upper Burrell Police Chief Ken Pate said 23 year old Sean Riddle was picked up on a tip after being wanted for the February 4th incident that lead police on a vehicular/foot pursuit along Milligantown and Hartge Road in Upper Burrell Township. Chief Pate said Upper Burrell Police was notified by Harrison Township PD that Riddle was at the Allegheny Valley Hospital. Riddle was taken to District Justice Cheryl Peck Yakopec for arraignment shortly before 1:00 pm Tuesday afternoon.


Sean Patrick Riddle

Sean Patrick Riddle

(Image Courtesy Upper Burrell Police)

Upper Burrell, Pa. – Multiple police units from surrounding communities responded overnight to help search for a suspicious vehicle suspect who failed to stop for police in Upper Burrell Township.

Upper Burrell Police Chief Ken Pate said police are looking for Sean Patrick Riddle, 23 whose last known address is Lower Burrell. The incident occurred near Boreland Drive about 12:45 am when police came upon a 1995 Jeep with its lights off sitting in the middle of Merwin Road. Police attempted to stop the vehicle as the operator drove for approximately 1/2 mile on Merwin Road with its light off headed towards SR. 780 in an attempt to elude Upper Burrell Police.

Chief Pate said once on SR.780, a female passenger exited the vehicle with her hands up near the Alcoa area. The suspect vehicle subsequently made a right hand turn onto Manchester Hill driving all over the roadway and passing a vehicle as the pursuit was headed to Milligantown Road. After making the left hand turn onto Milligantown Road and traveling a short distance, Riddle attempted to make a left hand turn onto Hartge Road where the Jeep went off the roadway and stopped.

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At this point the driver fled the scene and headed into the wooded area near Hartge Road. Police units from Washington Township, Lower Burrell and New Kensington converged to an area near the Elks at 3200 Milligantown Road. Police flashlights could be seen scouring a wide path in the wooded area for at least a half mile along Milligantown Road in their efforts to find Riddle. One Lower Burrell Law Enforcement Officer Sergeant Scott Miller stepped in a creek while searching for the suspect.

Police were not able to find Riddle or the female who was dropped off near Alcoa. Chief Pate said by the time an additional police unit got back to the Alcoa area, the female was gone and her identity is unknown.

At the scene of the crash, police found a small amount of Heroin and drug paraphernalia. Riddle has a suspended license. If you know the whereabouts of Sean Riddle, you are asked to call Upper Burrell Police at (724) 335-0664 or dial 911. Once apprehended, Chief Pate said Riddle will be charged with Flee and Elude Police, Traffic Offenses and drug charges. An arrest warrant will be put out for Sean Riddle. The vehicle was towed from the scene by Clydes.

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Lower Burrell resident faces DUI; Simple Assault charges

Mlynarski 1
© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 8:16 pm

Lower Burrell, Pa. – Police in Lower Burrell reported an incident of DUI after a female resident struck a vehicle in the lot of the Loyal Order of Moose on Reimer Street.

Police say the incident occurred last Thursday near Indiana Drive when Haley Ann Mlynarski, 29 of Lower Burrell came out of her house with a glass of wine to talk to workers on the street. The workers subsequently walked down the street when Mlynarski got into their truck, started the ignition and drove North on Reimer Street nearly running over the owner trying to flag her down. Mlynarski drove to the Moose parking lot where she circled a parked F-150, swung out wide and T-Boned the F-150 in the passenger door. After striking the truck, Mlynarski backed up and walked South on Reimer Street back to her house. Police say she refused to answer her door after the incident.

Mlynarski faces a long list of charges including: Driving at an unsafe speed, reckless driving, accident involving personal injury, accidents involving damage to attended vehicle, DUI, Simple Assault, reckless endangering another person, Criminal Mischief, Theft, Receiving Stolen Property, and Unauthorized Use.

Mlynarski was transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital for treatment of facial injuries and a blood draw.

The occupant of the F-150 was transported to the hospital for neck and back pain. Both side air bags deployed in the incident. The incident occurred @ 12:24 pm on Thursday February 12.

Mlynarski 2
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Woman threatened with pocket knife in carjacking; infants unhurt

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Indiana Township, Pa. – Police in Indiana township and West Deer are actively pursuing a male on foot somewhere in the Barnhart Street area near Rural Ridge after a carjacking took place near the Funfest in Harmarville.

At the time of the carjacking, a male suspect pulled a pocket knife on the female victim who had two small infants in the back seat. The infants were 3 years and younger according to police at the scene. The male was described as being a white male, approximately 38 years old with a strange accent.

The suspect fled the Harmarville area headed towards Little Deer Creek road where the vehicle struck a utility pole and a hillside. The vehicle was found at the bottom of Barnhart Street in Indiana Township near Rural Ridge.

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Police immediately began a foot search near Hayes and Barnhart, progressing up towards Rural Ridge Drive. Police were not able to locate the fleeing suspect in any of the suspected areas. A canine was brought to the scene by West Deer Police and a State Police Helicopter using infrared is scouring the area by air. The Silver Kia was towed from the Barnhart Street location by Bochecks. Police helicopter is searching the Rich Hill Road, Nixon Road area. Officers are also on foot near an auto body business.


Four arrests involve common car insurance fraud schemes

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HARRISBURG – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced four arrests in several insurance fraud cases involving common, fraudulent claims for cars that were set on fire, reported stolen or not damaged to the extent reported.

The Office of Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section is the largest law enforcement entity in Pennsylvania with specific authority to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

Melissa High , 27, 132 W. Franklin St., Womelsdorf, Berks County, and Joshua Dinger, 27, 911 El Hatco Drive, Temple, Berks County, allegedly set fire to a Jeep that High owned jointly with her estranged husband. High’s estranged husband had barred her from his property and from using the vehicle. High conspired with Dinger, who stole the vehicle from the estranged husband using High’s key. After learning her estranged husband filed a complaint with police and an insurance claim, High and Dinger set the Jeep on fire.

High and Dinger each are charged with one count of criminal conspiracy – arson endangering persons, one count of theft by deception and one count of criminal conspiracy – reckless burning or exploding. High faces an additional charge of insurance fraud.

Dennis Gerle , 63, 351 Chadwick St., Apt #2, Sewickley, Allegheny County, is charged with one count each of insurance fraud, theft by deception and false reports to law enforcement. Gerle allegedly lied to police about his car being stolen. Experts determined that Gerle abandoned the car in a parking lot after learning it was to be repossessed. As a result, the insurance company paid Gerle $3,131 for his equity in the vehicle and $890 for a rental vehicle. The vehicle’s balance of $12,431 was paid to the lien holder.

Brandon Mosely , 23, 1444 4th St., New Brighton, Beaver County, is charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception. Mosely allegedly attempted to get his insurance policy to cover costs for damages to the front and rear of his vehicle, when only the rear of the car sustained damages during a multi-vehicle accident.


Sunday morning news in and around the Valley

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 10:00 am

Alle-Kiski Valley, Pa. – Steady winds and bitterly cold temperatures dominate the weather in Natrona Heights and surrounding areas in the Alle-Kiski Valley. As of 10 o’clock this morning, the following stats come from the National Weather Service – Humidity 53% Wind SpeedNW 15 G 23 mph Barometer 30.29 in (1029.4 mb) Dewpoint-14°F (-26°C) Visibility 6.00 mi Wind Chill-21°F (-29°C)

Firefighters in the tri-county area were mildly busy overnight with a report of at least five persons injured in a crash in Slippery Rock Township. In other incidents, Lower Burrell Police and Firefighters are currently headed to a roll-over accident at 3313 Garvers Ferry Road. Fire crews are responding to trapped individual/s inside that vehicle and are stabilizing the vehicle. No injuries are being reported. Patient extricated at 10:15 am.

In Kiski Township at the intersection of Buelah Church Road and Brownstown Road, fire crews were called to a possible structure fire. Upon arrival, fire crews reported a small chimney fire at a residence, “up in the woods”. At least one tanker made it up the cindered driveway while other responding companies staged on the hard road. Crews were on scene of this fire for approximately 1.5 hours and cleared the scene at 10:12.

Crews in Burrell Township are responding to a fire alarm on Garretts Run Road at St. Michaels Lutheran Church.


Bitter cold throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley until Monday

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Brackenridge, Pa. – Motorists in the Alle-Kiski faced dangerous road conditions and complete white-outs about 2:30 pm Saturday afternoon.

Roadways quickly became snow covered and very slippery after a band of heavy snow pushed through the area causing several vehicle crashes. In the photo above near Morgan Street in Brackenridge, visibility was reduced to approximately 100′ and at times visibility dropped to almost zero. Near Princeton Avenue in Natrona Heights about 5 minutes later, visibility was nearly back to normal with near normal traffic flow.

In the Pittsburgh Mills Mall area, heavy winds and blowing snow could be seen from several roof tops near Macy’s. Traffic on Mall roads appeared heavy with plenty of shoppers inside Wal-Mart stocking up on last minute items. On the Allegheny Valley Expressway headed north, motorists were traveling about 45 mph after the heavy snows moved through with an occasional driver utilizing the passing lane at speeds of 60 mph or better.

Please bring pets inside during this extremely dangerous weather advisory.

The National Weather Services has issued the following warnings and advisory:







Candlelight vigil for “Bubble Gum” Roppolo

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 11:13 am

Leechburg, Pa. – Friends of Derrike “Bubble Gum” Roppolo gathered at the Walking Bridge Friday night to celebrate and honor the life of their friend who tragically died earlier this week after being shot in an apartment in Leechburg.

Upwards of 100 friends gathered and lined the bridge walkway lighting candles and remembering Bubble Gum for the laughter he gave them.

I enjoyed working with “Bubble Gum” said Michelle Dongiovanni, he was an awesome, amazing kid. He’ll be greatly missed and it won’t be the same without him. We love you “Bubble Gum” we love you and miss you already.

Me and “Bubble Gum” met 8 years ago, they have been some of the best years of my life said Grace Kostelansky, life will never be the same without him.

AKVNEWS.COM has posted video of the honor and celebration to


One dead in Kiski Township crash, police looking for suspect driver

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Kiski Township, Pa. – (UPDATE:) 6:53 pm The Allegheny County Medical Examiners office has confirmed the death of a 61-year-old white male from Apollo involved in a fatal crash on SR. 56 in Kiski Township.  The ME’s office is withholding the man’s name until family has been notified.  The suspect who fled the scene of the crash was apprehended by police at about 4:15 pm and was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital for blood draw and possibly additional testing.

(Original Story) – Police say at least one person has died as a result of a motor vehicle crash on SR. 56 just east of Apollo. Police are searching for the driver of a Blue SUV who fled the scene after the crash. The suspect police are looking for is Jeremy Blystone.

According to police information, the suspect is a wanted man in three states. Helicopters are flying the area near the crash scene and State Troopers along with supportive police units from surrounding communities are actively searching for the suspect. Elementary school buses in the area are being affected by road closures near the crash scene.

The white vehicle at the scene sustained heavy damage in the crash. There was a passenger in that vehicle and that occupants condition is unknown. Police are questioning the passenger of the Blue SUV who was with the suspect they are actively searching for in the immediate area to the crash scene. K-9 is also involved the search. This incident occurred sometime around 2:30 pm.

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Water line break disrupts gas service; warming center setup in Allegheny Township


Allegheny Township, Pa. – Police Chief John Fontaine said a water line break near the First Commonwealth Bank along SR. 356 occurred about 4:00 am Friday morning and is affecting approximately 80-100 homes in the township.

Chief Fontaine said when the water line broke water penetrated and clogged a gas line affecting homes as far away as South Leechburg Hill near the Kiski Car Wash. The repairs are anticipated to take approximately 3-5 hours. Residents are welcome to visit the township warming center at the township’s municipal building. Resident can call (724) 842-4641 for more information.


No sooner the job was done, they wanted their picture taken

© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 9:12 am

New Kensington, Pa. – (Update 12:15 am)  With skill and precision, water authority crews removed the broken piece of pipe and set a new joint in place just before 1:00 pm Thursday afternoon.  Crews down in the pit seemed to be carrying on and having a good time while the installation was in progress.  Once completed and back on pavement, workers said it was just a bit warmer down in the trench than out in the open air.  These guys did a fantastic job, not once complaining about the weather – Kudos to the water crew!

(Original Story)Municipal Authority of the City of New Kensington water crews are on scene of a 12″ water main break near Falcon Park Road and Evanwood Drive.

Ron Balla Jr. and Willie Thrower measured out the length of pipe needed to repair a major water line approximately 10′ feet underground on Wednesday afternoon. The break occurred on the bottom side of the pipe making repairs more difficult because crews can’t see where the crack has ended. Ed Saliba Jr. Water Authority Assistant Superintendent said only one business is affected by the break and one residence that didn’t have service now has water after turning a few other valves.

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Unfortunately for workers, wind chills are up and temperatures down. At the scene, crews don’t complain much about the weather. Workers were asked about the upcoming zero, near zero temperatures and how they would handle the situation should another major break occur. Their responses were all basically the same, “we hope nothing happens, but if it does we’ll deal with it.” As of 9:45 am Thursday morning, crews are working about 10 to 12′ below ground in a very large ditch preparing to cut the bad section out of the main line.

Saliba also said crews were prevented from finishing up repairs on Wednesday night for safety reasons. Crews hope to have repairs completed sometime today.


Power crews working to restore downed lines, broken poles in Cheswick

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Cheswick, Pa. – West Penn Power crews were busy replacing transformers and at least two utility poles after a tractor trailer incident about 6:00 am Thursday morning.

Police reported wires being down and power outages with traffic lights disrupted shortly after the accident. The truck driver was not able to exit his vehicle following the outage. According to West Penn’s outage map the current total number of customers affected is about 1-20 and the estimated restoration time is approximately 6:00 PM.

Part of Pittsburgh street is lined with cones through the rebuilding area as several lines that were downed crossed the two lane highway. No delays were visible as crews were stringing wires and making connections to transformers. There were no reported injuries in the incident.