Pennsylvania State Police answer questions about manhunt for murder suspect/phone scam

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(Supplied Image)

HARRISBURG, PA. – The Pennsylvania State police have been getting numerous questions pertaining to the ongoing search for Eric Frein.

How is the rain affecting the search? The rain has no impact on our searchers. As for Frein, it depends on his preparedness.

Another popular question has been how are the canines picking up a scent. They are, however the scent trail is being lost due to water crossings and terrain conditions.

The wooded/rugged area in the vicinity of the search is very difficult terrain to traverse. It provides many obstacles to the search — rocky outcrops, thick underbrush, dense canopy hindering aerial observation.

In addition to the wooded areas there are many homes with sheds, campers and other structures that pose a wide array of challenges to the search — we are urging the residents to make sure everything on their property is locked and secure.

Also, the manpower of the search has not been reduced. However, Troopers are moving on foot, visually checking homes for open doors, windows or signs of entry. Troopers are knocking on doors and talking with residents as well. The perimeter remains intact it is just now a moving perimeter both on foot and in vehicles.

We would like to point out again how important TIPS from residents can be. The TIP line is 1-866-326-7256, it is staffed at the Command Post in Pike County and all leads are forwarded to investigators.

ONGOING PHONE SCAM: It has come to our attention that residents of northeast Pennsylvania may be receiving phone calls from individuals looking to solicit money by claiming they represent the Pennsylvania State Police. The caller claims that the department is trying to raise money to continue the search efforts for Eric Frein. This phone call is a scam. The Pennsylvania State Police do not and will not solicit money from residents, so please do not provide any personal information or offer to send money to the caller if you are contacted.

State Police continue to intensify the search for Frein. Search dogs have been able to pick up sense, but the rain and crossing of creeks quickly terminates the trail. Police will not quit searching until Frein is captured, dead or alive. Police say Frein has been spotted multiple times by law enforcement. The second Trooper involved in the shooting incident continues to improve.

 

Brownies laced with marijuana while on school property

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

MANOR TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Pennsylvania State Police report an incident of drug possession at Lenape Vo-Tec after police investigated a report of brownies laced with marijuana while on school property.

The suspect, Logan Painter, 19 of Templeton is facing drug possession charges in the September 24th incident. Charges to be filed in District Court 33-3-01.

In a previous article dated May 27, 2014, the Lower Burrell Police Department confirmed to AKVNEWS.COM an 18-year-old High School student brought marijuana laced rice krispies to school. No distribution occurred in that incident.

In other similar stories, three California high school students consumed marijuana laced brownies and became violently ill. At the time, unconfirmed reports indicated the brownies may have also contained meth amphetamines.

In 2013, seven elementary students were rushed to the hospital after eating pot brownies. Most of the children complained of dizziness, vomiting and nausea.

 

Report of shots fired near city building, 5th Avenue & Victoria Avenue

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

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Westmoreland 911 received multiple calls of shots fired in the area of the city building about 4:00 pm Wednesday afternoon. One caller in the 1100 block of Victoria Avenue reporting about 15 shots heard and also reported a gray Nissan Rogue flying down the alley.

Additional calls came in from the area of Walnut, Kenneth and Victoria. Police were being flagged down at Kenneth and Walnut. Several sources indicated one car was shooting at another car. Lower Burrell PD assisted in the search.

 

Pennsylvania State Police release new evidence in search for Eric Matthew Frein

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Blooming Grove, Pa. – The Pennsylvania State Police continue to investigate the shooting incident at the Blooming Grove station where two Pennsylvania State Police troopers were ambushed by Eric Matthew Frein.

“I want to first thank the community and residents in the Pike and Monroe county areas for their cooperation and continued support of our operation,” said Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy of operations. “Based on our investigation, the search efforts continue to be focused around the Pike and Monroe county border, more specifically the Barrett and Price township areas,” said Bivens.

“As I have previously indicated, we believe that Frein has prepared and planned extensively for months or maybe years for this attack and his efforts to avoid apprehension,” added Bivens.

“We continue to canvass the neighborhoods in Barrett and Price townships for useful pieces of information – and are asking anyone who has information which might assist law enforcement to contact our tipline at 866-326-7256,” said Bivens.

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“Specifically, we are requesting information on any vacant or seasonal homes in the area which may have been disturbed in some way – for example, unlocked sheds/garage doors, pet doors, broken or open windows,” said Bivens. “We have executed search warrants on several vacant properties and are utilizing lock smiths so as to not damage property.”

The state police are seeking any information on any shelters or bunkers that Frein may have constructed or used in the past and to please report that information to the state police.

Additionally, state police would like to talk with anyone who may have seen Eric Frein’s 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport prior to Monday, Sept. 15th, – in and around the Blooming Grove station, Delaware State Forest and the White Deer recreational areas.

“We’ve had several possible sightings that are being investigated at this time,” said Bivens. “We continue to follow-up on other leads and as we track his movements, our search efforts will be refocused accordingly.”

This is an ongoing police operation and the state police continue to pursue Frein based on the information available to us in the Pike and Monroe county areas to allow our tactical teams to search where Frein may be located.

“We continue to find evidence of his presence and have found several items he has abandoned or hidden for possible future use,” said Bivens. “Some of those items include soiled diapers and Serbian cigarette packages, among other things.”

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“I’d like to directly address the residents of our search area and thank them for their patience and understanding as this operation continues,” said Bivens. “Our troopers are doing their best to balance safety concerns with the need for residents to be able to travel freely to and from their homes.”

State police are asking people to use common sense and avoid going into the wooded areas in and around Barrett and Price townships, as well as the Delaware State Forest area.

In addition, the state police continue to ask the public for any photos or videos previously taken from trail or security cameras in those areas which may contain images of Frein or other suspicious activity.

 

Cloverleaf bridge work set to resume in New Kensington

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 10:09 am

NEW KENSINGTON, PA. – Work on the new bridge at the cloverleaf of Rt. 366 and Rt. 56 is expected to resume shortly after officials corrected and redesigned the approaches to the bridge. Dan Bartko, PennDOT’s project Manager said the approaches were just to narrow, and about 5′ had to be added for safety concerns as traffic would progress to the new bridge.

Barriers for the project were approved yesterday and estimates for shifting traffic over to the new bridge could happen in about six weeks or so. Bartko said the concrete looks good; they did a great job on the first half of the project.

Prime Contractor Carmen Paliotta began the $ $2,796,296.63 project in April and has until 5/6/2015 to complete the work. The new bridge will be approximately two feet higher to accommodate new bridge and roadway standards.

This bridge is being constructed in 2 phases maintaining 2 way traffic eastbound and westbound throughout the entire project on SR 0366. Motorists are reminded to drive with caution and be alert when entering a work zone.

 

State Police, FBI and multiple Law Enforcement Agencies continue manhunt for suspect Eric Frein

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(Photo Pennsylvania State Police)

Monroe County, Pa. – Tfc. Connie Devens | Community Services Officer, Public Information Officer Pennsylvania State Police | Troop R released the following information concerning search locations and travel thru the affected areas.

Tfc/ Devems reports: I have been asked about the location of the search area. Please be advised that we continue to move assets around during this search as new information becomes available, and we clear certain areas. If there are no roadblocks, the areas are open to all traffic. At this time, we do not have a press conference scheduled, however, if one is scheduled, we will email an advisory of the time and location.

Suspected killer Eric Frein remains on the loose as authorities say they are closing in on capturing the man accused of murdering a Pennsylvania State Police officer. Residents in the area are severely impacted by the search with road closings and no way to get back home once they leave for hospital or doctors visits. The search is centered in a heavily wooded region of the Pocono Mountains. Several helicopters are seen overhead intensifying the search. The search will not stop until Frein is captured, dead or alive.

Residents of the Alle-Kiski Valley can tune in to police radio broadcasts from Monroe County by visiting http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/7527. These radio broadcasts are delayed by approximately 2 hours.

 

Lower Burrell Crash; driver intoxicated

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 2:29 pm

LOWER BURRELL, PA. – Under suspicion of DUI, Lower Burrell Police had probable cause to arrest Michele Bowling, 51 of Lower Burrell after crashing her SUV into a utility pole near the intersection of Leechburg Road and Schreiber Street just before 10:00 pm Saturday evening. Lower Burrell Law Enforcement Officers Nedley and Cernava investigated the crash scene.

“All she could remember was making the left turn from the tavern”, said Lower Burrell Police Chief Tim Weitzel.

Chief Weitzel said Bowling admitted to drinking shots before leaving the bar. Lower Burrell fire fighters used the jaws of life to extricate Bowling from her vehicle. The extent of her injuries are unknown. She was flown by medical transport to a Pittsburgh Hospital.

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

 

Lower Burrell firefighters rescue driver with jaws of life

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© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 10:35 pm

LOWER BURRELL, PA. – One person is flown by helicopter after a single vehicle crash on Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell. Initial reports from Westmoreland 911 indicated a male unresponsive with the vehicle on its side.

Firefighters arrived on scene at the intersection of Leechburg Road and Schreiber Street to find a Chevy SUV on its side in the middle of Leechburg Road, drivers side down. The vehicle was traveling towards New Kensington when the driver ran off the road and started to climb a small embankment, striking a utility pole. The SUV traveled another 75′ and flipped on its side

Lower Burrell firefighters stabilized the vehicle and used the jaws of life to cut roof pillars to peel the roof open allowing full access to the patient. As the patient was back boarded, the patient was seen moving their arms and was loaded onto the stretcher for transport by medical helicopter.

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

After extrication from the vehicle, Station 69 crews hooked the fire truck’s winch onto the SUV’s frame and pulled it back onto its wheels. Debris was swept from the roadway while Salem’s Auto Body prepared for removal. Traffic was diverted on Leechburg road for approximately an hour.

Lower Burrell Police were assisted at the scene by Lower Burrell Station 69 and Lower Burrell EMS. The crash occurred just before 10:00 pm.

 

Pennsylvania State Police continue the search for Eric Matthew Frein

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

BLOOMING GROVE, PA. – (This just in – An ambulance was called to the search area in Price/Barrett Townships.  The ambulance was summoned for a law enforcement officer who had a minor medical issue, and the issue was not associated with the search operations.  The officer is being treated, however, no further information will be released.)

The Pennsylvania State Police are continuing their investigation into the shooting incident that occurred at the Blooming Grove station where two Pennsylvania State Police troopers were ambushed by Eric Matthew Frein. Governor Tom Corbett and State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan are closely monitoring this investigation – and the Governor has made all commonwealth resources available for this investigation as needed.

“Based on our investigation, we know Frein has prepared and planned extensively for months or maybe years,” said state police Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations. “He planned his attack and his retreat — however, we believe we are closing in on him.” “Up until now his advantage has been that this is his backyard, he knows this rugged terrain.” “Our tactical operations people now also know his backyard, the area he once felt safe in – we are pushing him hard, he is no longer safe there and I am confident he will be apprehended,” said Lt. Col. Bivens.

“Based on our investigation, our search efforts at this point in time are primarily focused around the Pike and Monroe county border,” said Lt. Col. Bivens. “We continue to follow-up on other leads and as we track his movements, our search efforts will be refocused accordingly.” State police are making significant progress in the investigation and have found several items he has abandoned or hidden for possible future use. Some of those items include an AK-47-style weapon and a significant number of rounds of ammunition, among other things.
“We are asking the public to use common sense and please avoid going into the wooded areas in and around Barrett and Price townships, as well as the Delaware State Forest area,” said Lt. Col. Bivens. “We know archery season is right around the corner and hunters might be setting up equipment – so, we are asking you to refrain from that in these areas until Frein is captured,” said Lt. Col. Bivens.

“However, if you do have photos or videos previously taken from trail cameras in those areas we are asking you to review those images and provide them to law enforcement should they contain images of Frein or other suspicious activity,” said Lt. Col. Bivens. “Also, if the public is aware of any shelters or bunkers that Frein may have constructed or used in the past to please report that information to the state police.”

“We’ve had several possible sightings that are being investigated at this time,” said Lt. Col. Bivens. Frein may have his head shaved tightly on both sides with long hair on top, wider than a Mohawk. This hairstyle is completely different from the hairstyle Frein had worn for years. Keep in mind, Frein may have changed his appearance since he was last seen. Investigators believe that this change was made as part of the mental preparation to commit this cowardly act. The Pennsylvania State Police has received hundreds of tips many offering credible information – and will continue to pursue each one.

The state police understand and share the concerns expressed about community safety and specifically the safety of our children attending schools in the area. “While we can never completely rule out an act of violence, I am convinced that Frein has engaged in a personal battle with law enforcement specifically the Pennsylvania State Police and will likely stay focused on that fight,” said Lt. Col. Bivens.

PSP is still recommending a number of precautions:
 First and foremost be alert and vigilant. If you see any vehicles or individuals
that are out of the ordinary, please report them to 911 or our tip line (866-
326-7256) immediately.
 Do not approach or encounter any suspicious persons or vehicles, but rather
report them immediately. The suspect is still considered armed and
dangerous.
 Lock all doors to both your residence and your vehicles.
 At night, keep the exterior of your home well-lit.
 Look for open shed doors or other locations that were once secure but now
appear open, and immediately report the information.

The FBI added Eric Matthew Frein to their top 10 most wanted fugitive list. This added a $100,000 reward on top of the existing $75,000 reward from PA Crime Stoppers and other private and non-profit organizations. The addition of Frein to the list allows for a country-wide broadcast of Frein’s information, and additional resources from the FBI. The FBI is supporting the state police by making available manpower, air and technical assistance. Other local, state and federal agencies are assisting the PSP as well.

 

Hunt continues for PA Trooper slaying suspect Eric Matthew Frein

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(Photo Courtesy PSP)

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. – (UPDATE) : The PA State Police (PSP) has lifted the shelter in place order and are recommending that people in Barrett/Price Townships of Monroe County use extreme caution as they move back into the area. The PSP are very concerned for the safety of the community and are strongly recommending that people in the affected area stay in their homes and do not go in to the woods where law enforcement is searching. 

PSP does not have Frein in custody, however our troopers are determined to find him and bring him to justice. 

 PSP is still recommending a number of precautions:

  • First and foremost be alert and vigilant. If you see any vehicles or individuals that are out of the ordinary, please report them to 911 or our tip line (866-326-7256) immediately.
  • Do not approach or encounter any suspicious persons or vehicles, but rather report them immediately. The suspect is still considered armed and dangerous.
  • Lock all doors to both your residence and your vehicles.
  • At night, keep the exterior of your home well-lit.
  • Look for open shed doors or other locations that were once secure but now appear open, and immediately report the information.

(Original)Pennsylvania State Police and other law enforcement officers have responded to the area of Barrett/Price Townships, Monroe County to conduct a search for Eric Matthew Frein.

Due to the violent nature of his crimes, extreme precautionary measures are being taken. The PA State Police are very concerned for the safety of the community. Authorities are continuing to ask people to shelter in place in these townships. PSP does not have Frein in custody, however state troopers are determined to find him and bring him to justice.

Law enforcement officers by the hundreds are searching today for the suspect in the slaying of a Pennsylvania state trooper and the wounding of another. There have been no credible sightings of Frein.

 

Butler County registered sex offender arrested for traveling to meet “father” and 5-year-old “daughter” for sex

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(Image Courtesy Pa AG)

HARRISBURG- Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced the arrest of a registered sex offender from Butler County, who allegedly traveled to meet a “father,” whom he believed would allow the man to perform sexual acts on his 5-year-old “daughter.”

David Paul Ellenberger, 43, 570 Herman Road, Apt. 1, Butler, Butler County, was charged on Tuesday with multiple felonies after allegedly using the Internet, text messages and phone calls to sexually proposition who he believed to be the father of a 5-year-old he could meet for sex.

“This arrest highlights the increasing danger predators pose online,” Attorney General Kane said. “We are watching and we are getting these sick individuals off the streets.”

According to the criminal complaint, agents, conducting an investigation into online advertisements that solicit sex from children, responded to an ad allegedly posted by Ellenberger entitled, “jack off together/panty play,” with the poster seeking the underwear of “daughters” to use for sexual activity.

After agents contacted the poster posing as the father of a 5-year-old girl by email and text messages, Ellenberger’s desires allegedly escalated and he made multiple requests by text message to engage in explicit, unlawful sexual contact with the minor female. The defendant allegedly told the undercover agents his desire to “lick her” multiple times and said, “I can’t wait to taste her.”

Agents confirmed Ellenberger’s identity by locating his cell phone number in a public records database.

The charges state that over the course of their electronic correspondence, the defendant even answered a consensual call from two agents, one posing as the father and one posing as the daughter. According to the complaint, Ellenberger confirmed his desire during this conversation to meet with the child in order to engage her in unlawful sexual activity. Ellenberger also affirmed to the purported minor child that he wanted to engage in sexual acts with her.

During the exchange, Ellenberger arranged a meeting with the purported father and daughter at a park near his home. When Ellenberger arrived at the pre-arranged meeting location, he was arrested by Child Predator Section agents.

Ellenberger is charged with one count of unlawful contact with a minor, one count of criminal attempt of rape of a child, one count of criminal attempt of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, one county of criminal attempt of indecent assault and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

The defendant was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge David T. Kovach and confined to Butler County Prison after being unable to post bail. If convicted, Ellenberger faces a minimum of 25 to 50 years imprisonment.

Attorney General Kane thanked the FBI and Cranberry Township Police Department for their assistance.

Ellenberger will be prosecuted in Butler County by Deputy Attorney General Anthony Marmo of the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section.

 

Saturday is National Thank A Police Officer Day

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(Supplied Photo)

ALLE-KISKI VALLEY, PA. – Volunteering for the second year in a row to be the team leader in the Alle-Kiski area for National Thank A Police Officer Day is Felicia Junod and her daughter Lily of Westmoreland County. It’s a family affair because her husband Mark is a Police Officer in the Allegheny Twp Police Department.

This movement was started by The Whole Truth project 3 years ago. Lily & Felicia (with help from community donors, schools, Girl Scouts & family) were able to deliver just over 125 gift bags to 12 different departments as well as pictures and cards from area school children last year.

Junod’s goal is to raise more community awareness this year while repeating passing out “treats” to the surrounding departments. Lily and Mom will be going to 14 local departments to deliver 135 treat bags (and 3 treat baskets) to officers. She will also be dividing almost 600 Thank You Notes & Cards (from 3 local schools -Mary Queen of Apostles, Kiski, & Burrell- & area Girl Scouts) between not only the 14 departments they will be visiting, but also mailing cards to an additional 5 departments.