City Man Charged in Connection With House Fire

July 19, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Police News

(UPDATED with comments from McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik.)

A McKeesport man faces a preliminary hearing Monday after police said he deliberately set the fire that damaged his residence on May Street.

Michael J. Wright, 48, is charged by McKeesport police with arson, causing or risking a catastrophe and reckless endangerment of other persons. He is being held in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bond pending the hearing at 1 p.m. before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.

According to a police report, firefighters were called just after 11 a.m. June 4 when witnesses reported seeing smoke coming from a residence in the 900 block.

 
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Crime Stoppers Asks Public's Help in Solving June 19 Homicide

July 18, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

Pittsburgh Crime Stoppers is asking for the public's help as police try to solve the June 19 killing of 24-year-old Diaz Petty.

Petty was found at 11:07 p.m. that night lying on the ground in the 1000 block of Lysle Boulevard, suffering from a gunshot wound, police said. He was taken to the hospital but died of his injuries.

Allegheny County police homicide detectives are investigating. They say that Petty had been seen earlier in the evening with another man and a woman about a block away on Fifth Avenue. Petty and the other man were having an argument, police said, when gunshots were heard.

 
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McKeesport Man Sought By Police in Connection With Sunday Homicide

July 18, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

A McKeesport man is wanted by Allegheny County police in connection with the shooting death of a 23-year-old woman Sunday night.

Daniel Bizzelle, 25, is charged with homicide, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and firearms violations, Allegheny County police said in a release.

Two people were gunned down just after 10 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of Fifth Avenue.

Police have said they believe that Samantha Klavora, was an innocent bystander and that a 38-year-old man whose name has not been released was the actual target of the shooter or shooters. The man was critically injured and taken to the hospital, police said. No details about his condition have been released.

Bizzelle is approximately 5-feet-9 and 160 pounds, police said, and has a tattoo of a gun on the left side of his neck, as well as tattoos on both forearms. Police said he has ties to Clairton as well as McKeesport.

Anyone who heard or saw anything surrounding the shooting is asked to call McKeesport police at (412) 675-5015 or the Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit at (412) 473-1300. Callers can remain anonymous.

Allegheny County police may also be reached on Facebook and Twitter.
 

Suspects Sought in Fifth Ave. Shooting

July 17, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

One person was killed and another wounded during a shooting Sunday night on Fifth Avenue, Downtown, and Allegheny County police think they may have been victims of retaliation.

Samantha Klavora, 23, died at the hospital of gunshot wounds to the abdomen following the incident between Martin and Center streets, said a spokesperson for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

The other victim, a 38-year-old man, was wounded and is in critical condition, Allegheny County police said. His name was not released.

Investigators believe he was the intended target and that Klavora was shot because she was standing near him, county police said in a statement.

 
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Former Clairton Man Pleads Guilty in Bank Robberies

July 10, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Police News

A former Clairton man faces up to 40 years in prison and a half-million dollar fine after pleading guilty to robbing banks in Westmoreland County.

Raymond Zwibel, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts of bank robbery on Friday before U.S. District Judge S. David Cercone, said a spokeswoman for acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song.

Zwibel will be sentenced on Nov. 6, the spokeswoman said.

Zwibel pleaded guilty to robbing the First Commonwealth Bank branch in New Alexandria, Westmoreland County, on Aug. 19, and the Citizens Bank branch in Latrobe on Aug. 23, according to prosecutors.

 
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June 19 Death in City Ruled Homicide

July 05, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

The death of a man who was found on Fifth Avenue on the night of June 19 has been ruled a homicide.

Otherwise, few details are known about the death of Diaz R. Petty, 24, of McKeesport, who was discovered lying on the sidewalk in the 900 block at 11:11 p.m.

He died at a hospital a short time later of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

Allegheny County police said that there may have been an argument preceding the shooting.

Anyone who may have heard or saw anything is asked to call McKeesport Police at (412) 675-5015 or the Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit at (412) 473-1300. Callers can remain anonymous, a spokesman said.

 

Prosecutors: Agency Defrauded By Former Manager

June 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

A North Huntingdon Twp. woman was indicted Tuesday in federal court on charges she defrauded the Steel Valley Authority by writing checks to herself, and her creditors, over a six-year period.

Nicolette Gizzi, 44, is charged with five counts of bank fraud and mail fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said.

Founded during the economic slowdown of the 1980s and based in Swissvale, Steel Valley Authority is a non-profit agency that arranges financing and grants to support manufacturing in 12 municipalities, including Clairton, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, Glassport, Homestead, McKeesport, Munhall, Pittsburgh, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek and West Homestead.

SVA also operates a statewide program designed to help manufacturers restructure their businesses to avoid layoffs. The authority is funded primarily through federal grants.

Gizzi was the financial manager for SVA, prosecutors said. They allege that beginning in December 2009 and continuing through June 2016, Gizzi issued checks to herself and her credit card company from SVA's account, forging the required signatures.

 
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Two Charged in Wrestleplex Burglary

June 30, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Police News

Two McKeesport residents face formal arraignment Aug. 25 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in connection with a burglary at the PWX Wrestleplex on Beacon Street.

Larry D. Bryan, 39, and Brian L. Kellum, 38, are charged by McKeesport police with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and theft by unlawful taking. Bryan is currently free on $5,000 percentage bond, court officials said, while Kellum is free on his own recognizance.

Police said they are still seeking a possible accomplice in the break-in.

The Wrestleplex is a venue for professional wrestling which also broadcasts events on the Internet. According to a police report, McKeesport police were dispatched to the facility off Evans Avenue just before 8 a.m. June 10.

 
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Crime Stoppers Seeks Help in May Homicide

June 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help in connection with the investigation of a murder on Wesley Street in May.

McKeesport police were called to a home in the 1800 block of Wesley Street just after 10 p.m. May 27 after receiving reports that a man had been shot there. Police found Antonio Wallace, 31, lying on the living room floor and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the back.

Wallace was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

 
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Former Versailles Gun Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charges

June 13, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Police News

The outspoken owner of a Versailles gun shop that closed abruptly a few months ago has pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of illegal firearms, tampering with evidence and witness tampering.

Erik D. Lowry, 37, former owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms on Walnut Street, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said today in a prepared statement.

In conjunction with Lowry's guilty plea, a guilty plea to a charge of illegally selling firearms also was entered on behalf of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms.

Prosecutors allege that Lowry sold firearms at his store and through gun shows on what he called a "cash-and-carry" basis in which he failed to determine whether or not his customers had a criminal record.

In addition, they claim, Lowry acquired what federal officials classified as a "destructive device" --- a 12-gauge shotgun with a high-capacity drum magazine --- but failed to register it, as required, with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

 
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