Two arrested on burglary charges

November 14, 2012

South Strabane Township police have charged two men in connection with a June 7 burglary at a home at 527 Zediker Station Road.

Leo Russo, 36, of New Kensington, and his alleged accomplice, Christopher Lee Vasquez, 21, of Castle Shannon, are accused of burglarizing the home of Thomas Welling.

Welling told police that items stolen from his home included a 46-inch LED television, stereo system, Apple Powerbook laptop computer, Playstation 3 game system, Apple iPad, digital cameras, train sets and other items. The estimated value of the stolen items was $15,000.

South Strabane police Detective Ken Torboli said that Russo is related to Welling and was aware what was in the house and knew when the home would be unoccupied. Welling told police that Russo became angry when he would not give him money. Russo is also familiar with Welling’s dog and is comfortable around him.

Police learned that some items including the television, Apple equipment, cameras and game system, were sold at an entertainment store on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh. Vasquez was identified as the person who sold the items to the store. He later told police that Russo was with him when he sold the items, but the other man did not have photo identification required for the transaction.

Russo was apprehended in Penn Hills, where he had been working, Torboli said. The detective enlisted the assistance of Penn Hills police because South Strabane police received information that Russo may resist or flee from police.

Russo was arraigned Tuesday before District Judge Jay Weller on charges of burglary, conspiracy and theft. He was placed in Washington County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Vasquez, who was previously arraigned before Weller on identical charges, waived his case to court Tuesday. He is free on $25,000 unsecured bond.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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