Alleged car thief nabbed

Photo of Kathie Warco
By Kathie Warco
Staff Writer

A Westmoreland County man who reportedly failed to return a car to a Bentleyville dealership after a test drive Tuesday was nabbed by Washington police when he returned to stalk an employee of Four Star Pizza on Jefferson Avenue.

Samuel Johnwick Kusaj, 42, of West Newton, was taken into custody after he tried to flee from police.

Washington police were investigating Kusaj Tuesday afternoon regarding the harassment and had asked a 911 dispatcher to run his name for any warrants when they learned he was accused of failing to return a 2009 Chevrolet Aveo to Tregembo Motors after taking it for a test drive. The owner of the dealership, Barry Tregembo, said that Kusaj left his license with him when he took the car on a test drive.

Police asked the dispatchers to broadcast a bulletin to be on the lookout for the vehicle. Officer James Markley, who filed the charges, indicated that he believed Kusaj would return to the victim’s place of employment at the pizza shop.

As police were talking with the victim, Kusaj pulled into the lot with the stolen car and along a window where he saw police. Police tried to stop him, but he sped around the cruiser before getting stuck in traffic on Jefferson. Kusaj ignored police orders to get out of the car with his hands up and had to be forcibly removed. He continued to struggle with police until he was placed in handcuffs.

Kusaj was arraigned before District Judge Mark Wilson on charges of theft, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. He was placed in Washington County Jail on $25,000 bond.

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