Mother, son charged in burglaries

January 29, 2013
Nicholas and Pamela Cessna

A North Strabane Township mother and son were arraigned Tuesday in connection with three house burglaries late last year in North Strabane, South Strabane and Somerset townships.

Pamela Cessna, 53, and Nicholas Cessna, 21, both of 57 Hothouse Lane, were initially arrested Dec. 24 for a burglary of a neighbor’s home. But those charges were withdrawn and refiled Tuesday to include all three burglaries.

The two are accused of burglarizing the home of Rene and Gene Hudock, 48 Hothouse Lane, North Strabane, on Dec. 8; the home of Mark and Nancy Scopel, 134 Roupe Road, South Strabane, on Dec. 21, and the home of Reid Yannacci, 647 Lincoln Ave., Somerset, on Dec. 23.

Washington County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Lucas said when police searched the Cessna home after their arrest, they found property believed to be stolen from the homes in South Strabane and Somerset.

“It took some time to verify whose property it was,” Lucas said Tuesday. “Then a decision was made to bring all the charges together.”

Pamela Cessna also was charged by police with forgery, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and bad checks. She allegedly got two people to cash checks totalling $2,500 that had been stolen from Four Seasons Landscaping in November.

North Strabane police were investigating the use of stolen checks when they received information from someone who had gone with the Cessnas while they sold jewelry.

At one resale, Nicholas Cessna allegedly remarked that “we had a big score” and would not have to do anything illegal for awhile, according to court documents.

Police were able to get documentation of Pamela Cessna selling some jewelry at a store in Monroeville. The Hudocks were able to identify the jewelry as belonging to them.

When police went to their home Dec. 24 to arrest them, Ray Cessna, Pamela’s husband and Nicholas’ father, gave police permission to search the home. A charm bracelet matching the description given to South Strabane was found along with drug paraphernalia. Police also found a receipt for the sale of a diamond ring belonging to Lawanda Yannacci.

During the arraignment, Nicholas Cessna told District Judge Jay Weller the evidence appears to involve his mother more than himself.

Weller set bond for each at $100,000. Frank Arcuri, attorney for Pamela Cessna, argued the amount was excessive since she is not a danger to herself or others.

“The charges are excessive,” Weller answered. Both are charged with three counts of burglary and theft and one count each of conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

She was transported to the Washington County jail. Nicholas Cessna had been lodged in jail on a probation violation.

Also on Tuesday, Nicholas Cessna waived unrelated charges of driving under suspension, unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of paraphernalia to court.

A preliminary hearing on the new charges is set for Feb. 12.

Cessna and her husband are also facing charges filed by the state attorney general’s office in July for allegedly failing to pay business-related taxes.

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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