Canonsburg police make arrests in burglaries
Less than three days after hearing complaints from residents about a lack of police presence, Canonsburg officers arrested one man on burglary charges and obtained a warrant for a second.
With Thursday’s arrest of Justin Holiday, the acquisition of a warrant for his alleged co-defendant, Louis Fonagy III, and Monday’s arrest of Jason Chadwick, police Sgt. Al Coghill believes the people responsible for about 17 burglaries are off the streets. Fonagy, who is in rehabilitation, will be arraigned later.
“I believe these three are responsible for the majority of burglaries, as well as some vehicle break-ins,” Coghill said. “There may be not enough evidence to charge them with all of the burglaries, but I feel comfortable believing we have gotten those responsible off the street.”
Coghill said all three blamed addiction to heroin for the crimes.
While the three all face burglary charges, Coghill believes Fonagy and Holiday worked together, while Chadwick worked alone. He did not rule out the possibility that the three may have worked together on occasion.
Mayor David L. Rhome said he was aware of the investigation into the burglaries while listening to criticism of the police department during Monday’s borough council meeting, but he was not able to address it because the probe was ongoing.
“People have to realize it takes time to develop (a case),” Rhome said. “Unfortunately, patience has to be a virtue.”
Police Chief R.T. Bell said his officers have been working on the burglaries for several months.
“People ask questions why nothing has happened, but they have to understand it takes time,” the chief added.
Coghill said that since May, there have been 17 burglaries in the borough, including a dozen in the East End. Both businesses and homes were hit when the buildings were not occupied.
“People were not home when their residences were burglarized,” Coghill said. “We believe sometimes they knocked, but they also knew the vehicles.
“We were seeing burglaries with the same method of operation,” the detective added. “We know in these types of crimes, the suspects are usually on foot. The officers and neighbors had seen them walking around.”
Coghill said the three had been suspects in the burglaries for months. He said residents being on the lookout for anything suspicious and letting police know what is going on is important.
“But the second part takes longest, and that is developing the case,” he added. “But keep the information coming with the understanding that is sometimes takes awhile.”
Earlier this week, Fonagy, 27, of Lawrence, agreed to talk with Coghill about the burglaries in the East End. The detective said Fonagy expressed a desire to get his life back together and was willing to make a statement.
According to Coghill, Fonagy told police he was a lookout for Holiday, who climbed into the Franklin Avenue home of Corey and Ryan Zavada through a window Aug. 27. Stolen from the home were a laptop computer, camera and jewelry.
Fonagy reportedly told police that he knew the Zavadas were not home because their vehicles were not at the residence.
The items were sold at a Dormont pawn shop.
Both men are charged in that case with burglary, theft, conspiracy and criminal mischief.
Holiday, 26, of 416 Giffin Ave., Canonsburg, was arraigned on the charges before District Judge David Mark and placed in Washington County jail on $25,000 bond.
Chadwick, who already was in Washington County jail for allegedly burglarizing a South Strabane Township beer distributor, was arraigned Monday for burglarizing an automotive repair shop on Euclid Avenue.
Police said they used a footprint and thumbprint to tie the 39-year-old North Strabane Township man to the break-in at John’s Automotive.
“I expect other forensic evidence to tie him to the burglary of another East End business,” Coghill said, noting that Chadwick has an extensive record of similar crimes, including arrests in Mercer County.
Coghill said police are continuing their investigations and more charges could be filed against the three.