Four charged in Cal U. computer thefts

December 17, 2013

Four Carmichaels residents were arrested Tuesday by California University of Pennsylvania police and detectives with the Washington County district attorney’s office on theft and other charges for allegedly stealing computers from the Cal U. nursing program.

Shannon Wallace, 41, of 107 N. Vine St., who is one of the four arrested, was a medical administrative assistant for Community College of Allegheny County assigned to work at Cal U. as part of a collaborative program between the two schools.

Howard Wallace, 41, also of 107 N. Vine, and Stephanie Yoder, 20, and Ryan Havanis, 30, both of 10 Biddle Acres, also were charged. District Attorney Gene Vittone said Shannon and Howard Wallace are husband and wife. Yoder is the daughter of Shannon Wallace and Havanis is her boyfriend.

Shannon Wallace allegedly ordered iPads for the nursing program and took them from the university to resale stores, where she would exchange them for cash. Wallace was in charge of ordering iPads for students in the program. Police said she allegedly stole the computer tablets between February 2011 and September. She enlisted the help of her husband, daughter and Havanis after she was red-flagged by the stores and could no longer sell the computer tablets.

Investigators said 51 iPads and iPad Minis valued at $21,460 were stolen from the Morgan Research Center. Vittone said it was determined the program was short iPads and an audit was conducted. An investigation was then done.

Police learned the iPads were sold at Game Stops in Washington, Belle Vernon, Uniontown and Morgantown, W.Va., and collected more than $12,000.

Additional stolen iPads were found in a search of Shannon Wallace’s home. Shannon Wallace reportedly told police she sold them because of “financial troubles.”

Through the collaborative relationship between CCAC and Cal U., students attended classes on the Cal U. campus. CCAC faculty members taught the nursing courses while Cal U. faculty handled the non-nursing courses. Students earned an associate degree in nursing from CCAC.

“California University of Pennsylvania holds everyone who works on this campus to the highest standard of conduct and we are distressed by these allegations of wrongdoing by a CCAC staff member assigned here,” said Christine Kindl, Cal U. spokeswoman.

“At the same time, we appreciate the very thorough and professional investigation conducted by our university police department,” she added. “We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as this case moves forward.”

Shannon Wallace is charged with theft, theft by deception, receiving stolen property, tampering with or fabricating evidence, misapplication of entrusted property, conspiracy and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities. Howard Wallace, Yoder and Havanis are each charged with receiving stolen property, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, theft by deception and conspiracy.

All four were arraigned before District Judge Joshua Kanalis and released on $2,500 unsecured bond. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Jan. 13 before Kanalis.

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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