Canonsburg man charged in burglaries of two homes

March 24, 2014
Justin Joseph Holliday

A Canonsburg man who reportedly told borough police he is addicted to heroin, spending $200 to $300 a day on the drug, was arrested for burglarizing two homes this month.

Justin Joseph Holliday, 25, of 416 Giffin Ave., was arraigned Sunday night before District Judge David Mark on a warrant stemming from the March 4 burglary of a home on Smithfield Street. Fourteen hours later, he was arraigned by video on charges he broke into the home of neighbors on Giffin Avenue Friday.

Canonsburg police Sgt. Al Coghill said Holliday told him Sunday night that he was sick from heroin withdrawal, and he was using 20 to 30 stamp bags a day, which he bought in Pittsburgh. Coghill said Holliday told him he had tried other means to get money for heroin but decided to burglarize his neighbor’s home because he knew no one was there at the time.

“He was stealing to feed his habit,” Coghill said. “This is one of those typical heroin crimes. When the money dries up after begging and borrowing, they usually turn to stealing.

“All of our property crimes can be connected to drug use,” the detective added. “That is why it is important to get them off the street if they can’t get into rehab.”

Holliday was taken into custody after police received a tip he was at a home on Blaine Avenue. He was not there, but police said as officers were leaving the house, they spotted a man dressed in black who started running.

A neighbor told police who were searching the area they saw Holliday enter another home on Blaine. When police went to the apartment, the woman who answered the door said he was not there, but she would not let police check. Police set up a watch on the apartment. A short time later, after the woman’s father talked with her, she told police she found Holliday in her apartment but was not sure how he entered.

Coghill obtained a warrant to search Holliday’s home after getting a tip he was responsible for the burglary at his neighbors’ residence. Recovered at the suspect’s home were a laptop computer, two flat-screen televisions, a silver chain, two hairbrushes, two rings, two jump ropes and a pink iPod case, police said. Police also said Holliday sold stolen jewelry to a Canonsburg resale shop.

Coghill said he is trying to track down where jewelry and other items may have been sold. He said more arrests are pending on charges of receiving stolen property.

Holliday and Christopher Coen, 34, of 515 Perry Como St., are accused of stealing items valued at more than $39,000 from the Smithfield Street residence. Coen was arrested March 11 on burglary and related charges. He is in Washington County jail on $50,000 bond.

Holliday faces two counts each of burglary and theft, as well as one count each of criminal trespass, criminal mischief, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. He is in jail on $50,000 bond. He and Coen face preliminary hearings before Mark on April 2.

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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