Home invasion suspect sought in Canonsburg

April 3, 2014
Police said this image from surveillance video shows the suspect in an attempted burglary Wednesday on Murdock Street in Canonsburg.

Canonsburg police are looking for a would-be burglar who kicked open the basement door of a Murdock Street home Wednesday afternoon.

Matthew Williams was asleep in his home at 130 Murdock about 12:45 p.m. when he heard a knock on the front door.

“It took him some time to make his way to the door,” said police Sgt. Al Coghill. “The next thing the resident knows is his side door is getting kicked in.”

The suspect was surprised when he saw Williams, Coghill said. The would-be burglar muttered an obscenity, and ran through the backyard in the direction of West Pike Street.

Police from Canonsburg and Houston searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect.

“This is a typical daylight burglary,” Coghill said. “The burglar knocks on doors in an area to see if anyone is home.”

“If someone answers the door, they make up some excuse and leave,” he added. “If no one answers, then they assume no one is home and may try to break in. They figure most people work during the day.”

“But this is the exact situation where things can go wrong if the burglar is surprised by a resident,” he said. “That is when they can become dangerous.”

Coghill said he does not know if the suspect tried other houses in the area before going to Williams’ home.

The suspect is white, in his 30s, about 6 feet, 1 inch to 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 200 to 240 pounds, with what Williams described as scruffy facial hair. He wore black sunglasses, stone-washed jeans and a royal blue hooded shirt that was zipped up. Coghill said he was seen just before the break-in attempt wearing a white T-shirt.

“Several people saw him running toward the railroad tracks so he might be from this area,” Coghill added.

Anyone who might have encountered the suspect knocking on the door of their home or who may have seen him in the Murdock/West Pike area Wednesday is asked to call Coghill at 724-745-8020, ext. 523.

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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