Canonsburg man arrested for breaking into former neighbor’s home

April 10, 2014
Paul Dessify, 32, of Canonsburg, is led to his arraignment by Canonsburg police officers Louis Bailey and James Eckels at District Judge Jay Weller’s office in North Strabane Township. He is charged with breaking in the basement door of his former neighbor’s home. - Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Canonsburg police are crediting alert neighbors for helping them make an arrest in last week’s home invasion on Murdock Street.

Paul Dessify, 32, of 10 Payne Place, was arrested Thursday after turning himself in to police for allegedly kicking in the door at the home of his former neighbor at 130 Murdock St. Matthew Williams told Canonsburg police he was sleeping after working the midnight shift when he heard a knock at the door. Before he could respond, he heard his basement door being kicked in. Matthews saw a man, later identified as Dessify, turn and run through the backyard.

Dessify was identified after surveillance photographs were released. Neighbors recognized Dessify and had seen him in the area before and after the break-in, said police Sgt. Al Coghill. Dessify formerly resided at 132 Murdock.

A day after the home invasion, a neighbor called police and told them he had seen Dessify in the area around the same time wearing the same outfit.

“The neighbors were instrumental in identifying him after the photo was released,” Coghill said Thursday. “We were able to piece the puzzle together. Then we put together a photo line-up and the victim was able to identify him.”

Mayor David Rhome said he was extremely proud of the efforts by vigilant neighbors as well as the police. Police Chief R.T. Bell remarked on the good job done by all the officers, especially Officer Louis Bailey, in getting the case cleared.

Rhome said police learned that Dessify had spotted a package on the front porch of Williams’ home.

“Packages on porches, mail left in the mailbox and stickers from delivery companies on the door for any length of time make the homes targets of thieves,” Rhome said. “It is imperative to get packages and mail in a timely manner.”

Coghill said police had been in contact with Dessify over the past two days after getting a warrant for his arrest and were able to convince him to turn himself in at the station.

During his arraignment, Dessify commented “Wow!” as District Judge Jay Weller read the list of charges and noted that burglary is a first-degree felony.

“How is it burglary when I just attempted it?” Dessify asked. “I didn’t steal anything.”

Dessify told Weller that he had been addicted to heroin but had been clean for about six weeks. “Relapse is so easy,” Weller told him. “Recovery is so hard.”

Dessify was arraigned on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, attempted burglary and criminal mischief. He was placed in Washington County Jail on $25,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for April 23 before District Judge David Mark.

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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