Police raid Jefferson business

June 20, 2014
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Bob Niedbala / Observer-Reporter
Marko Demaske is led from District Judge Glenn Bates’ office Friday morning by Greene County Sheriff Brian Tennant, left, and sheriff’s department Cpl. Thomas Nichols, rear. Order a Print
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Tara Kinsell/Observer-Reporter
The state police forensic services unit executed a search warrant Friday morning at Demaske’s Tavern on Route 188 in Jefferson. Order a Print
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Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter
State police and other law enforcement officials removed multiple items from Demaske’s Tavern in Jefferson Friday. Order a Print

JEFFERSON – Law enforcement descended on Demaske’s Tavern in Jefferson shortly after 6 a.m. Friday morning and spent the better part of the day removing numerous items, including guns, from the bar, the second-floor residence and the surrounding property that is licensed as a junkyard.

In addition to the weapons, police were seen removing chain saws, compound bows and a power washer.

As a result of the search, police arrested Marko Demaske, 51, of 1447 Main St., Jefferson, and charged him with one count of receiving stolen property. Demaske’s mother, Sylvia Irene Demaske, has held the liquor license on the tavern since 1961, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Marko Demaske was arraigned Friday morning before District Judge Glenn Bates and placed in Greene County jail on $25,000 bond. He was released from jail shortly after 5 p.m. Friday after posting bail.

In a criminal complaint, Trooper Timothy A. Gilbert alleged that during a search of the residence Friday morning a Remington rifle was found that was reported stolen from a Cumberland Township resident.

Gilbert said he obtained a warrant to search the residence of Marko Demaske on Wednesday. A search warrant was issued to Gilbert Wednesday by Greene County Judge Farley Toothman but it was sealed by the court. However, the cover document made specific mention of crack cocaine.

During the arraignment, Demaske told Bates he is self-employed. “I do my own work. I haul junk and stuff. I do everything,” he said.

Court records show Demaske had only minor run-ins with the law in the last 10 years. According to Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System records, he was arrested in 2005 for escape and disorderly conduct and in 2003 for disorderly conduct. He was acquitted by juries on charges connected with both incidents.

The property surrounding the tavern has come under fire in the past from Jefferson Borough council because of the amount of used appliances, scrap metal, old cars and junk being stored there.

Council several times began legal action to force Demaske and his mother to clean up the property. The last time the matter was in court, in August 2010, the borough was seeking an injunction to force Demaske and his mother to clean up the property.

Judge William Nalitz issued an order on Aug. 27, 2010, that enjoined the Demaskes from “accepting anymore junk or discarded material, including scrap or motor vehicles, or any parts of motor vehicles, at or on any property they won in Jefferson Borough, particularly the property at the corner of Washington Street and Route 188.”

Nalitz further ordered the Demaskes to pay a fine of $1,000 per day to Jefferson Borough for each day after Oct. 26, 2010, that junk remained on the property. The Demaskes were given the option of obtaining a permit to operate a junkyard at the location from the borough.

On May 6, 2011, the case was “continued generally” by stipulation of the Demaskes and the borough, leaving the case open to be rescheduled for trial or other proceeding before the court on fifteen days’ written notice to all parties.

According to Jefferson Borough secretary Relda Litten, the case was resolved when Marco Demaske paid a fine of $1,000 to the borough and filed for a junkyard permit, which was granted. He has since refiled and is up-to-date with the permit, according to Litten.

Speaking on behalf of law enforcement, Greene County District Attorney Marjorie Fox said, “Because the investigation is continuing, we are unable to provide additional information at this time.”

A preliminary hearing for Demaske is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 1 before Bates.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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