Police close Wash High cocaine investigation

  • By Emily Petsko July 25, 2014

Washington police closed an investigation regarding a $3,000 bag of cocaine found in a Washington High School stairwell in May.

Police Chief Chris Luppino said police “exhausted all leads” and could not glean new findings from surveillance tapes provided by the school district. Superintendent Roberta DiLorenzo did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

The surveillance tape showed a plastic bag containing 32.5 grams of cocaine lying in the stairwell May 22. Zane Ryan Zebrasky, a therapy support staff member working at the school through an outside contractor, faced drug charges that were dropped several days later once police reviewed more surveillance footage.

Zebrasky, 24, of Canonsburg, was initially charged with committing the crime when police reviewed the surveillance tape and said it appeared the cocaine fell from Zebrasky’s pants pocket. But after reviewing an additional 25 minutes of the tape leading up to the point when Zebrasky appeared, police determined the cocaine was thrown down the steps by someone not captured on camera.

The small object was caught by an unidentified male, who immediately dropped it on the floor and kept walking. After that, the object was not visible on the surveillance camera until Zebrasky walked down the steps and seemingly kicked the bag into view.

Zebrasky again walked up the stairs five minutes later and did not appear to notice the bag on the ground.

Luppino said the male who caught the cocaine was found not to be a suspect. The high school has a limited number of motion-activated surveillance cameras, which tend to be older than modern cameras and produce a grainier image.

The false charges against Zebrasky caused a stir in the Prexie community. Conspiracy theories were circulated, and both the school and police department faced criticism. A Washington School Board member called on the district and city police to issue a public apology to Zebrasky and his family.

Emily Petsko joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in June 2013. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor's degree in journalism and global cultural studies.


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