Washington woman jailed in Canton burglary

August 3, 2014

A Washington woman is in custody on charges she broke into a Canton Township home last month while the resident was sleeping on a couch.

Authorities arrested Melissa C. Bird, 40, of 391 Chestnut St., on a warrant Saturday, accusing her of entering the 401 Buena Vista St. residence of Matthew W. Longood about 3:50 a.m. July 5, state police noted in court records. She also is accused of attempting to get inside the homes of a number of his neighbors the same morning.

Longood said he awoke about 4 a.m. to see a woman rummaging through dresser drawers in front of him. He got up and attempted to hold her there while he called for help, police stated in the affidavit supporting the charges.

He said he tackled the woman and was able to take a silver ring from her before she fled in an unknown direction after crawling out a rear bedroom window.

Longood said he recognized the woman from her having been at his residence in the past, but he didn’t know her name. He also told police she appeared to be in distress when he found her in his living room, court records state.

Later that day, one of his neighbors reported to police she awoke that morning to a woman’s screams and someone knocking loudly on the front door. When the neighbor opened the door, she found a young woman wearing a ripped T-shirt and having a large bump on her head.

The woman then wandered around in confusion and walked away, going door to door, the neighbor said.

Bird allegedly returned to the area when police arrived to investigate Longood’s complaint. Police said Bird never complained of being a victim of a crime that morning. A third neighbor, who returned home from vacation a week later, discovered an attempt was made to enter a window at his residence while he was away, police said.

Police sought an arrest warrant in the cases against Bird July 17, charging her with burglary, attempted burglary, criminal mischief, loitering and public drunkenness. She is in Washington County jail on $10,000 bond set Saturday by District Judge Robert Redlinger.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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