Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – September 13th, 2013

NORTHWEST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace investigated a poaching incident. Charges will be filed. Information provided by concerned sportsmen helped identify two individuals who stole a six-point buck.
• Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that several citations have been filed for operators of off-road vehicles on land enrolled in the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Hunter Access Program.
• Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin reports that a pile of remodeling debris was found in a Game Commission parking area in South Pymatuning Township. These items were illegally dumped on property that is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Shenango River Lake and is under lease agreement with the Pennsylvania Game Commission as the No. 415 Wildlife Management Area. Evidence was collected that enabled officers to identify the residence that had been remodeled. Preliminary interviews have begun, and the investigation is ongoing, but charges are expected to be filed.
• Warren County WCO Jason R. Amory reports that multiple citations have been issued for spotting after 11 p.m. A Titusville man in Eldred Township and a Coraopolis man in Triumph Township were cited on separate occasions resulting in fines between $100 and $200 each.

SOUTHWEST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Beaver County WCO Mike Yeck reports that a resident was found guilty for illegal possession of eight degus. The degu is a wildlife species that is native to Chile and is a prolific reproducer that, if released into the wild, can cause competition to native Pennsylvania species.  Charges have been filed, he said.
• Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer said a Monaca woman was found to be in possession of numerous sugar gliders. “She was offering the unlawful animals for sale on the Internet. Following an investigation, citations were filed with the local district judge and the animals were confiscated.
• Fayette County WCO Douglas Bergman said charges will be filed against three individuals for spotlighting between the hours of 11 p.m. and sunrise, spotlighting with a firearm in the vehicle, hunting without licenses, and using a motor vehicle to locate game.
• Fayette County WCO Douglas Bergman said charges will be filed against two individuals for driving a vehicle on roads closed to motor-vehicle travel and possession of alcohol on state game lands. 
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel said three individuals were found on State Game Land 228 around 10:30 p.m. one night with their pickup parked in the far corner of a parking lot. They had their music turned up loud and were consuming alcoholic beverages. The driver of the vehicle, and the sole person in possession of the alcohol, was cited for possessing and consuming alcohol on state game lands.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel said a large buck was found dumped along a dirt road in Quemahoning Township. “The deer had apparently been hit by a vehicle and then dumped at a different location and also had been skull-capped for the antlers.
• Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports that three individuals were apprehended while unlawfully riding ATVs on the Great Allegheny Passage Biking Trail in Garrett.
• Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports a woman was cited for driving her vehicle on the Great Allegheny Passage Biking Trail in Garrett. The woman was nearing the Salisbury Viaduct (a converted train bridge) when she was apprehended.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports a juvenile pleaded guilty to charges stemming from killing a Canada goose at a local softball tournament. “The juvenile stoned the goose in front of hundreds of onlookers, many of them yelling at him to stop,” he said. “When I arrived the adults and children lined up to give their information, willing to testify to what they had seen,” he said. Only one individual made a call to the regional office. That call was the key to making the youth accountable for his actions.
• Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer said recent arrests for agricultural vandalism and crop destruction on cooperator properties resulted in thousands of dollars in restitution being paid to farmers. “This involved several incidents where individuals decided to destroy farmers’ crops and land with a motor vehicle and it has generated interest in the hunter-access program. Several neighboring farms to where these incidents occurred have now enrolled their properties into the program and now allow the public to hunt and trap there,” he said.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Indiana/Armstrong County WCO John Hopkins reports that a New Alexandria man pleaded guilty to possession of a sub-legal muskie after having his photo published in a local newspaper with a 31-inch tiger muskie. The individual admitted to catching the fish and also provided officers with other photos having the date and time of violation. 
• Indiana/ Armstrong County WCO John Hopkins filed BUI charges against a boat operator at Yellow Creek on Aug. 6. The operator’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.143 percent. The threshold for boating under the influence is a BAC of 0.08 percent just like driving a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania.
• Indiana/Armstrong County WCO John Hopkins filed several charges against a Westmorland County resident for attempting to sell native reptiles and amphibians on Aug. 10.
• Allegheny County WCO Mike Walsh recently conducted a boating under the influence accident that occurred when the operator of a 19-foot cabin motorboat went over the Highland Park Dam on the Allegheny River. The operator and other three others on board suffered minor injuries. Charges will be filed on the operator who had a BAC of 0.161 percent.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION

From the Game Commission
• Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee conducted an investigation in Liberty Township involving two juveniles who were spotlighting from a borrowed car in the early morning hours July 5. Neither youth had a driver’s license, but they did possess a paintball rifle, which they used on a deer standing just off state Route 414. Both juveniles were cited.
• Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer said Deputy WCO Terry Sheetz euthanized a bull elk on Knobs Road in Goshen Township. This elk displayed typical symptoms of being infected by brainworm and was submitted to the PSU Diagnostic Lab for testing. Characteristics of this parasitic disease are similar to CWD. Lab results confirmed that the animal was infected by brainworm.
• Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer completed an investigation related to an individual killing a bull elk in July. The subject will be facing charges for killing an animal during a closed season. This particular bull was a 6×7 and earned a gross green score of 300 points.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• On Aug. 24, Lycoming County WCO Emmett Kyler arrested a male boat operator for suspicion of Boating Under the Influence. The suspect pulled his boat into the dock at the PF&BC Linden Access area while Kyler was conducting a safety inspection on another boat.  Kyler observed that a juvenile on the boat was wearing an improperly sized personal floatation device. Kyler approached the operator to address the PFD issue and discovered that the operator was under the influence of alcohol.  Following a series of field sobriety tests,  the operator was arrested and taken for chemical testing.
• Cameron County’s WCO William Crisp and DWCO George Alfionis were docking the patrol boat at the Wolf Run Marina after a patrol on the Allegheny Reservoir when they discovered a brawl in progress. Approximately 20 individuals were gathered around two men actively fighting while a third man lay on the ground bleeding and unconscious. The officers separated the two men and gave aid to the victim. EMS was called. The victim was treated and is recovering from a head injury. Felony assault charges are pending against one of the men.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION

From the Game Commission
• Franklin County WCO Douglas Barrick has received reports of deer being shot in his district. The heads and antlers are being removed and the rest of the deer left behind to rot.
• Blair County WCO William Brehun reported that one defendant from a recent deer-poaching incident pleaded guilty to an early case of using the headlights from his vehicle in shooting a button buck in 2011. He was charged for unlawfully killing big game, shooting on or across highways, and for shooting within or through a safety zone.
• York County WCO Kyle Jury reported that conservation officers are seeking information on several violations involving people bowfishing in the Susquehanna River from Golsboro to York Haven. One bowfishing party in particular is unlawfully targeting species that are not in season and cannot be taken with a bow, including mallard ducks and several reptiles. The party usually fishes between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. along Brunner Island and launches from the Goldsboro access. 
• York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that several citations were filed on several people for unlawful activity on a cooperative agreement property. All defendants have pleaded guilty.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• In Mifflin County, a search warrant was executed at a property in New Lancaster Valley as a result of a covert investigation focusing on the unlawful possession and trade of native reptiles and amphibians. Multiple officers with the Fish & Boat and Game commissions, Armaugh Township Police Department, Mifflin County District Attorneys Office and Mifflin County Probation Department participated in the search. Multiple native snakes (including timber rattlesnakes) were seized, as well as numerous pieces of frozen game animals and a sizeable cache of firearms. Waterways Conservation Officer Corey Girt has charged the two occupants of the residence with multiple misdemeanor criminal charges including unlawful sale and/or possession of native reptile and amphibians, unlawful possession and taking of big game animals (white-tailed deer and turkey), unlawful taking of big game (white-tailed deer) afterhours through the use of a light and unlawful possession of wildlife (relating to seasons and bag limits). The execution of the search warrant was temporarily delayed as a result of one of the suspects receiving emergency treatment (anti-venom) for a copperhead bite sustained earlier that morning.
• Franklin County Waterways Conservation Officer David Hurst and Deputy Waterways Conservation Officer Robin Brandt successfully prosecuted two individuals for taking fish by illegal methods, utilizing an unlawful device (gill net) and fishing without licenses. The charges resulted from an incident on the Conococheague Creek (Scotland Ponds) where troopers from the State Police and officers from the Department of Military & Veteran Affairs apprehended the suspects attempting to retrieve their net during late night hours. Magisterial District Judge Todd Williams levied fines and costs in excess of $1,300. A bench warrant was issued for one suspect who failed to appear.    
• A Huntingdon County investigation subsequent to the discovery and capture of a 5½-foot American alligator from Shade Creek has resulted in misdemeanor criminal charges of reckless endangerment, false reports to law enforcement and unlawful introduction of non-native injurious species to commonwealth waters being levied against two individuals. The suspects (who lawfully possessed the alligator) failed to retain custody of the reptile through negligence and/or intentional release, and then failed to notify the proper authorities of this potentially hazardous occurrence. No one was injured by the 80-pound reptile during its release. The alligator is being cared for at a local wildlife rehabilitation facility.
• Waterways conservation officers at Raystown Lake and the Susquehanna River continue to focus their boating patrols on detecting and apprehending boating under the influence criminal offenses. Operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance (BUI) mirrors operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance (DUI) with an analogous minimal blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. To date, 28 suspects have been arrested within the Southcentral Region for BUI, with the highest BAC recorded as 0.315 percent.  (almost four times the legal limit).

NORTHEAST REGION

From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Luzerne County officers recently conducted a property detail at the recently drawn down Mountain Springs Lake property. Since the draw down, more and more people are finding their way to the property to take part in illegal activities. During the detail, 13 citations were issued for property violations and one individual was arrested for DUI.

SOUTHEAST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Chester County WCO Scott Frederick and Berks County WCO Eric Anderson recently worked a detail on the State Game Land 43 rifle range to curb the misuse and vandalism that has been on the rise recently. In an afternoon, eight individuals were cited for a variety of violations and twice that many were given warnings for minor violations. 
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that several citations have been written on State Game Land 156 for violations involving control of property, unintended use of game lands and also for disorderly conduct. “Some of the people cited have been cited on the same state game lands in the past for the same violations,” he said.
• Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that several illegal deer cases were adjudicated in July and August.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Bucks County WCO Michael Johnson filed charges June 10 against two Morrisville residents who were involved in purchasing shad from anglers fishing the Delaware River. A covert investigation conducted by undercover officers revealed that the two residents were soliciting shad anglers to purchase their catch. The individuals were each cited for four violations of the Fish & Boat Code, and fines and court fees totaled in excess of $1,500 for each defendant.
• Bucks County WCO Michael Johnson arrested a 42-year-old Levittown man for boating under the influence on the Delaware river in Bensalem on June 9.
•  Bucks County DWCO William Edwards arrested a 32-year-old Levittown man for boating under the influence on Van Sciver Lake, Falls Township, on June 15.
•  Bucks County WCO Michael Johnson on July 7 arrested a 33-year-old man from Burlington, N.J., for boating under the influence on the Delaware River at the Neshaminy State Park Marina.
• Bucks County WCO Michael Johnson arrested a 35-year-old Yardley man for boating under the influence on the Delaware River at the Yardley Access Area in Lower Makefield Township on July 14.
•  Bucks County WCO Michael Johnson arrested a 24-year-old man from Langhorne for boating under the influence on July 28 on the Delaware River in Falls Township.
• Chester County WCO Robert Booney arrested a 23-year-old woman from Downingtown on June 15 for driving under the influence on Route 322 in East Caln Township.
• Delaware County WCO Ronald Evancho arrested a 28-year-old man from Deptford, N.J., for boating under the influence on July 4 at Darby Creek on Ridley Township.
• Delaware County WCO Ronald Evancho arrested a 31-year-old Broomall man for boating under the influence on Darby Creek in Ridley Township on July 30.
• Dauphin County Waterways Conservation Officer Mark Sweppenhiser was dispatched to an incident at City Island on the Susquehanna River where an individual stole a personal watercraft and subsequently crashed the vessel resulting in it being swept over the Dock Street Dam.  Upon reaching shore, this individual then stole an SUV motor vehicle and led police officers from Susquehanna Township and Harrisburg City on a high-speed vehicle pursuit, during which the fleeing party was involved in multiple hit and run collisions. This individual (who was under the influence of multiple illegal substances) was apprehended and subsequently incarcerated, facing criminal charges of operating a watercraft under the influence, driving under the influence, theft, and numerous associated Vehicle Code violations.
• Lebanon County Waterways Conservation Officer Douglas Deppen was first on scene at a motorcycle/motor vehicle crash on SR 322. As first responder, Deppen administered first aid to the severely injured motorcycle operator and assumed public safety traffic control efforts to the responding emergency services personnel once on scene.

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