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July 19, 2013

Shenango Township: Police say jewelry, guns used to obtain heroin

NEW CASTLE — Two men have been charged after a safe was taken from a Shenango Township home.

Police said jewelry and credit cards in the safe had been used to acquire heroin.

Shenango Township police charged Alexander James Kaufman, 24, of 2430 Dean Drive with criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property and access device fraud.

Brian George Metz, 54, of 1945 S. Jefferson St. was charged with two counts of conspiracy in the July 4 incident.

Shenango Township police also charged Kaufman with burglary, theft and receiving stolen property in connection with an incident July 3, where guns, cash and other items were taken from a home.

Again, police allege the purpose of the burglary was to gain funds to obtain heroin.

According to criminal complaints filed in the office of District Judge David Rishel, officers said Kaufman admitted he had taken the locked safe and put it in the back of a vehicle driven by Metz.

From there, Kaufman said, he pried the safe open with a crow bar and gained access to the contents of jewelry, cash and credit cards that police valued at more than $18,600.

Kaufman said he dumped the empty safe off a bridge, according to police.

Kaufman told police he had traded some of the jewelry to a man in exchange for $200 worth of heroin and other pieces were pawned for cash, officers said.

According to the complaint, Kaufman said he then used the credit cards to obtain $500 worth of gift cards, which were used to purchase merchandise at a local business. He said he then returned the items for cash, which he used to buy heroin.

Police also interviewed Metz and said he had admitted driving Kaufman around, but told them he had not noticed him prying open the safe in the back of his vehicle. He said he did see Kaufman throw something over a bridge, police added.

In the second case, police said Kaufman admitted to a break-in where he took four guns and accessories, as well as cash. The total value was listed at just over $2,800 by police.

Officers said Kaufman admitted to trading the guns to a man for $50 each plus some heroin.

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