New Castle News

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July 13, 2013

Three charged in stolen meat case

NEW CASTLE — Mark Panella, a city fireman, businessman and New Castle school board candidate, is facing charges for alleged stolen meat dealings.

Union Township police this week filed charges against Panella, 53, of 2010 Glendale Ave., Donald L. Macarella, 67, of 115 Friendship St. and Wayne E. Randall, 52, of 808 Court St.

Each man faces two misdemeanor charges of receiving stolen property and two summary charges of disorderly conduct.

Panella said Friday he has “no idea what you’re talking about.”

District Judge Jennifer Nicholson, in whose office the charges were filed, said none of the three has been taken into custody and no warrants have been issued. She explained that often when lesser grade criminal charges — misdemeanor or summary — are filed, citations notifying defendants of the accusations are sent through the mail.

A preliminary hearing will be scheduled 30 days after the notice is mailed out, Nicholson said.

According to court papers, on July 10, 2012, Union Township police answered a call reporting incidents of stolen meat, soap and paper products from Walmart.

The incidents, occurring from July 2, 2012, through July 13, 2012, resulted in $2,766 in merchandise being taken from the store, police said.

Two men — Michael K. Aeschbacher, 40, and Gary J. Rakoci, 21 — were arrested in conjunction with the retail thefts. Both face multiple charges including retail theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

Court documents state one of the men — Aeschbacher — provided police with a written statement in which he said he had sold the soap, steaks and paper towels to Randall, Macarella and Panella at Buzz and Rich’s Tavern for about half price.

Panella is an owner of that South Side bar.

In his statement, Aeschbacher also said the three men knew the merchandise they were purchasing had been stolen.

When informed of what Aeschbacher allegedly had told police, Panella said he doesn’t know Aeschbacher or Rakoci.

“The names are not ringing a bell.”

Panella, an assistant chief with the city fire department, won a spot on both the Democratic and Republican ballots in the May primary for New Castle school board.

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