Home robbery in Vandergrift under investigation

posted Apr 26, 2017, 4:17 AM by Joseph Gray   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 4:18 AM ]

Vandergrift police are investigating a home invasion reported late Tuesday.

Police said a man and woman were watching TV at about 10:45 p.m. in their side of a duplex in the 100 block of Washington Avenue. Someone knocked on the door, and when the resident started opening the door, three men burst inside — two armed — and demanded money.

They got about $110, authorities said, but didn't assault them before leaving.

At some point the same night, the three men entered the other side of the duplex, but nothing was missing when the occupant returned home, police Chief Joe Caporali said. It's unclear which side of the duplex they went to first, the chief said, or if the robbers had gone the wrong address, Caporali said.

Witnesses told police all three were black and wore hooded sweatshirts, either blue or dark colored, and sweatpants.

One was 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and had his face partially covered.

Another has his hoodie pulled back to show he was bald or had his head shaven. He was about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall.

No further description was given on the third suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 724-568-5507.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 , or on Twitter @ChuckBiedka

2 hurt in Vandergrift motorcycle crash

posted Apr 16, 2017, 11:07 PM by Joseph Gray

Valley News Dispatch | Friday, April 14, 2017, 11:36 p.m.       

A motorcyclist was seriously injured in an accident at Hancock Avenue and 31st Street in Vandergrift about 11 p.m. Friday, according to Westmoreland County emergency dispatchers.

There were two patients, according to dispatchers.

The first, a man, was flown to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.

The second was a woman who was a passenger. She was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

2nd Vandergrift man accused of child molestation

posted Mar 30, 2017, 5:25 AM by Joseph Gray


Joseph Patrick Baker, 42, of Whittier Street is accused of indecent assault, corruption of minors and related charges involving a child younger than 10.

According to a police report, the alleged incidents happened between Oct. 1 and Jan. 16 in several locations.

Baker was released from jail last Wednesday after posting $100,000 bond, court records show.

A check of online court records indicates Baker apparently does not have a prior criminal record.

Last week, Brian Andrew Redmond, 31, of 15th Street was accused of the rape of a child.

In addition to rape, Redmond is charged with eight sex charges and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned by District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec.

He was earlier charged with using a knotted rope to beat a child.

Vandergrift police filed the rope beating case in January.

Redmond remains in the West­moreland County Prison in lieu of $275,000 combined bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or

Rape charges added for child abuse suspect

posted Mar 23, 2017, 8:58 PM by Joseph Gray

Chuck Biedka | Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 12:01 a.m.
Courtesy of the Westmoreland County Prison.
Brian Andrew Redmond

A Vandergrift man already charged with savagely beating a child with a knotted rope was accused by police Tuesday of raping a child.

Brian Andrew Redmond, 31, of 15th Street is in the West­moreland County Prison in lieu of $275,000 combined bond.

He was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec.

In addition to rape, Redmond is charged with eight other sex charges and endangering the welfare of a child.

Yakopec tacked on an additional $100,000 bond to the amount Redmond already was being held on.

Vandergrift police filed the rope beating case in January. The child's mother said the child had trouble standing up and had bruises across the body.

According to her office staff, preliminary hearings on the rope and sex cases are scheduled for April 11 at the request of Redmond's public defender.

Redmond also is held on an arrest warrant from Walton County, Florida, for not paying fees related to his probation on a 2013 conviction of exploiting the elderly. A $75,000 cash bond was filed in that case.

In court records, Florida officials claim Redmond didn't pay $1,000 in court costs and is in violation of parole.

Three years ago, Redmond and his mother were convicted of charging $775 worth of items to a 93-year-old man's credit card in Defuniak Springs, Fla.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or

Westmoreland DA: Body believed to be missing Vandergrift woman was burned

posted Mar 23, 2017, 8:55 PM by Joseph Gray   [ updated Mar 23, 2017, 8:56 PM ]

Chuck Biedka | Monday, March 13, 2017, 1:57 p.m.
Ronny Marie Cable.
Ronny Marie Cable
Ronny Cable

The remains believed to be a missing Vandergrift woman who was last seen on surveillance video with two men at a Wal-Mart was burned, the county's top prosecutor said Monday, providing a possible hint why authorities can't make a positive identification quickly.

Ronny Marie Cable, 34, hasn't been seen since Feb. 16, and authorities say they are almost certain that the body found last week in a remote wooded area in Derry is her. They have turned to a renowned forensics team from Mercyhurst College to help with the identification.

“I can confirm that the remains were burned,” Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck disclosed Monday, adding that the body was found in a snowy, wooded area off Strawcutter Road but “wasn't buried in the sense of a grave.”

Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide but haven't disclosed how the person might have been killed.

Peck declined to say what led detectives to search the remote lot. But he has said previously that the circumstances that led detectives to the site and items found there led them to believe the body was Cable.

Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha, who is working with the Mercyhurst team, said a positive identification could take weeks because of what he said was the poor condition of the body.

Peck has said police have identified suspects in the case, but he hasn't elaborated.

He declined Monday to say if two men seen with Cable on the evening of Feb. 16 on surveillance cameras at the Wal-Mart in Harrison are the suspects. Police have not publicly identified the men.

Vandergrift police have said Cable was seen with the same men at her home on the night she went missing. All three left in a red Chevrolet car.

The last time a charge was made on Cable's bank account was the following night at a bar in a neighboring town. Police said she had not used her phone since Feb. 16.

Bacha said his staff has spent hours with the Mercyhurst team to discuss the remains and items that were found with it. Bacha said identification of the remains will be difficult.

“It will take a considerable amount of time. We will do the ID scientifically,” Bacha said.

That might include dental comparison to dental office records, possibly DNA, and examination of items found with the remains. Toxicology tests may be done as well, if that is possible.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or

Police search for missing Vandergrift woman

posted Mar 6, 2017, 4:33 AM by Joseph Gray

Valley News Dispatch | Sunday, March 5, 2017, 8:24 p.m.       

Vandergrift police are looking for a 34-year-old woman who has been missing since Feb. 10.

Ronny Cable of Vandergrift stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs about 175 pounds and has blond hair and blue eyes. She has tattoos on her lower back and lower leg.

Anyone with information is asked to call Vandergrift police at 724-568-5507 or Bring our Missing Home Tip Line, a national nonprofit that helps find missing people, at 810-294-4858.

Police: Man robs ride-share driver on Vandergrift street

posted Feb 25, 2017, 6:02 PM by Joseph Gray

Chuck Biedka | Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, 11:57 p.m.
Courtesy of Tarentum Police
Jacki Lee Williams

A Reserve Township man once known as New Kensington's “sob story robber” is accused of stealing $80 from a ride sharing service driver in Vandergrift.

According to court papers, Jacki Lee Williams, 44, of Highland Avenue, allegedly got a ride from Vandergrift to New Kensington and then back to Vandergrift about 3 a.m. Saturday.

After Williams spent a few minutes in a house along the 100 block of Seventh Street in New Kensington, the driver returned him to Vandergrift. It was then that Williams allegedly asked the driver whether she had change for a $100 bill.

In response, the driver took $80 from her purse and held it in her hand. According to court papers, Williams grabbed the money from the driver and got out of the car.

The driver saw Williams walk into a Franklin Avenue address and waited one hour for him to come out with change.

When he didn't return, court papers state, she called police.

Police found Williams, who police say has used eight aliases, including Mussa Williams, Jackie Williams and Jack Williams, in front of a store along Farragut Avenue in Vandergrift on Wednesday.

He was taken to the Allegheny Township office of District Judge Cheryl Peck-Yakopec, where he was arraigned on charges including robbery, theft and receiving stolen property.

Peck ordered Williams to be taken to the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $75,000 cash bail pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Williams was wanted on a warrant for a parole violation involving a robbery from last year.

Sob story robbery

In March, Williams pleaded guilty to what police called the “sob story” robbery.

According to New Kensington police, Williams told a man at a Harrison gas station that he had a family emergency and needed a ride to New Kensington. Williams offered to pay the driver for a lift, police said.

When Williams and the man reached New Kensington, police say Williams pulled a gun and robbed the driver, then fled.

In a plea deal, Williams was sentenced to five to 12 months in jail. He was given credit for time served and sent to an inpatient addiction facility in September. He was told his parole would be revoked if he left. In November, he was cited for violating the terms of his parole and, police say, he didn't attend a parole revocation hearing in January.

Additional charges pending

Williams is facing charges in another case in New Kensington.

He is accused of making terroristic threats and harassment in an incident in October and is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in March.

Police said Williams has a 48-page criminal record.

He previously had addresses in Arnold and New Kensington, and served jail time for robbery, theft and having drugs and paraphernalia in Arnold and New Kensington and theft in Tarentum.

In 1999, he was sentenced to state prison for robbery in Westmoreland County. He was released in 2004 after serving about four years, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711 or

Vandergrift man accused of beating boy, 9, with knotted rope

posted Jan 26, 2017, 11:24 PM by Joseph Gray

A Vandergrift man is accused of beating a 9-year-old boy with a knotted rope.

Brian Andrew Redmond, 31, of 15th Street also is wanted on a warrant from Walton County, Florida, for not paying fees related to his probation on a 2013 conviction of exploiting the elderly.

In the Vandergrift case, the boy was staying with Redmond earlier this month, according to court records.

When the boy's mother picked him up from Redmond's home on Jan. 14, she noticed the boy was having trouble standing, she told police. Then she found bruises on his legs and back, according to police.

She took her son to the hospital.

The boy later told police that Redmond beat his ribs, back and legs with a knotted rope and continued after the boy started to cry.

Redmond is charged with aggravated assault of a minor, two counts of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children. A preliminary hearing before District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec will be scheduled.

He was taken to the Westmoreland County jail on $100,000 cash bail.

Florida case

In Florida, Redmond and his mother, Betty Linda Redmond, were convicted in 2013 of exploiting the elderly in Defuniak Springs, Fla., where they lived at the time. Brian Redmond charged $775 worth of items to a 93-year-old man's credit card over three months, according to Florida court records.

The warrant for his arrest from the Florida Department of Corrections said Redmond defaulted on more than $1,000 in court cost payments, which violated his parole.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or

Collapsed 'Primo Event Hall' dismantled

posted Jan 5, 2017, 7:19 PM by Joseph Gray   [ updated Jan 5, 2017, 7:21 PM ]

Mary Ann Thomas | Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, 6:45 p.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Joli Cibik salvaged some photographs Sunday morning from the Primo Event Hall, the former Sons of Italy in Vandergrift, which collapsed Saturday night.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
A demolition crew works Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, on the remains of the Primo Event Hall, which collapsed Saturday night. The building was rented out for an event but was vacant at the time of the collapse. The structure is the former Sons of Italy on Lincoln Avenue in Vandergrift.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Jim Cibik, co-owner of the Primo Event Hall, and his wife, Joli, survey the collapsed section of the building Sunday morning, Jan. 1, 2017. The collapsed structure is the former Sons of Italy on Lincoln Avenue in Vandergrift.

A demolition crew quickly dismantled some Vandergrift history Sunday, removing large chunks of bricks and twisted steel from the former Sons of Italy hall, which unexpectedly collapsed Saturday just hours before a party.

“We are super grateful that there were angels above,” said Joli Cibik of Kiski Township, the wife of one of the building's owners. 

No one was injured when the building collapsed just after 5 p.m., hours before a birthday party. The building was vacant as planners shopped at Sprankle's Market next door, Cibik said.

Because of safety concerns of debris hitting cars or pedestrians, the borough arranged for a demolition crew to remove loose bricks and other materials Sunday morning from the two-story commercial building.

Police on Sunday reopened the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Walnut Street and a portion of the parking lot between Sprankle's and the collapsed building, now known as the Primo Event Hall.

Most of the debris fell toward the supermarket parking lot where several cars were damaged, including the mayor's.

Cibik was able to access the inside front of the building to salvage old photos of Tony Chin, who was supposed to have his birthday party in the hall New Year's Eve, as well as an intact banner that read “lordy, lordy, look who's 40.”

“You can't get this stuff back,” she said.

Unfortunately, most — if not all — of the old photos and memorabilia from the founding days of the Italian club are likely lost, Cibik said.

The two-story, approximately 8,000-square-foot hall was built in 1915 by Italian immigrants.

“It's sad; it's an iconic building,” said Brian Carricato, president of Vandergrift council.

“Every person in town has been there for christenings, dances, bingos and spaghetti,” he said.

Sunday cleanup

The building is off-limits to the property owners and others as the borough has deemed the structure unsafe for people to enter, Carricato said.

The borough designated its emergency management coordinator, Steve Potoka, to oversee the safety of the building.

The roof and portions of the second floor collapsed inside the building, according to Carricato, who was not sure how much of the second floor fell into the first.

When the insurance investigation is complete, the borough will meet with the owners to learn the fate of the building.

“It makes you sick,” said one of the building's owners, Dave Cable. “We spent so much time and energy to fix it up.”

The hall, which could hold 150 people, was booked every weekend, he said.

No one knows what caused the collapse of the hall, Potoka said.

Some thought there could have been some kind of explosion because there were pieces of insulation hanging in a nearby tree. But Potoka and Cable said they don't know if that was the case.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691 or

Christmas 2016 "Adopt a family Project" & "Gloves for Kids Project"

posted Dec 14, 2016, 7:34 PM by Joseph Gray   [ updated Apr 16, 2017, 11:11 PM ]



A special thank you to the following individuals and organizations who helped raise money and donate food and canned goods to families for Christmas and to purchase 600 pairs of gloves for Kiski Area Elementary East Primary, and Cardinal Maida Academy students:


Beneficial and Brotherly Love Society

Julia and Terry Martin

Kochka and Son Towing

Big Dawgs Performance

Dunmire-Kerr & Rowe Funeral Home

  Solomons Minimart II

Brady-Curran Funeral Home and Cremation Services

AJ's Bar and Restaurant

John Pomfret DBA Pomfret paint and variety

Tees n Tops

Spaniel Beer Distributor

Fox's Pizza

G and G restaurant

First Baptist Church of Vandergrift

The Whistling Duck

Sweetlane Chocolate Shop

Kelly's gathering room

Catholic daughters of Saint Gertrude

Casino theater

FCSLA Vilija Dinner

Just dance, Justine Alberts

Sprankles IGA

St. Vincent DePaul Conference St. Gertrude Parish

Council president Brian Carricato

Councilman Lenny Collini

Marilee Kessler

Diane Larue

Ashley Hannigan

Brenda Gray

Kelly Gray

To the many private and anonymous contributors...


A special thank you to you all. Merry Christmas from the Vandergrift Police Department.

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