Schuylkill man guilty of receiving stolen property
A Schuylkill County jury took just ten minutes to return with a guilty verdict for a Tamaqua man.
Joshua S. Honey, 22, was found guilty of receiving stolen property, which was a 2010, 250 cc dirt bike. Judge John Domalakes set sentencing for August 9.
April Danner, Tamaqua, testified that the dirt bike belonged to her son, John, who had left for military service one month after graduating from high school. The dirt bike was kept in her basement, but on August 13, 2017, when she went to the basement to do laundry, she saw it was gone.
Tamaqua Police Officer Christian DeAngelo interviewed Danner that day, recording a theft report. DeAngelo testified that another Tamaqua officer had received information that Honey was in possession of the dirt bike. DeAngelo interviewed Honey August 21, 2017.
“He (Honey) said that he saw it for sale on Facebook, from an individual in Lansford named Jose Rodriguez,” DeAngelo testified. “He said that he’d realized about 3 days later that it was probably stolen and was going to call Tamaqua police but did not.”
Under cross examination, defense attorney Bill Burke pointed out that Honey had been cooperative with DeAngelo and had told him the location of the dirt bike, which was a construction company in West Penn Township where he was employed. On redirect, prosecutor Julie Werdt questioned DeAngelo about Rodriguez; DeAngelo replied that no Josey Rodriguez could be located despite the efforts of Lansford Police.
DeAngelo was the only witness called in the case; Honey did not testify. Before resting his case, Burke asked to make a motion, and the jury was briefly excused. He asked that the case be dismissed, as the commonwealth had offered no proof – such as a VIN number or photograph – proving John Danner’s ownership of the dirt bike. Werdt argued that ownership had been proven by April Danner’s testimony; an argument Domalakes accepted.
In his closing argument, Burke again pointed out that no documentation had been provided to prove ownership of the dirt bike.
“Just saying that the bike was in my basement is not enough,” Burke said.
In her closing argument, Werdt said that the defendant had admitted to DeAngelo that he knew the dirt bike was stolen. Also, she pointed out, he did nothing about that knowledge until a police officer knocked on his door.
“Probably stolen – he used those exact words to the officer,” Werdt said. “He made up Jose Rodriguez to cover his tracks, and he was going to hold on to it (the dirt bike) until somebody showed up.”
Honey has two prior arrests, both from 2015. He was arrested by Rush Township Police February 22, 2015 on charges of terroristic threats, simple assault, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and harassment; in a negotiated plea May 16, 2018 he pled guilty to possessing an instrument of crime.
He was arrested by West Penn Township Police June 29, 2015, and charges with agricultural vandalism and criminal mischief/damage property. In a negotiated plea May 16, 2018, he pled guilty to criminal mischief/damage property. He was sentenced to 4 to 23 months for possession an instrument of crime and to 12 months for criminal mischief, damage property.