Mather man pleads guilty to burglary

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WAYNESBURG – A Mather man whose attempt to burglarize a storage unit at Kovalcheck’s Storage was thwarted by the owner of the property who was armed with a gun, pleaded guilty to charges Tuesday before Greene County Judge William Nalitz.


James M. Kennedy, 28, of 721 Seventh St., Mather, pleaded guilty to burglary, conspiracy, criminal trespass, theft, possession of instruments of crime, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal mischief. He also pleaded guilty to retail theft, an unrelated offense.


Kennedy was sentenced to 3 to 29 ½ months in jail, fined $1,000 and ordered to pay restitution.


Cumberland Township police said Kennedy and Stephen Michael Whipkey, 21, of 3127 Mt. Morris Road, Waynesburg, broke into a storage unit at Kovalcheck’s on Khedive Road Dec. 21. The two were confronted by Sam Murphy, the owner of the units, who was armed with a gun and detained them until police arrived.


Police said when they arrived, Kennedy and Whipkey were sitting on the ground in front of the unit, being held at gunpoint by Murphy. Police said they observed the metal latch on the storage unit was cut and a cut padlock was lying nearby on the ground. A pipe with marijuana residue was found in their vehicle.


Whipkey also faces charges in connection with the incident.


Kennedy also pleaded guilty to retail theft. Police said he stole two flash drives Sept. 16 from the CVS Pharmacy in Franklin Township. He was confronted outside the store by a store supervisor. After turning one of the drives over to the supervisor, he fled on foot.


In another case, a Waynesburg man who earlier pleaded guilty to pointing a gun at another man and threatening to shoot him was sentenced Friday by Judge Farley Toothman.


Donald Edward Lemasters, 65, of 335 Waterdam Road, pleaded guilty to simple assault and terroristic threats. Lemasters pointed a gun at Terry Phillips on March 10 and told Phillips he was going to shoot him because he believed Phillips had ripped him off in a transaction in which Lemasters had sold Phillips tires.


Phillips fled and called police


Lemasters was sentenced to 90 days of house arrest and 33 months of probation. He also was fined $750.


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