HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that three thieves who stole at least $145,000 in all-terrain vehicles, four-wheelers and dirt bikes in Erie and Crawford Counties last year were held for trial today following their preliminary hearings.
Burt Williams, 43, Alexander Corder, 40, and Michael Allen, 53, were held for trial today on various charges related to the theft and illegal sale of at least $145,366 in ATVs, dirt bikes, off-road vehicles and lawn mowers from 12 dealerships in Erie and Crawford Counties. The three were held for court after hearings before Crawford County District Justice Lincoln S. Zilhaver. Two other defendants, Everett Crowley, 52, and Jeffrey Edmond, 31, remain at large.
With assistance from a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, and the Pennsylvania State Police Auto Theft Task Force, Office of Attorney General prosecutors learned that Williams was the ATV theft ringleader who directed two defendants to commit most of the thefts. Williams worked with two other defendants to find buyers and sometimes moved the stolen vehicles and merchandise to unknowing customers in the Atlanta area. Williams paid at least two of the defendants in crack cocaine, fueling their addictions to illegal drugs.
“Williams coordinated this ATV-theft ring in Northwest Pennsylvania, while he fed the addictions of two other defendants,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Thanks to the effective use of the grand jury and law enforcement collaboration with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and Pennsylvania State Police, these defendants will face justice.”
Williams enlisted Crowley and Corder to steal the off-road vehicles. Crowley and Corder typically entered the dealerships at night by either physically cutting the fence surrounding the establishment or driving through it, resulting in costly damage.
Following the thefts, Williams, with the help of Edmond and Allen, transported and resold the stolen vehicles to customers in Erie and Crawford Counties, as well as Atlanta. In one instance, law enforcement recovered three zero turn mowers valued at $30,000 from an individual who had purchased the mowers without knowledge of the theft from Williams for $1,200.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Katherine Wymard.
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