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Flat Tire Helps Police Catch Up To Alleged Scrap Metal Thief

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State police in Indiana County say a man is facing a long list of charges in connection with the theft of scrap metal along some railroad tracks in Burrell Township.

The man told police he needed the scrap metal to get money to pay his bills, but his alleged scheme didn’t quite go as planned.

The botched theft happened along the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks off of Strangford Road in Burrell Township.

Jamie Metalla, 33, of Homer City, went there around 10:30 a.m. Thursday allegedly planning to load up on scrap metal.

“He borrowed his girlfriend’s pickup truck, reported or responded to that location, then loaded up 350 or approximately 350 what are classified as tie plates and also an eight-foot section of rail,” said Trooper John Matchik, of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Police say it was likely the weight of all that metal, combined with the rough terrain, that caused Metalla’s truck to get a flat tire on the train tracks.

“Basically, at that point he had no other choice but to try and change that tire and through those delayed efforts it allowed us to get there and that response from the police from Norfolk Southern,” said Trooper Matchik.

Metalla almost got away with $2,100 worth of scrap metal.

He has been charged with theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass for being on Norfolk Southern property.

“At that time, our troopers also discovered that this particular subject also had various items of drug paraphernalia on his or in his possession. So, he’s going to face charges along with those particular items, too,” said Trooper Matchik.

Metalla is in the Indiana County Jail unable to post bond.

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