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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Westmoreland County sheriff’s two teenage sons are facing charges. They’re accused of robbery and theft in Florida.
This comes as the sheriff himself has faced charges that he had his staff do campaign work while on the clock.
Ryan Tutera, Sheriff Jonathan Held‘s attorney, says he can’t comment on the Florida case: “It has nothing to do with what he’s on trial for. It has absolutely zero to do with it.”
But police in Cape Coral have released details of the charges.
The sheriff’s teenage sons, both juveniles, are among three teens charged with armed robbery and grand theft.
“The victim had set up a purchase of a vape handle over Snapchat,” according to the police department’s public affairs office.
According to police, the victim claims the teens pulled up in a minivan, and one of the sheriff’s sons pulled a gun on him.
“The driver pulled a black handgun from the driver’s side door pocket, pointed it at the victim and told him to give him the money and anything else he had on him,” officials said.
The victim handed over his wallet and cellphone and ran, according to police.
Police tracked down the teens and took them to a juvenile facility.
Florida’s laws are different than Pennsylvania’s, so the juvenile’s names and mugshots have been released. KDKA has decided not to use them.
“They’re children. They’re teenage children, and they have privacy rights and that should be respected,” said Tutera.
It was just three weeks ago that Sheriff Held was on the news after a judge declared a mistrial in his corruption case. It happened after a juror who had apparently agreed to vote guilty changed his mind.
And while Tutera says the Florida charges are unrelated, he does believe the publicity could affect the sheriff’s case.
“I think it can have a significant impact. I think it could cause a change of venue or what’s called a change of venire,” said Tutera.
A change of venire is when outside jurors are brought in because they feel the local population can’t be impartial.
By the way, prosecutors have decided to retry Sheriff Held after the mistrial, but there’s a hearing Friday, where his attorney will ask the judge to throw out the remaining charges against him. One charge has already been dismissed.