SMETHPORT — A Bradford man accused of assisting another man in a theft that included a piece of police evidence entered a guilty plea Thursday in McKean County Court.
Brandon E. Benjamin, 19, pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking. District Attorney Stephanie Vettenburg-Shaffer explained that between March 1 and 17, Benjamin conspired with Gregory Benavidez in the theft of $200 worth of merchandise from the Chestnut Street Uni-Mart in Bradford, $20 from the family of a deceased person and a flash drive belonging to Bradford City Police that had evidence of another crime on it. Benjamin’s attorney, Dawn Fink, noted that Benjamin kept the store clerk occupied while Benavidez took the items.
“My client doesn’t even know why (Benavidez) took the flash drive,” Fink asserted.
Benjamin will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Also in court, Matthew J. Wells, 24, of Bradford, pleaded guilty to a charge of simple assault. Shaffer said that on March 23, Wells punched a male in the face about four times; it was severe enough the victim felt like his jaw was broken, and he suffered bruising and a missing tooth. He will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Natasha J. Canfield, 27, of Port Allegany, pleaded guilty to a charge of escape. On April 22, Canfield removed herself from her handcuffs when she was being arrested on a bench warrant for absconding and fled into the woods, according to Assistant District Attorney Jerry Grill. She will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Curtis D. Howard, 29, of Bradford, pleaded guilty to a charge of forgery. Between March 8 and 22, Howard forged two checks for Allegheny Store Fixtures that totaled $1,046.55, according to Shaffer. He will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Dwayne Motley, 49, of Olean, N.Y., pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by unlawful taking, three counts of retail theft and a summary retail theft. The charges come from actions on five occasions between Oct. 21 and Dec. 9, during which time Motley stole hundreds of dollars of merchandise and on one occasion tried to return an air mattress to Walmart that he did not purchase, said Assistant District Attorney Bridget Murphy. He will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Krista L. Hartzell, 34, of Port Allegany, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit retail theft. According to Murphy, on Dec. 23, Hartzell agreed with a 16-year-old juvenile that one or both of them would take $838.71 in merchandise from Walmart. Hartzell will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Alexandra J. Lazor, 23, of Oil City, pleaded guilty to a charge of furnishing liquor to a minor. Grill said that on Dec. 1, Lazor provided a location — the Econo Lodge in Bradford — for five minors to drink alcohol. She will serve one year of probation and write a research paper on the effects of alcohol on minors and on furnishing alcohol to minors.
David F. Burns, 54, of Bradford, pleaded guilty to charges of harassment and scattering rubbish. On April 16, Burns approached two elderly neighbors, clenched his fists, screaming, and urged the male to fight him; then, he threw boards on the neighbors’ property, said Shaffer, who noted Burns had several convictions for similar behavior. He will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Kristen M. Stahli, 28, of Hazel Hurst, pleaded guilty to charges in two separate cases. In one case, she entered a plea to a charge of receiving stolen property, and in the second she entered a plea to a charge of retail theft. According to Murphy, on Oct. 25, Stahli received less than $15 worth of candy belonging to Sheetz, and on Dec. 5, she took $67.70 worth of items from Dollar General. Stahli will be sentenced Aug. 15.
Accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program were George E. Ruggles, 64, of Bradford, for DUI-alcohol; and Donald C. Fanzini, 53, of Fairview, for DUI-general impairment.