A 21 year-old, Pennsylvania man has been charged with a non-residential burglary and sexual intercourse with an animal following an August 16, 2016, incident in Lancaster County. Ephrata Police allege that Travis Wagner entered a barn with the intent of committing a crime therein. Usually, theft is the crime intended to be committed when a person unlawfully enters a building and is charged with burglary. But in this case, the only thing allegedly stolen was the poor miniature horse's dignity and innocence.
A 65 year old Pennsylvania man has been charged with criminal trespass, defiant trespass, indecent exposure and public drunkenness after he was found drunk and naked inside his neighbor's pig barn. The natural question is why anyone would want to frolic in the nude among pigs. The man explained to Manor Township Police of Lancaster County, "I just like pigs."
Residential Burglary charges were filed last week against a Minnesota man. This would hardly be worthy of international attention, but for the way in which the burglar was caught. Twenty-Six year old Nicholas Wig broke into a home and used the victim's computer to log into his own FaceBook account! Not only was Wig kind enough to not steal the computer, he was also foolish enough to leave behind his digital fingerprints. He even failed to log out of his FaceBook account before leaving the scene. New technologies are making it easier to solve crimes, but sometimes the criminals themselves play a greater role in their downfall than any technology.
A Pennsylvania teen who broke into a woman's home by kicking in her front door will be charged only with criminal mischief, and more importantly, he is still alive. Earlier this week, 19 year old Cory R. Gootee of York County left a friend's house to smoke a cigarette. He was so intoxicated that he ended up trying to enter the wrong house. When he discovered the door was locked, he decided to kick it in, which would have been inappropriate even if it were his friend's house, but much worse when it is the home of an unsuspecting neighbor. A 31 year old woman was waiting at the door with her hand gun drawn when Gootee burst through her doorway. She commanded him to not come any closer, and called 911 to report a burglary in progress. Gootee retreated to his friend's front porch, where police found him. Gootee explained to the police that he was simply confused due to his intoxication, and the police found his story to be credible. Although he could have been charged with a second degree felony charge of criminal trespass, the victim asked police to charge Gootee only with the summary offense of criminal mischief, which entails destroying or damaging another person's property without permission.
State Patty's Day is one of Penn State's newest traditions, and also by far the most controversial. Few people were ever truly offended by the time-honored and comical Mifflin Streak, but many State College residents have expressed annoyance over the unabashed bacchanalian festival created in 2007, when Old Main deliberately scheduled spring break when students would not be in town for St. Patrick's Day. Penn State's plan backfired when the students created the alternative holiday known as "State Patty's Day," which turned out to involve far more irresponsible drinking than the original Irish drinking holiday ever did in State College.
A 50 year old, female attorney is behind bars, unable to post bail on a Lebanon County, Pennsylvania robbery charge. Kathy Laurino Yeatter is accused of robbing the Sunoco A-Plus Market on Routes 72 and 419 in West Cornwall Township on November 12, 2013. She was taken into custody without incident shortly after police pulled over her vehicle in response to a 911 dispatch.
As a criminal defense lawyer, it is a pet peeve of mine to hear people misuse the terms "burglary and "robbery." It is a common mistake for people to use these terms interchangeably, as if they are synonyms for the same crime. However, as any first year law student or police academy graduate can tell you, these are actually very distinct crimes not only under Pennsylvania law, but in all jurisdictions following English common law traditions.
It was not long into my career as a criminal defense attorney when I realized that the majority of crimes are either rooted in the pursuit of or effects of drugs and alcohol, or in mental illness, or a combination of the two. My educated guess is that the 38 year old woman who accused workers at a South Central Pennsylvania SPCA animal shelter of "kidnapping her niece," was likely suffering from some DSM-V mental health diagnosis, in light of the fact that her "niece," Molly, is actually a dog. The bizarre delusion led to a rather unusual, alleged burglary over last weekend.
Many things have changed since I lived in the Penn State dorms in the early 1990s, but unfortunately, one thing that has not changed is the high number of dorm room burglaries on the Penn State campus. Dorm burglaries are common, because so many students carelessly leave their doors unlocked when they go to the study lounge or take a shower. The burglars are often other students, who lurk around, waiting for a time when both roommates are out of the room and have left the door unblocked. With dorm rooms being so small, it generally only takes a few seconds to locate and grab valuables.
Before the typical student arrives at college, he has seen scores of movies glorifying the drunken debauchery and mayhem of fraternity life. In movies like "Revenge of the Nerds" or "Animal House," the impressionable, teen viewer is shown that laws do not apply to fraternities and sororities. Such films have a long cinematic tradition, and many are quite funny, but in the real world, fraternity pranks often lead to the filing of criminal charges. As a criminal defense attorney in State College, PA, I deal with such cases first hand.