A man who allegedly burglarized the home of a Lehighton fire chief three days after the chief had died has waived the charges to Carbon County Court.
Ryan Thomas Heiser, 29, who had lived next door to the fire chief, was scheduled to appear before District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, and theft.
After waiving the hearing, he was remanded to Monroe County Prison where he is being held on unrelated charges.
The fire chief, John "Jack" Kuller Jr., of North Fourth Street, died on Friday, April 22. The burglary occurred on Monday, April 25, at about 6:45 p.m.
Officer Brian H. Biechy of the Lehighton Police Department said there was a witness to the alleged burglary who saw two individuals – a male and a female – on the porch area of the Kuller residence when it occurred.
The witness told police that the male pushed the rear door open and both individuals went into the Kuller residence.
According to the affidavit filed by Biechy, Heiser "voluntarily stated that he was the one that broke into the Kuller residence."
The second party mentioned in the affidavit is Heiser's "girlfriend," Susan Steinhouser, who has not been charged.
The affidavit states, "The offender went inside to look for money and stated the only item he left with was a rosary. The offender gave the rosary to Steinhouser, who was a lookout on the back porch."
Kuller, 60, died unexpectedly in his residence on Good Friday. The cause of death was ruled natural by the Carbon County Coroner's office.
Kuller had served as fire chief in Lehighton from 1995 until his death.