A jury found a Rush Township man guilty of four burglaries of vacant homes located within a mile radius of his home on Fairview Street in the township with two accomplices.
The verdict was returned Tuesday afternoon in the Schuylkill County court after deliberating two hours. Judge John E. Domalakes fixed Friday, Dec. 6, as date of sentencing.
Frederick Andrew Postie, 42, of 626 Fairview St., denied on the witness stand of participating in the break-ins of the four homes and removal of thousands of dollars worth of copper piping, electrical wiring, and tools from one building.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Lehman painted Postie as masterminding the crimes, pointing out to the jury that Postie testified he took daily walks of five miles so he was able to see which homes were occupied and which were vacant. He also instructed his accomplices, Kerry L. Frank of Summit Hill, and Stephanie Keck of Rush Township, both who testified against Postie, to wear gloves in order not to leave fingerprints and not to smoke because DNA identifications could be obtained from discarded butts.
Frank testified that Postie also went on the Internet to learn about families going on vacations leaving their homes unoccupied and also checking newspapers for sheriff sales of properties which in most cases were vacant. Frank also testified of contributing to locating vacant homes because he worked on a garbage truck collecting trash in the area and new which homes were not putting out garbage.
Public Defender Christopher Hobbs painted a picture to a jury that Postie was a victim of a scheme made up by the accomplices who reasoned if they were caught to pin the crimes on Postie so they could get a deal from the district attorney for their testimony.
It was the work of Rush Township Sgt. Duane Fredericks, whose investigation led to the apprehension of a trio. He presented to the jury a hand written statement made by Postie to the police in which he admitted being at the scene of two robberies in order to help Keck, with whom he had a relationship, and claimed because he broke it off she was seeking revenge.
He denied entering any of the buildings but did admit going to a scrap yard with the defendants to sell items. He claimed Frank obtained copper and brass items by salvaging it from the garbage he collected. Frank had an account with Weiners Scrap Yard in Pottsville.
The jury found Postie was involved in the burglaries of the property at 268 E. Main St., 714 and 716 Claremont Ave., and also an adjoining warehouse from which a large amount of copper pipes, electrical wiring, and coils from a furnace were removed.
The jury also found Postie guilty of four counts each of criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking of movable property, criminal mischief, and receiving stolen property. Postie was also found guilty of receiving stolen property from 268 Main St., owned by David Mazaika, valued at more than $2,000; property at 714 Claremont Avenue, owned by Robert William Trust, more than $2,000; and on its building at 716 Claremont Avenue, more than $2,000; and the property at 474 Fairview St., owned by Grouse Hunt Farms Inc. and Kresge Farm Foods Inc., more than $2,000.
Postie's problems with the law are not over. On Monday he is scheduled to pick a jury in Carbon County where he is facing burglary and related charges.