A Schuylkill County man, formerly of Lansford, was given a prison term on Tuesday in Carbon County court after pleading guilty to retail theft and other criminal counts. He was one of nine defendants in pending cases to enter a guilty plea before Judge Steven R. Serfass.
Christopher W. Weston, 29, of Pottsville, was sentenced by Serfass to serve three to one day less 24 months in the county prison on a reatil theft charge. The same sentence was also imposed on a charge of resisting arrest.
Weston was arrested on the retail theft count on June 9, 2010, at the Family Dollar Store in Lansford. He was apprehended by store personnel attempting to steal $150 worth of merchandise.
On Nov. 22, 2010, police were called back to the store when personnel said Weston was at the store and acting suspicious. When police arrived Weston fled into nearby woods. He was found and told there was an active warrant for his arrest and he was going to be taken into custody. He struggled with officers before being subdued and handcuffed. He also caused a disturbance while being questioned at the scene leading to a disorderly conduct count.
Weston has been in the Schuylkill County jail for the past four months on a probation violation. He is also facing sentencing next week in Schuylkill on a driving under the influence (DUI) charge in which he has pleaded guilty. On that charge he is facing a mandatory one to two year prison term.
Serfass also ordered Weston to pay a $300 fine and costs on the conduct charge, and render three hours of community service per month while on probation or parole. The Carbon sentence runs concurrent to the probation sentence he is serving in Schuylkill. He was given credit for six days spent in jail on the Carbon charges. He was also granted immediate work release, if eligible.
Other defendants who entered guilty pleas included:
Salvatore J. Canzoneri, 23, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count each of driving under the influence (DUI) and persistent disorderly conduct. He was arrested on May 12, 2009, along Patterson St., in Lansford. Given a test, the result showed the presence of controlled substances in his system. At the stop Canzoneri caused a disturbance leading to the conduct charge.
Serfass sentenced him to serve 72 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, license suspended for a year, ordered he get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment and render three hours of community service per month while on parole. On the conduct charge he was placed on probation for a year, running concurrent to the DUI sentence.
He will begin the jail term at 6 p.m. on March 25.
Samantha Green, 21, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy-retail theft-as a felony. She was arrested on Sept. 12, 2010, at Redner's Warehouse Market in Nesquehoning attempting to take $20.21 worth of merchandise. Arrested with her was her boyfriend Zack Beddiges, police said.
Serfass placed her on probation for three years and ordered her to get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use, supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee, and render three hours of community service for each month on probation.
She is currently serving a 90 day jail term for a probation violation which runs to April 12. Serfass ruled the new sentence runs concurrent with her jail term.
Eric B. Houck, 26, of Fleetwood, Berks County, pleaded to one count each of unauthorized use of an automobile and public drunkenness. He was arrested on Nov. 19, 2010, along SR1003 in Kidder Township. Police found him in the vehicle of Kurt Pegg but did not have permission to have the car. Houck and Pegg were friends, it was noted. Also, Houck was highly intoxicated at the time.
Serfass placed him on probation for two years and ordered restitution fo $9,600 for damages to the vehicle. On the drunkenness charge he was fined $300 and costs.
Justin Berger, 19, of Lehighton, pleaded guilty to one count of terroristic threats. He was arrested by Kidder Township police for an incident on Dec. 22, 2010, at the home of his father, Barry Berger. Berger and the father had a dispute over money, police said. The defendant went to the home, intoxicated, and threatened his father with a knife.
Serfass placed him on probation for three years and ordered he render three hours of community service per month while on probation. He was given credit for 83 days spent in jail on the charge.
Kevin John Faenza, 43, of Port Carbon, Schuylkill County, pleaded to one count of receiving stolen property. He was arrested on Dec. 19, 2010, by Lansford police for an incident at Boyer's Market. He admitted his involvement in the theft of merchandise valued at $18.91.
Serfass placed him on probation for a year and ordered he get both a D&A and mental health evaluations.
Garry R. Froehlich, 55, of Hallstead, Susquehanna County, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on Jan. 5 along the turnpike in Kidder Township by state police at Pocono. Given a test, the result was .11BAC.
Serfass sentenced him to serve 48 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $500, one year license suspension and get a D&A evaluation.
He begins the jail term at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 18.
Joseph D. Occhiato, 42, of Pittston, Luzerne County, pleaded to one count of retail theft. He was arrested on May 14, 2010, at the WaWa store, along SR534, in Kidder Township, taking an item valued at 99-cents.
Serfass placed him on probation for a year and ordered he render three hours of community service per month while on probation.
Michael Paul Zwiesdak, 61, of Lansford, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on Sept. 29, 2010, along Patterson St., in Lansford. Given a test, the result was .25BAC.
A first offense, Serfass placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300, get a D&A evaluation and render three hours of community service per month while on probation.
Each defendant must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.