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Burglary suspect caught in Coaldale

Published August 23. 2010 05:00PM

A Coaldale man with a long police record was caught red-handed, allegedly burglarizing a borough home on Sunday morning about 4 a.m.

Gary M. Heller, 51, of 222 W. Early Ave., remains in Schuylkill County prison under $20,000 straight cash bail, said Police Chief Tim Delaney.

Heller was charged by Officer Scott D. Cramer with burglary, criminal trespass, possessing an instrument of crime, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief.

Here's what happened, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed with District Judge Stephen Bayer of Tamaqua:

Police responded to a call about a break-in in progress at 144 Sixth St. The caller said she saw a man in the home next to hers taking things out of the home. Upon arrival in the area, Cramer was advised that the man was returning. As he approached the home, he saw a white male walking toward the back of the house. The man was arrested and identified as Heller.

Heller said he lives at a home on West Early Avenue and that his girlfriend had sent him to get cigarettes. Heller was bleeding from both arms, and told police it was from bug bites he had scratched open.

The witness told police Heller was the man she had seen going in and out of the home several times. She said she had been awakened by noises coming from the home. She knew the residents were not at home, and there should not have been anyone there. From her back porch, she saw the man come out of the home carrying boxes of items, and take them into the basement of a home at 222 W. Early Ave. He would then return to her neighbor's house and take out more items.

When he arrived, Cramer found a stereo with compact discs, video tapes and a stereo cabinet on the street. The witness said Heller had removed them from her neighbor's home and was trying to take them into the home at 222 W. Early Ave.

Heller had allegedly entered the home by breaking a window to the rear on the back porch, and was cut by the broken glass; blood was found in the home. Heller was on all levels in the home, including the basement, first floor, second floor and the attic, according to the witness.

Heller told police he lives with a Carol Cichello at 222 W. Early Ave.

Officers contacted Cichello, who told them she did not send Heller for anything, and that she was sleeping and had no idea what was going on. She told police she owns the house and that Heller had been living with her for about a year.

Cichello gave police permission to search her basement. Police checked, and found items that had been taken from the Sixth Street home.

Police also recovered multiple items of drug paraphernalia, which Cichello said belong to Heller.

Heller was advised by police that he was under arrest for burglary, and read his Miranda warnings. Photos were taken of the scene, and police found two paper towels freshly stained with blood. They collected evidence and took DNA swabs of the blood in the Sixth Street home.

Heller was taken to the police station, where he was checked for injuries. Police found two cuts, one on his right forearm and the other on his left elbow. The bleeding had stopped, and Heller refused medical treatment by emergency responders.

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