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Palmerton man admits to role in burglary

Published August 20. 2014 11:24AM

A Carbon County man admitted his part in a burglary and was immediately sentenced so he could enter a rehabilitation program for drug abuse.

He was one of six defendants in pending criminal cases to enter a plea before Carbon County Judge Joseph J. Matika on Tuesday.

Mahoning incident

Robert M. Ruzicka, 23, of Palmerton, entered pleas in two pending cases.

He pleaded to one count of criminal trespass (felony three) for his part in a burglary in Mahoning Township on June 14 at 1012 Oak Grove Drive. Police responded to the area and found Ruzicka and his brother, John Ruzicka, 27, in the area. He admitted taking copper piping from the residence.

He also pleaded to one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on that charge on April 28 at 128 Delaware Ave. by Palmerton police.

Ruzicka admitted to a heroin addiction problem and said his criminal activities were all the result of the addiction.

Matika told him, "Heroin is like your best friend and your worst enemy."

In a plea agreement, the district attorney's office agreed to probation sentences and also for a probation violation charge pending, so Ruzicka could be immediately be paroled and taken by his mother to the Salvation Army inpatient rehab program in Altoona.

Matika agreed but warned Ruzicka if he fails to complete the program or leaves before being discharged he must return to the county prison and would face jail time.

Matika placed him on probation for a year on each count, consecutive. He was also ordered to pay his share of restitution, which is $2,630.90 for damages to the property in the burglary case, and to render a total of 100 hours of community service when he is released from the Salvation Army program.

Other pleas

Other defendants entering pleas included:

Moises Flores Jr., 20, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of false identification to law enforcement.

He was arrested on May 9 by Nesquehoning police for an incident along Willow Lane near a foot bridge. He and two others were found by police drinking beer. Flores gave a false birth date when confronted by police.

Flores is currently serving a prison term for a probation violation which runs to December. Matika placed him on probation for a year, concurrent with his prison term, and ordered he render 50 hours of community service when paroled.

Dennis L. Nedley Jr., 31, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of furnishing alcohol to minors.

He was arrested by Nesquehoning police on May 2 with Flores. He supplied Flores and another underage person with the alcohol found by police.

Matika placed him on probation for a year and ordered he pay a fine of $1,000.

Following the plea hearing a probation violation hearing was held in which Nedley admitted violating his probation on other charges. He was resentenced to serve three to six months in the county prison with credit for 61 days already served.

Mark Alan Hufnagle, 46, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of simple assault.

He was arrested by Kidder Township police for an incident at the Pocono Tap House in Albrightsville on Dec. 29, 2013. Police responded to a report of a fight in the bar. Hufnagle was charged with assaulting Tammie Grindle.

Matika placed him on probation for a year and ordered he get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, have no contact with Grindle, and render 50 hours of community service.

Amber Lynn Cambria, 25, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of hindering apprehension.

She was arrested on March 10 by Nesquehoning police after they responded to the area of 140 Rhume St. for a report of an accident. A vehicle had struck two parked vehicles. Cambria at first said she was driving, but after being confronted by police that witnesses said another person was driving, her brother John, she admitted lying.

Matika placed her on probation for six months and ordered her to render 25 hours of community service.

Carol L. Natale, 40, of Bowmanstown, pleaded to three summary offenses of driving under suspension, careless driving and failure to keep to the right.

She was arrested by Mahoning Township police following an accident along Mahoning Mountain Drive on Dec. 25, 2013.

Matika imposed fines totaling $250.

Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs, which average about $1,000, and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.

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