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Woman: Homeless man helped her, stole money

Published March 11. 2014 07:47AM

A homeless man is accused of stealing $50 from a Lansford woman he had offered to help.

Police charged Matthew D. Komishock, 29, who last lived in Nesquehoning, with burglary, theft and possession of a controlled substance. He was released on $20,000 unsecured bail and has already waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by officer Jason A. Helmer with District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford, here's what happened:

At 9:50 p.m. Feb. 20, Helmer had gotten a complaint from Maryann Arieta, who lives in an apartment on Spring Garden Street, that her pink purse had been taken from her home.

She told him the purse had been found, but that $50 was missing.

Arieta told Helmer she had been shopping that day and had met a man she knew only as Matthew, and that he had offered to help her. He had come to her home after she returned from shopping and offered to help her carry in her groceries. He said he'd come back later to shovel the sidewalks.

Arieta told Helmer she fell asleep, and when she woke she noticed her purse was missing. She saw that Komishock was outside, shoveling. When she asked him if he had seen anyone, he told her he had just seen someone come running down the stairs.

Police viewed recordings from a video camera in the apartment's hallway. Helmer saw a man, whom he recognized from previous contacts as Komishock, walk up to Arieta's door and knock.

Komishock walked away and went to a second door, which opened into Arieta's apartment. He returned to the hallway with a pink purse, and was searching through it, putting some of the contents into his pocket.

Arieta told Helmer she never let Komishock into her apartment, and that he must have let himself inside as she had left the door unlocked.

Police arrested Komishock at 11:15 p.m. He had white waxed paper packets containing an off-white powdery substance police suspected was heroin.

At the police station, Komishock waived his Miranda rights and told police he had been helping Arieta, but denied taking her purse.

Confronted with the video recording, he broke down and admitted to having a "bad drug habit" and admitted to entering Arieta's apartment and taking the purse and money, which he claimed was only $15.

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