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Men posing as utility workers entered two homes in Hanover Township, a handgun reported stolen from one residence

HANOVER TWP. — Police are investigating reports of two men posing as “water company employees ” and entering homes on Charles Street.

Police said a homeowner reported he was in his yard around 10:30 a.m. when the men asked to inspect his water meter. He allowed them in and one of the men spoke with him for approximately 30 minutes. The men left and the homeowner later discovered a lock on a file cabinet in his bedroom had been damaged and papers were scattered about the room. Nothing appeared to be stolen.

Police said the second case happened around 11 a.m. The men were allowed into a house to check the water pressure. They asked that all the faucets and the washing machine in the basement be turned on. After going through the house the men told the homeowner everything was OK and left on foot. The homeowner discovered that a dresser and file cabinet in a bedroom had been gone through, but nothing appeared to be missing. The homeowner’s son came home after work and discovered that a Taurus Judge handgun and ammunition were missing from his bedroom dresser.

Plymouth woman admits trying to sell heroin with crying baby present

WILKES-BARRE — A Plymouth woman admitted to trying to sell heroin at Sherman Hills with her baby present.

Stephanie Nicole Wilk, 30, pleaded guilty in Luzerne County Court to one count each of posession with intent to deliver heroin and endangering the welfare of children, according to court papers.

According to a criminal complaint, an officer on patrol in the Sherman Hills apartment complex found Wilk with a crying 2-year-old child in a stairwell while he was looking for a suspicious male he had seen run inside a building.

During his encounter with the woman, the officer observed her trying to shove wax papers — consistent with those used in the sale of heroin — into her pocket, police say.

Investigations continue on Wilkes-Barre’s unsolved murders

WILKES-BARRE — Within hours of Jason Canty’s death from a gunshot wound, city police arrested Khalil Brathwaite and charged the 19-year-old with criminal homicide.

Meanwhile, investigations into the shooting deaths of two other city men shot to death in April and May still have not produced suspects, planting the names Peter Bielecki Jr. and Donald Bachman, both 49, on the city’s list of unsolved homicides at least for the time being.

But don’t label their cases cold.

“We don’t like to call them cold cases,” city police Chief Robert Hughes said. “It’s very hard to classify homicides. They all have a life of their own.”

When a case is solved, it’s because physical evidence and witness statements came together to incriminate a suspect. If that happens quickly, the case can be solved quickly, he said.

But when evidence is scarce and witnesses either won’t talk or don’t exist, an investigation takes more time.

“I think the biggest obstacle to these investigations is whether or not you’re getting cooperation,” Hughes said.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis agreed, and in an interview Wednesday lamented an unwillingness to testify or speak with police.

Open-air Sunday service in Wilkes-Barre offers message of hope

WILKES-BARRE — In front of nearly 200 people, Tim Walker wavered between fear and hope.

To his right, a poster with FEAR in big block letters hung from the roof support of a pavilion in Coal Street Park. HOPE, similarly lettered, hung on his left as the other prop used in his talk during an open-air Sunday morning service of the Restored Church.

Casually dressed with his shirt tail untucked, Walker, one of its pastors, blended the “Shawshank Redemption” with St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy to deliver his message to the crowd seated in white folding chairs on the grass of a playing field under an almost cloudless blue sky.

Just as Tim Robbins’ prison escapee character Andy in the movie attested to the transformative and uplifting powers of hope to inmate Red, played by Morgan Freeman, the gospels communicate God’s words of hope and salvation, Walker pointed out.

Burgit plans to open taxi company in Scranton

WILKES-BARRE — The owner of Burgit Taxi Co. in Wilkes-Barre plans to open a new taxi company in Scranton with his sister in 2016.

Making more profits is not his motivation, Robbie Burgit insists.

“Scranton always had three taxi companies and now it’s down to two. I’ve been asked for years and years to help out,” Burgit said. “It’s just something I want to accomplish.”

Burgit never before attempted to expand his taxi operations by adding a hub in Scranton, he said, because his late father, Burgit Taxi founder Bob Burgit, had an agreement with Brian McCarthy that neither would encroach on the other’s territory.

But McCarthy sold his McCArthy Flowered Cabs company, and Scranton residents keep calling Burgit and “complaining like crazy to me that they’re not getting service,” Burgit said.

King’s joins LCCC, Wilkes University in arming security guards

WILKES-BARRE — King’s College will be the third Luzerne County institution of higher education with armed security guards patrolling campus.

Luzerne County Community College security guards began carrying guns in 2013. Wilkes University armed guards in June of 2014 following a security review by Vermont-based consulting firm Margolis Healy & Associates, which was retained in 2012.

Wilkes formed what President Patrick Leahy called a “hybrid” force of armed and unarmed guards, which is also the plan at King’s, college spokesman John McAndrew said Friday. Unlike Wilkes, where Leahy provided numbers — 16 full-time guards when the decision was made to arm three of them immediately and three more within a year — King’s is not releasing details.

State law allows the arming of officers who receive Act 235 training for all types of security guards, or Act 120 training required for municipal police officers. When Wilkes started arming guards, Leahy planned to only arm those with Act 120 training.

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