South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Residents cautioned to lock cars, homes after thefts increase


Last updated 8/16/2019 at 9:15am

Carrick residents were advised to lock their homes and cars after police said thefts have increased significantly in the community over the last 30 days.

Of the 47 thefts reported to police between July 1 and August 5, 24 were from automobiles,10 from people, six from businesses, and five from residences, according to the monthly crime stat sheet presented at August’s meeting of the Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch.

While the cause behind the increase isn’t clear, Zone 3 officer Christine Luffey said securing personal property is the most important thing residents can do to prevent theft in the future.

“Don’t leave your valuables in your car,” officer Luffey said. “If you do, you’re asking for it. The probability of getting your belongings back is very low.”

In addition to the thefts, officer Luffey described four drug arrests and one stabbing that took place across the Carrick and Overbrook communities in July.

The first case involved a man arrested on July 2 at 12:15 p.m. after narcotics detectives staged an undercover drug buy on Merritt Avenue. Police received tips about an individual selling large amounts of narcotics in the community and arranged a meeting with the suspect after they obtained his phone number.

After the suspect arrived at the agreed-upon location on Merritt Avenue, police surrounded his car with multiple undercover police vehicles. According to the report, the suspect refused to follow the officer’s orders and attempted to flee the scene by ramming into the undercover cars.

An officer was able to break the driver’s side window and pull the suspect from the vehicle. Police then confiscated heroin, marijuana, ecstasy tablets, three cell phones, and a large sum of cash. The suspect was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, and possession with intent to deliver.

The second case resulted in two drug arrests after police launched an investigation into a residence in the 1900 block of Westmont Street for the second time this year. Officers received reports the owner of the property was aware of and permitted drug use and sales to take place on the property.

Police encountered the owner when they visited the property on July 2 around 7:28 p.m. According to the report, the owner allegedly admitted to the accusations. Officers confiscated multiple bundles of heroin and a bag of crystal meth from the building. The owner and another male suspect were both arrested.

A third drug arrest occurred when Beechview neighbors complained of a male suspect coming and going from a residence in the middle of the night while driving a white Cadillac Escalade.

On the evening of July 11, patrol officers followed the Escalade to Carrick and stopped the driver at the intersection of Amanda Avenue and East Meyers Street for a traffic violation.

Officers searched the vehicle after noticing a strong odor of marijuana. In addition to finding marijuana, officers also confiscated a large sum of cash and a couple of cell phones. The suspect was arrested.

The fourth case discussed was a drug arrest at the vacant apartment building at Berg Place and Brownsville Road. Officers have been aggressively patrolling the property after several reports of “squatters” and drugs on the property over the last several months.

While patrolling on August 2 at 6 p.m., an officer saw a man on a porch attached to the rear of the building. According to the report, the officer observed empty stamp bags on the ground near the suspect. Police found marijuana and a crack pipe after searching the individual.

There were several complaints from those in attendance about the lack of progress on the demolition or redevelopment of the apartment building at Berg Place and Brownsville Road. The property has been the site for criminal activity and public safety issues for several years.

Officer Luffey said encouraged residents to direct complaints to the city’s 311 line or to call councilman Anthony Coghill’s office.

In addition to drug arrests, officer Luffey reported a stabbing that sent three individuals to the hospital on July 27 at around 11 p.m.

Police were called to the Royal Place restaurant in the 2600 block of Library Road in Overbrook after a 911 call about a fight in the parking lot.

When officers arrived, they found one victim with stab wounds to his torso lying in the parking lot, and two others with stab wounds to the hands, upper chest, and legs. The incident is under investigation.

Following the crime report, officer Luffey said there haven’t been any recent reports of trouble at Phillips Park since this past spring when a group of juveniles were firing BB guns and harassing residents

At the end of the meeting, Carrick Community Council (CCC) board president Sherry Miller Brown said she wanted to show her appreciation to the Zone 3 police for the hard work over the summer.

She also reminded everyone about the positive things happening in Carrick, such as the successful community events at the Dairy District Pavillion.

“I’m always amazed when I come to this meeting,” Ms. Brown said. “I hear all about the wonderful things everyone does in the community.”

The next Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch meeting will be on September 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the HEAR Corp building at 25 Carrick Avenue. It will be followed by a Carrick Community Council public meeting from 7-8:30 p.m.


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