Pittsburgh man to serve 8 years in federal prison for hiring DEA informant to kill his wife

By Steve Pope | March 13, 2019

A Pittsburgh man was sentenced to eight years in prison and three years of supervised release on Wednesday for hiring a DEA informant to kill his wife so that he could take control of her marijuana farm in California.

According to court documents and information presented in court, Brad Lanese, 52, and two associates – identified as C.B and his wife, L.D., ran a large marijuana grow operation in Northern California.  In September 2017 Lanese was asked to leave the couple’s home after they became estranged.

Lanese returned to Pittsburgh and contacted an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and requested that he return to California with him in order to rob his wife and C.B.

On Oct. 31, 2017, Lanese and the informant traveled to California. The next day, Lanese was introduced to “Deeds,” another DEA informant who was supposed to supply the gun used in the robbery.

During the meeting Lanese told “Deeds” that he no longer wanted to rob C.B., but wanted “Deeds” to murder his wife instead. Lanese requested that “Deeds” kill his wife by injecting her with a fatal dose of a heroin/fentanyl mix in the marijuana fields, and then push her body and car over the cliffs and into the Pacific Ocean, prosecutors said.

Lanese told “Deeds” that once his wife was dead, he would be able to return to the marijuana grow operation and pay “Deeds” $30,000 for the murder.

On Dec. 8, 2017, Lanese was arrested by DEA agents and police at his home in Brookline.

On Oct. 31 Lanese pleaded guilty to one count of using interstate commerce facilities in connection with a murder for hire plot.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

6 men and 6 women selected for Rosfeld jury

By Steve Pope | March 13, 2019

A jury composed of six men and six women will decide the fate of Michael Rosfeld who is charged with last year’s shooting-death of Antwon Rose during a high-risk traffic stop in East Pittsburgh.

The final jurors were selected Wednesday morning in Dauphin County after Common Pleas Judge Alexander P. Bicket granted a change of venue request.

Rosfeld is charged in the June 19 death of the 17-year-old  as he fled from a car that was suspected in a drive by shooting a short time before the traffic stop.

The jury is made up of six men and six women, including one black male and two black females.

The makeup of the jury includes:

A middle-aged white male who is a construction worker

A 26-year-old married white male who is a state employee

A 41-year-old white male who works in a bar

A 66-year-old white male who is a retired railroad worker

A 39-year-old white female who is a former librarian whose father spent 25 years in law enforcement

A 35-year-old white female who has three children who works as a customer service representative

A black female who works in the social services field and whose partner of six years is retired from the Pennsylvania State Police

A 27-year-old white female who works as a data analyst

A 52-year-old white male who works as an insurance adjuster

A white female with two adult children who said she knows nothing about the case

A 55-year-old black female who works as a virtual Comcast customer service representative.

The four alternates are three men and one woman. All 16 will be bused to Allegheny County on Monday for the Tuesday morning start of the trial.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

Former Pittsburgh cop pleads guilty to lying to FBI agents about bank robbery

By Steve Pope | March 12, 2019

A former Pittsburgh police officer pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to charges of lying to FBI agents who were investigating the Jan. 8, 2018 robbery of the Citizens Bank in Crafton

Antoine Cain, 49, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements to government agents.

Federal agents interviewed Cain on July 27 and again on July 31 concerning the robbery.  Agents learned that Cain had been involved in a seven-year, on-again, off-again, relationship with a woman identified as Melissa Kane.

Authorities learned that Kane was the mother of Brent Richards, who authorities said was the lead suspect in the robbery.

Cain told federal agents during the interviews that he did not know the identity of the individual who had robbed the Bank, when in fact he did, court documents allege.

On Sept. 18, after agents told Cain that they had information indicating that he knew who robbed the bank, Cain admitted that he lied to authorities during his two previous interviews.

Cain told the agents that Brent Richards, who Cain knew through his relationship with Kane, had committed the robbery.

Prosecutors allege that Cain told the agents that Richards told him that he had “hit” a bank, which Cain understood to mean that he had committed the robbery.

Cain also admitted that Kane told him that Richards had robbed the bank, wearing a mask and using a BB gun.

Cain’s sentencing is scheduled for July 2 before Senior U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.  He faces up to five years in prison, a fine of not more than $250,000, or both.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

Pittsburgh police are finalizing preparations for St. Patrick’s Day

By Amanda Klein | March 12, 2019

The Pittsburgh Public Safety Department is making preparations for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebrations scheduled for Saturday.

Police officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers and are urging those who consume alcohol to plan ahead and take advantage of the many discounted Lyft, Uber and Z-Trip fares that are being offered.

State Police, County Police, the Mounted Unit, police agencies from local universities and other public safety partners will be out in full force to prevent and stop illegal activities, and will cite or arrest those who violate laws.

“Please remember there will be zero tolerance for disruptive and illegal behavior,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “Liquor Control Enforcement agents will be undercover to assure that bars and restaurants don’t serve alcohol to those under 21,” he added.

To help commemorate the celebration, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police vehicles in Zone 2, which includes Downtown, will display special St Patrick’s Day decals.

According to a newly enacted city ordinance open containers of alcohol will not be permitted in Market Square. Businesses on the square will serve alcohol as usual, but patrons cannot leave the businesses and/or patios with drinks.

Some Downtown streets will be closed starting at 7:30 a.m. along the parade route, which includes Liberty Avenue, Grant Street, the Boulevard of the Allies and Stanwix Street. The parade will form on Liberty Avenue from 11th to 26th streets. Streets will reopen at approximately 1 p.m.

The City of Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Department wishes all a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

Munhall man headed to federal prison for stealing mail, packages from apartment buildings

By Terri Hill March 12, 2019

For stealing packages and mail from several apartment buildings in Pittsburgh, a Munhall man will serve the next 1½ years in federal prison.
According to court documents in the case, Christopher Carr and his co-defendant Ron Matthew Sharp took more than 40 packages from several apartment buildings in the Shadyside and North Oakland neighborhoods last year.

Prosecutors say the two men stuffed the stolen mail and packages in trash bags, duffel bags, and backpacks.

Numerous gift cards were included in the items that the pair took from the mail. The two men gave the cards to others, who redeemed them at various locations, including Giant Eagle and GetGo.

The men along with others re-sold other items they had stolen from packages left at the apartment buildings, according to court documents.

After he is released from prison Carr will be on probation for three years.

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com

Detroit police are seeking criminal charges against Chelsa Wagner

By Steve Pope | March 9, 2018

The Detroit police chief said Friday that Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner and her husband were intoxicated during an incident with hotel staff last week.

During a news conference Police Chief James Craig said the couple exhibited “some levels of intoxication” during Wednesday’s incident at the Weston Book Cadillac Hotel.

Craig’s version of the couple’s encounter with police and hotel staff is considerably different than the account that Wagner and her husband, Khari Mosley, 43, have recounted in the last few days.

According to the couple, they were in Detroit to watch a rapper perform as part of a belated Valentine’s Day celebration. Wagner said they consumed alcohol during dinner, attended the performance and returned to the hotel.

Wagner claims she went to bed and Mosley returned to the hotel lobby because he was not tired. Hotel staff and police claim Mosley forgot his card to the couple’s room and attempted to call Wagner, who did not answer. She also did not answer calls placed by hotel staff.

Because Mosley was not listed as a guest, the hotel staff did not permit him to return to the room

According to Wagner she responded to a knock on her door and found police with Mosley in handcuffs. A video shot by Wagner shows police telling her that Mosley was being removed from the hotel because he caused a disturbance in the lobby.

While police were escorting Mosley to an elevator Wagner can be seen arguing with police. Wagner entered the elevator in front of police and refused at least three requests from a police officer to get off the elevator. As a police officer removes Wagner from the elevator, Mosley can be heard telling his wife several times to “relax” and added “Chelsa you’re bugging out.

Craig said Wagner placed her hands on an officer “six or seven times” blocked an elevator door and refused to get off the elevator.

Craig added, “They get to the elevator, and the wife blocks the door,” They ask her to move away from the door of the open elevator. She continues to stay there. At some point she puts her hand on the officer, and the officer takes the wife to the ground. You could hear in the video, ‘Be careful.’ It almost seemed as if he was trying to break her fall.”

Wagner was handcuffed and arrested for assault and battery.

According to a statement released by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, prosecutors are reviewing the request and a decision on whether charges will be filed will be made in the next few days.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com

 

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner arrested in Detroit in incident involving her husband

By Amanda Klein | March 7, 2019

According to an attorney for Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner, Detroit police arrested the 42-year-old woman on Tuesday during an incident involving her husband at a hotel.

As part of a belated Valentines Day gift Wagner’s husband took her to Detroit to watch a performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra featuring rapper Nas on Tuesday.  Prior to attending the performance the couple ate dinner at a local restaurant.

After the performance the couple returned to their hotel, the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit on Washington Boulevard, according to the attorney.

While Wagner went to bed around 10:30, her husband, Khari Mosley, 43, returned to the hotel lobby saying he wasn’t tired.

Mosley left his key card in the room and because he was not listed as a guest, the hotel staff did not permit him to return to the room.

Wagner’s attorney said that Mosley attempted to call Wagner on her cell phone, but she didn’t answer. She also failed to answer several calls placed to her toom by hotel staff.

At around 1 a.m. wearing pajamas and socks, Wagner responding to a knock on her door and found police with Mosley in handcuffs.

According to the attorney, police refused to tell her anything other than that Mosley was being removed from the hotel. As officers were escorting Mosley onto an elevator, Wagner stepped in front of them and one of the officers grabbed her and pushed her out of the way. The attorney claims Wagner fell to the ground.

“She did not touch the officer and her husband was not under arrest,” the attorney said. “She has bruises all over her. She has a bruised wrist and a sore back. She is traumatized.”

Mosley was released and told to leave the hotel. Wagner was taken to a detention facility and later released.

As of Thursday evening no charges have been filed against either Wagner or Mosley.

Detroit police officials could not be reached for comment.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Oliver man sentenced to over 10 years in federal prison for 2 bank robberies

By Terri Hill | March 7, 2019

A Mount Oliver man was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to 10 years and seven months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for robbing a branch of PNC Bank and a Citizen’s Bank in 2017.

Court documents allege that on May 27, 2017, David Payo, 52, robbed the PNC Bank in Homestead and made off with $3460 in cash. On June 8, 2017 he robbed a branch of the Citizen’s Bank in Monroeville and netted $1890.

During the PNC robbery, Payo approached the teller and said, “This is a robbery, give me 50s, 100s, 20s, and no dye packs.” He escaped with the money out of the front door of the bank.

While wearing an orange sweatshirt, black baseball cap and black sunglasses, Payo approached a teller at the Citizens Bank and told her, “This is a robbery.” He then repeated, “This is a robbery, give me your 100s, 50s, and 20s, no 10s, and no dye packs.” The teller complied and handed over $1890 in cash and one dye pack.

A search of Payo’s residence recovered dye stained clothes from the exploding dye pack given to him at the Citizens Bank.

Payo received his sentence from Chief United Stated District Judge Mark Hornak.

Terri Hill can be contacted at terri.hill@grantstreetnews.com

Police: Drunk mother fights with police after trying to pick up her kids from YMCA

By Amanda Klein | March 5, 2019

Pittsburgh police say a woman showed up at the Hill District YMCA Tuesday afternoon smelling of alcohol and holding a Smirnoff Ice wanting to pick up her children, who had already left the facility.

Anastasia Proviano, 27, is charged with resisting arrest, aggravated assault, public drunkenness and three counts of child endangerment

Police alleged in a criminal complaint that Proviano was slurring her speech and swaying when she entered the facility at around 5:30 p.m. and loudly demanded that staff members turn over her two small sons.

Employees told her they had already left the facility on a bus. Several workers told police that they saw a four-year-old in Proviano’s SUV, who was unrestrained and not in a car seat.

When police arrived they observed her yelling and screaming at staff members and she was also “covered in urine and verbally combative,” the criminal complaint said.

Proviano kicked at and attempted to strike police officers before she fell to the ground, police said. While on the floor Proviano continued to kick at officers who were attempting to place shackles on her ankles.

Police said that she was also combative after arriving at the Allegheny County Jail.

Upon searching her car just prior to having it towed, police found an empty can of Smirnoff Ice,  Smash Screwdriver and a half-empty jar of lemonade moonshine.

Proviano’s three children are being cared for by a relative.

She was released from jail late Tuesday on a nonmonetary bond and faces a March 13 preliminary hearing.

Amanda Klein can be contacted at amanda.klein@grantstreetnews.com

Pittsburgh man pleads guilty to federal drug and money laundering charges

By Steve Pope | March 4, 2019

A Pittsburgh man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges, according to United States Attorney Scott W. Brady.

According to court documents and information presented in court, Richard Stuart Wright, 76, and his co-defendant, 69-year-old Walter John Amman, III, had been purchasing kilogram level amounts of cocaine each month for over two decades.

Wright would process the cocaine by packaging it in smaller quantities and converting some into crack, prosecutors said.

More recently, Amman assisted Wright with the processing, packaging and distribution of the cocaine. After authorities made two controlled purchases of cocaine from Amman, search warrants were obtained for Wright’s home where cocaine, ammunition and a large amount of cash were recovered during the search

Police also recovered firearms, cocaine and a $1000 during a search of Amman’s residence.

Prosecutors alleged Wright and others laundered drug money by structuring deposits into a friend’s bank account.

Wright is alleged to have purchased over $100,000 of multiple postal money orders of $1,000 each, at multiple locations, in short time periods.

Wright’s sentencing is scheduled for July 18. He faces up to 60 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500,000, or both.

Steve Pope can be contacted at steve.pope@grantstreetnews.com