Tri County Report For March 16th, 2017

A former Pittsburgh police officer faces charges for allegedly sending sexually-charged text messages to a 14-year-old girl.  Investigators say 51-year-old John Serek of Beaver County started sending the texts last year to his daughter’s friend.  The teen complained to her mother that Serek was making her feel uncomfortable, so the family turned the phone over to an undercover female detective.  The detective then pretended to be the teen as the texts allegedly became more sexually explicit.

Police are investigating a possible luring attempt in Connoquenessing Township.  A Butler School District secondary student was approached by two men at his bus stop earlier this week.  The suspects were on motorized bicycles and began asking for the teen’s address and phone number.  The boy told his parents, who called police.

A man is being charged in connection to a murder in Aliquippa.  The body of Renae Johnson was found on Sunday night on Wade Street Extension.  Police announced yesterday that Deshawn Williams has been arrested and charged with homicide in connection to the case.

Close to 200 people are in custody following a multi-state operation by federal immigration officials.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said yesterday that 197 people were picked up in Pennsylvania between February 27th and March 10th.  ICE claims the operation targets “criminal aliens, immigration fugitives, re-entrants, and other immigration violators.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey is urging the Consumer Products Safety Commission to get to the bottom of a deadly house fire in Harrisburg.  Casey sent an open letter to the commission this week asking for a determination as to whether a hover board caused the blaze.  The Harrisburg Bureau of Fire claims the toy started the flames that killed two-year-old Ashanti Hughes last weekend but the commission has not yet reached a conclusion.  Casey is also asking the commission to “Work with hover board manufacturers to increase recall compliance and educate consumers about the fire risk.”

Work will begin next month on a portion of Interstate 79 in Butler County.  PennDot says the resurfacing work will begin during the first week of April on a portion of roadway North in Cranberry and Jackson Townships, north of the Route 288 Exit and south of the Zelieople exit. PennDot drivers should expect long-term lane restrictions. Once the work gets completed in the northbound lanes work will then start on the southbound lanes.

State Representative Rick Saccone [[ suh-CONE ]] is hoping to replace Democrat Bob Casey in the U.S. Senate.  Saccone is a member of the Republican Party.  He represents Pennsylvania’s 39th District which includes parts of Allegheny and Washington Counties.  So far he is the only Republican to announce that he intends to run for the Senate seat.

The Beaver County Humane Society is caring for a dog that suffered a gunshot wound.  The dog was found roaming the streets in Aliquippa last month.  The dog had a lump on its jaw that was originally thought to be a tumor or a cyst.  When a veterinarian went to remove it, it was discovered that it was a bullet.  Anyone willing to provide a foster home for the dog is asked to visit Beaver-County-Humane-Society-dot-org.

According to Triple-A East Central gas prices remain steady over the past week. In it’s weekly fuel gauge survey the average price in Western Pennsylvania is 2.51 a gallon that’s down a penny from last week.  Drivers a year ago in Pennyslvania were paying a 1.99 a gallon.  The national average is at 2.28 a gallon. In the New Castle area prices sit at 2.49 a gallon.