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Four break-ins happened in Indiana County


The admitted mastermind behind a four-county burglary ring has pleaded guilty to 23 break-ins in Armstrong, Indiana, Allegheny, and Westmoreland counties.

Michael Todd Booher, 24, of Kittanning was the only one who participated in all 23 burglaries, helped by four other men who took part in some of them. He pleaded guilty to the charges last December, but filed a motion to withdraw his plea on January 31st. He was granted a new trial in March.

The burglary ring operated between February and April of 2007, stealing more than $26,000 worth of items and causing over $2,000 damage. Four of the break-ins occurred in Indiana County, at homes along Wood Road, Creekside Road, and Anthony Run Road in Armstrong Township, and along Weiss Road in Young Township.

Booher was arrested on May 29th of that year. The other defendants, Jeremy King, Stuart Petrie, and Karl Walker, all of Kittanning and Shawn Nickel of Cowansville, all had plea bargained their charges and were set to testify against Booher. Judge Ken Valasek denied Booher’s motion to suppress the testimony of the other defendants, leading his attorney to recommend the guilty plea, even though he contends he is innocent of some of the charges. He also claimed he was never read his M iranda rights by state police.

Booher will be sentenced Friday. The prosecutor’s recommendation after the original plea was for a twelve-to-twenty year prison sentence.

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Kathleen Smathers

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