The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 17, 2014

Woman admits to burglaries, retail thefts

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

MERCER COUNTY — A former Hermitage woman has admitted a role in eight burglaries and eight retail thefts this summer in the Shenango Valley and outlying townships.

Tracy L. Hassel, 32, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of burglary and one count of misdemeanor retail theft, all of the incidents consolidated into those counts.

Burglary is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 10 to 20 years in prison, while the retail theft charge comes with a maximum sentence of 2è to 5 years.

If the sentencing judge maxes her on each count and runs the sentenced consecutively, she could be sentenced to up to 22è to 45 years in prison.

In her plea, Hassel admitted participating in burglaries:

• Aug. 18 in the sub-100 block of Metz Road, Shenango Township.

• Aug. 26 in the sub-100 block of Nych Road, Lackawannock Township.

• Aug. 26 in the 4800 block of Hogback Road, Hermitage

• Aug. 29 in the sub-100 block of Bedford Road, Shenango Township.

• Aug. 30 in the 3300 block of Hubbard-West Middlesex Road, Shenango Township.

• Sept. 5 or 6 in the 100 block of Grange Road, Shenango Township.

• Sept. 6 in the sub-100 block of Reiber Road, Lackawannock Township.

• Sept. 6 in the 100 block of Jackson Road, Shenango Township.

She also took responsibility for retail thefts between July 24 and Aug. 1 in Hermitage.

Hassel has a lengthy addiction to heroin, as recounted in previous criminal prosecutions, and she acknowledged to police stealing items including firearms, electronic equipment and jewelry and selling or trading items for drugs or money to be used to buy drugs.

Cases against her alleged collaborator in many of the incidents, Steven T. Mortland, 24, of South Pymatuning Township, are pending.

Hassel and Mortland were arrested Sept. 10, 2013, after police responded to a burglary-in-progress report in the Jackson Road incident, and their car was stopped in the Shenango Township Municipal Building parking lot.

The car contained stolen items and both eventually admitted roles in various incidents and implicated each other.

Hassel was sentenced Sept. 16, 2013, to 5è to 15 years in prison on three counts of burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery for 10 incidents of successful and attempted home and business burglaries between March and September 2011 in Sharon, Hermitage and Shenango and Lackawannock townships, and the aborted burglary and robbery of an elderly Shenango Township woman in her home.