SAXONBURG, Pa. — Police departments in four counties cooperated in an investigation that solved 29 burglaries, including two in Lake Township committed during a five-week period in 2017.
Michael Paul Mason, formerly of 1482 Marr Road, Pulaski Township, Lawrence County, is facing 104 total counts of burglary, theft, illegal firearm possession, criminal trespass and criminal mischief. The list includes 29 counts of burglary, one for every home Mason is accused of breaking into during a spree that state police said ran from March 2 to April 4, 2017.
The burglaries included two homes in Lake Township, both on March 13.
In a criminal complaint filed April 26 with District Judge Sue Haggerty of Saxonburg, Butler County, state police said Mason broke into a home along Fredonia Road, Lake Township, and stole a safe, pistol, pocket watches, cash and coins. The stolen items had a total value of $7,300, not including damage to a hearing aid valued at $2,400.
The same day, police said Mason stole $150 in coins and two handguns from a residence along District Road.
Police said all 29 of the burglaries took place during daylight hours when the victims were not home. The burglar tended to steal handguns, jewelry and cash.
In most cases, the burglar entered the homes by kicking in locked doors or by an unlocked door.
The investigation began in Butler County, where 19 of the 29 burglaries took place, as state troopers noticed a high volume of daylight burglaries.
Mason is accused of burglarizing four homes on March 3, five on March 7, 5 on March 20 and four on April 4.
From there, state troopers noticed similar burglaries in Beaver and Mercer counties, and the ensuing investigation led them into Lawrence and Armstrong counties.
State police reported an attempted burglary March 20 in Winfield Township, Butler County, when the resident was home and took a photo of a green truck in his driveway. The same day, two other nearby residences were burglarized.
According to the criminal complaint, the witnesses’ descriptions of the green truck matched a vehicle belonging to Mason and police got a search warrant for his cellphone data. Through the data, police tracked Mason’s movements, which linked him to the burglary scenes.
Police then obtained a search warrant for the New Castle home of Mason’s brother, where police found stolen jewelry and four stolen guns. Mason’s brother has not been charged.
During questioning, police said Michael Mason said the cellphone used to track him was not his, and that he obtained the jewelry and weapons legitimately.
State police in Butler County said troopers from the state police barracks in Mercer and Armstrong counties assisted in the investigation, along with municipal police departments from Adams, Buffalo, Jackson and Lancaster townships in Butler County; New Sewickley and Franklin townships in Beaver County; and South Buffalo Township in Armstrong County.
Mason is being held at the State Correctional Institution in Greene County on unrelated charges. There is no preliminary hearing scheduled.
Follow Eric Poole on Facebook and Twitter @HeraldEricPoole. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org