A 20-year-old Somerset man pleaded guilty Wednesday in county court to his involvement in multiple theft cases — many of which involved guns — over several days early last December.
Zechariah M. Spencer, Husband Road, is facing the possibility of a lengthy incarceration, specifically because the theft charges included theft of firearms, which are felonies. He could receive the maximum sentence of 80 years in prison and $195,500 in fines, according to President Judge John M. Cascio at the pretrial scheduling conference for the January criminal trial term. Spencer pleaded guilty during the scheduling conference.
Spencer had been charged in three magisterial districts — Somerset, Boswell and Confluence — in the rash of thefts from vehicles that included adult co-defendants. Several of the thefts involved a 16-year-old male juvenile, according to court documents.
As part of a plea agreement, Spencer pleaded guilty to one count of receiving stolen property, six counts of theft by unlawful taking, felonies, and four counts of theft by motor vehicle in a total of 11 incidents that occurred over a four-day span. Cascio granted Assistant District Attorney Hannah Myers' request to dismiss the remaining charges in the cases. Initially, Spencer was charged with a total of 76 counts of offenses that included theft by unlawful taking, theft from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, corruption of minors, loitering and prowling at night, disorderly conduct, firearms not to be carried without a license, possessing instruments of crime, use and/or possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal mischief.
He is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. March 26. Spencer is incarcerated in Somerset County Jail in lieu of a $124,000 bail. He was on probation when he committed the thefts, according to court officials.
In early December last year, along Waterloo Street and other locations in Somerset Borough and Somerset Township, Spencer and the juvenile took a 12-gauge shotgun from a parked vehicle and sold it to several other people, according to police. On Dec. 4 and 5, 2011, along South Edgewood Avenue in Somerset Borough, Spencer took a 9 mm pistol and cash from a vehicle, police said.
On the same day Spencer broke into five vehicles in Rockwood Borough and took several items, police said. Spencer and the juvenile agreed to go "car shopping" through the town and take whatever property they could find, according to court documents. Police said a 9 mm pistol was taken from one vehicle, a cellphone from another and a radio and screw gun from a third. Assorted clothes, a wallet, tools and a speaker box were taken from two separate vehicles during the same time period, police said. Several of the items were discovered in Spencer's vehicle, including the pistol and the speaker box.
On Dec. 5 and 6, 2011, Spencer and a male juvenile took a DVD from a vehicle in the vicinity of East Penn Avenue in Stoystown. They also broke the rear window of a truck parked along East Main Street in Stoystown and took a rifle and scope, police said. Then on Dec. 6, 2011, the two males took a pistol from a vehicle along Plank Road in Quemahoning township and sold it to another person, according to court documents. The same day, Spencer took a rifle and scope from a truck parked in a driveway off Plank Road near Hooversville, according to court documents.
The following day there was a report of vehicle thefts in Central City. Spencer's vehicle was stopped by Paint Township police after the bulletin was released. Police found two firearms that were reported stolen in the vehicle, according to court documents.
Spencer questioned some of the specific items reported stolen, but admitted he committed the crimes, said his attorney Joseph Policicchio of Somerset Wednesday.