SHAMOKIN TOWNSHIP — Two men have been charged in connection with the theft of a safe containing $21,000 from a Shamokin Township residence Friday.
Dalton Blaine Bingaman, 28, of 2752 State Route 442, Muncy, and Logan Aaron Valentine, 23, of 203 N. Fourth St., Apt. 4, Mifflinburg, are in Northumberland County Jail after being charged with felony offenses relating to a burglary in an unfinished addition at the home of Kirby and Dana Lahr, of 3119 State Route 61.
Bingaman is charged with two counts of burglary and one count each of criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief. He was arraigned Sunday morning by on-call Magisterial District Judge Michael Toomey, of Sunbury, and committed to the county prison in lieu of $100,000 cash bail.
Valentine was arraigned Tuesday afternoon by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III, of Shamokin, on charges of conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit criminal trespass, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to commit criminal mischief.
Valentine was recommitted in lieu of $30,000 cash bail to the county prison, where he had been incarcerated on the charges.
All the charges were filed by Trooper Brian Smyers, of state police at Stonington.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Smyers was dispatched to the residence at 7:22 p.m. Friday for a report of a burglary involving the theft of a safe containing $16,000 in cash and $5,000 in coins.
The Lahrs reported they also were missing rolled quarters and Sacagawea coins that were sitting on top of the safe.
During a canvas of the neighborhood, it was revealed that a maroon/burgundy vehicle with a black hood and yellow marking on the driver’s side was observed traveling up and down the driveway of 3119 State Route 61 at approximately 5 p.m. Friday.
During the course of the investigation, police learned that Bingaman, who was an employee working on the addition of the residence, was a close associate of Valentine.
Smyers was later informed that a 2007 Chevy Cobalt matching the description of the vehicle seen in the driveway of the Lahr residence was parked at Valentine’s home.
During an interview with Valentine at his home, Smyers said the defendant told him Bingaman was driving his car when they went to the Lahr residence. Valentine said he stayed in the car while Bingaman entered the residence.
Valentine told Smyers that Bingaman later exited the home with a red bag, sledge hammer, metal bar, lunch box, two white plastic bags and a safe.
Valentine said the two men then drove to Mifflinburg, where Bingaman removed all of the items he stole from the Lahr residence and placed them into his own vehicle.
Valentine opened the trunk of his car, where Smyers saw gold eagle coins and other coins matching the description of the coins stolen from the Lahr home.
Valentine was then taken into custody.
Smyers also was dispatched to the Lahr residence on Thursday for a report of a burglary involving the theft of $1,500 in cash.
The Lahrs told Smyers that they believe the money was stolen April 8 when they were not home. Dana Lahr said the only other thing that appeared to be tampered with was their safe on the second floor in her office.
The Lahrs told Smyers that Bingaman was the only person at their residence when they left April 8. They said Bingaman had not returned to work on the addition since then.
According to Andrew Dewire, who is the contractor working at the Lahr residence, Bingaman told him he couldn’t come to work because he had to go to Texas to pick up his father. Upon contacting Bingaman’s father, Dewire said he learned that he had not spoken to his son and wasn’t leaving Texas.