Accused Coal Township burglar apologizes
SHAMOKIN - A Coal Township man with an extensive criminal record apologized to the victims of his most recent crimes following a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Asked for comment after waiving to court five criminal complaints filed against him by Coal Township and Shamokin police, Eric J. Weikel, 33, of 1321 W. Spruce St., stated, "I'm sorry for the victims and the community. I'll try to do better."
Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III had asked Weikel, "How long is it going to be until you screw up again?" The defendant said he didn't know.
Weikel, who was represented by public defender Melissa Norton, was handcuffed when he signed court documents sending the cases to plea court Feb. 10 at Northumberland County Courthouse in Sunbury. The defendant, who hopes to enter into a plea agreement
with the district attorney's office, was initially recommitted to Northumberland County Prison, but later was released on unsecured bail. He was originally jailed on $25,000 cash bail.
Weikel is charged by Coal Township Detective Jeff Brennan with felonies of burglary, criminal trespass, theft and receiving stolen property involving the Oct. 23 theft of rings, necklaces and watches valued at approximately $13,000 from the home of Michael Robatin, 1354 W. Spruce St.
Four new criminal complaints were filed against Weikel on Tuesday prior to his hearing.
He is charged by Brennan with four felony counts each of burglary, criminal conspiracy and criminal trespass, and three felony counts each of theft and receiving stolen property in connection with burglaries at 1223, 1323, 1326 and 1327 W. Spruce St. between Oct. 1 and Nov. 13.
One of the burglary victims was Coal Township Commissioner George Zalar, whose home at 1223 W. Spruce St. was ransacked Nov. 13; electronics and jewelry were stolen. The other victims were not identified by police.
Brennan said some of the items have been recovered.
Weikel is charged by Coal Township Patrolman Terry Ketchem with misdemeanors of possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia relating to a June 1 incident in the 1300 block of West Spruce Street.
Ketchem also filed felonies of delivery of heroin to a confidential informant for $40, possession with intent to deliver heroin for $40 and criminal use of a communication facility against Weikel involving an Oct. 8 incident.
A complaint charging Weikel with a misdemeanor of possession of drug paraphernalia was filed by Shamokin Patrolman Raymond Siko II in connection with an Aug. 9 incident at the Fifth Street playground. The defendant is accused of possessing a blue glass smoking pipe.
Coal Township Chief of Police William Carpenter said last month there had been 44 reported burglaries in the community in 2013, including seven in November. Police are investigating the most recent burglaries and did not rule out Weikel as a suspect.