By Mark Gilger

SHAMOKIN - Two local men were apprehended by police early Tuesday morning while burglarizing a downtown business, and also admitted to stealing copper wire from an abandoned city house approximately 30 minutes earlier.

Robert Arnold Zellers III, 20, of 313 State Route 61-2026, Coal Township, and Kevin Kish, 50, of 704 N. Shamokin St., Apt. 1, Shamokin, were arraigned at about 10:15 a.m. by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III on two felony counts each of burglary, criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit burglary, and a misdemeanor of loitering and prowling at night in connection with burglaries at Nature's Health Food Store, 133-135 E. Independence St., and an abandoned property at 169 N. Grant St.

Shamokin Cpl. Darwin Tobias III said officers were conducting checks in the downtown district shortly before 4 a.m. when he spotted a man duck into a small door leading to the basement area of the food store.

Footprints in snow

Tobias said he found fresh footprints in the snow. Upon searching the basement, Tobias located a man, who was later identified as Zellers, and another male police later learned was Kish.

They were committed to Northumberland County Prison, Sunbury, in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

Zellers and Kish admitted to breaking into the basement of the business, but claimed they did not steal anything. The burglars did admit to the wire theft, which occurred at 169 N. Grant St. at about 3:30 a.m.

Kish told police he was "just looking to make a couple bucks."

Assisting Tobias were Shamokin Patrolman Scott Weaver and Coal Township officers Edward Purcell and Terry Ketchem.

The owner of Nature's Health Food Store declined comment Tuesday afternoon and would not give his name.

Area of darkness

Nature's Health is located in the downtown area that has been without street lighting since Thursday, and at other times since October, but police did not indicate if that played a role in the burglary.

Meanwhile, four employees from PPL, who were inspecting individual lamp posts at Market and Independence streets Tuesday morning, said they believe the problem is being caused by underground electrical cables that "short out" when they get wet.

Tuesday evening as of about 6:25 p.m., street lights were on throughout the downtown.