COAL TOWNSHIP - A 33-year-old man released from prison last week after being charged with burglarizing homes on West Spruce Street is incarcerated once again on similar offenses, and his girlfriend has been implicated in four of the burglaries.

Eric J. Weikel, of 1321 W. Spruce St., was picked up Friday by Detective Jeff Brennan at his house on a bench warrant and charged with felonies of burglary and criminal trespass and misdemeanors of theft and receiving stolen property relating to an Oct. 29 incident at the residence of Brent Reed, 1325 W. Spruce St.

Reed is the sixth victim Weikel has been charged with burglarizing.

According to a criminal complaint, Weikel is accused of stealing $385 from Reed's home.

At about 6:10 p.m. Thursday, Reed told police he saw Weikel walking in an alley near Spruce Street. Reed, who was sitting in his truck, told Weikel, "I think you owe me some money." Police said Weikel told Reed he would pay him as soon as he starts working and claimed he was "messed up on drugs."

Later that night, Reed reported the burglary to police, claiming Weikel was responsible.

Weikel, who had been released from Northumberland County Prison two days earlier on unsecured bail, was returned to jail on the warrant and video arraigned on the new charges Monday morning by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III. The judge set bail at $20,000 cash, which Weikel was unable to post.

Girlfriend jailed, too

Weikel's 27-year-old live-in girlfriend, Christine Rate, who police said has cooperated in the investigation, was 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.

Weikel was charged in those burglaries last week and was arrested on drug-related offenses filed by Coal Township and Shamokin police. He also was previously charged with stealing approximately $13,000 in jewelry from the home of Michael Robatin, 1354 W. Spruce St., on Oct. 23.

Hearings delayed

Rate was arraigned Friday afternoon by Gembic and committed to the county jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail.

Weikel, who has an extensive criminal record, and Rate were initially scheduled to appear for preliminary hearings today, but those legal proceedings have been indefinitely continued.

Brennan said police are continuing their investigation into several other burglaries in the township.