Police say man stole car, $7K in jewelry on Jan. 1

January 13, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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An Allegheny County man is accused of stealing a car and $7,000 in jewelry from the home of a Cranberry Township woman who let him stay there early New Year's Day.

The car, a 2018 Nissan Altima, was later found wrecked in Avalon, Allegheny County, authorities said. Police on Jan. 1 charged James J. Klobuchir, 32, of McKees Rocks with felony counts of theft of a vehicle, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property and a misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

The car's owner told police that she had gone to bed around 3 a.m. Jan. 1. She reportedly allowed the defendant to stay the night at her home on Cameron Drive.

Police described Klobuchir and the woman as “acquaintances.”

When the victim woke around 8 a.m., police said, she found Klobuchir gone and the vehicle missing.

“She also found that the defendant had taken $125 from her wallet,” according to court documents, “and approximately $7,000 worth of homemade jewelry, which was in the trunk of her vehicle.”

The woman said she did not give Klobuchir permission to take the car or the other allegedly stolen items.

Police said that as they investigated the case, they learned that Avalon police had already found the car and arrested Klobuchir on unrelated charges.

According to Avalon police, officers were called at 6:38 a.m. Friday for a vehicle crash on California Avenue in the borough. An apparent witness reported that the driver had walked away from the vehicle, which struck a Dumpster. Officers identified the vehicle as the victim's Nissan Altima.

A short time later, court documents said, police found Klobuchir, who matched the description of the man seen walking away from the car. They also found out he was wanted on four bench warrants. The defendant was eventually taken to the Avalon police station and searched. Police said he was found with 20 stamp bags of suspected heroin and a plastic bag containing 109 prescription pills.

Klobuchir told officers that he had the victim's permission to take the car, documents said. He was reportedly placed in the Allegheny County Jail. Avalon police charged him with felony and misdemeanor drug possession, driving with a suspended license and hit-and-run.

It was not immediately known when he would be arraigned on the charges filed by Cranberry Township police.

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Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Grew up in upstate New York. Earned my Journalism degree in 1983 from the University of Texas at Austin. Worked for two newspapers in Fayette County (Pa.) before starting at the Butler Eagle in 1998.