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Homeless man jailed in car burglary in Irwin

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Updated 24 minutes ago

A 29-year-old homeless man was jailed for allegedly burglarizing a vehicle in Irwin on Friday night and attempting to break into two others parked in an alley behind the Irwin police station.

The suspect, Dustin Paul Galasso, whose last known address was Connellsville, was caught hiding on a hillside behind Irwin Manor, an apartment building for senior citizens, police said.

Officer William Sombo said he caught Galasso “hunkered down behind a shed behind Irwin Manor,” along First Street.

The man’s hiding spot was about a foot from the edge of a 20-foot dropoff, Sombo said.

Sombo said he yelled at the suspect “to show me your hands, show me your hands” and he surrendered without incident.

Police learned of the burglary at about 6:20 p.m. and the suspect was caught within a few minutes, Sombo said.

Galasso had a .38-caliber ammunition cartridge in his pants, but police did not find a weapon in the area despite a search that was aided by Irwin fire department rescue lights, Sombo said.

Chief Roger Pivirotto said he would resume searching the wooded area for a possible weapon on Saturday.

Police said they were notified after the suspect allegedly attempted to burglarize two vehicles parked along Western Avenue, which is behind the police station.

After being confronted by a witness, Galasso allegedly burglarized a car near Miller’s Crossing Fleatique, a store in the 200 block of Fourth Street. Sombo said a cell phone, phone charger and sunglasses were recovered from that theft.

Sombo said he saw the suspect along Western Avenue at about the time Officer Eric Ziska said a burglary witness came to the police station as he was reporting to work. Ziska started down Western Avenue in search of the suspect.

The suspect ran to Irwin Manor, entering the front door and exiting a maintenance door, Sombo said.

“Our concern was that there are elderly people (in Irwin Manor) and their safety was also something we took into consideration,” Pivirotto said.

Galasso was arraigned Saturday before Washington Township District Judge Jason Buczak on charges of theft from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, attempted theft from a vehicle and prowling at night. He was lodged in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bond, pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday before North Huntingdon District Judge Wayne Gongaware.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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