This Just In: April 9 - 16 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Screen of the Crime

Summary: Some bold crooks use theft-by-distraction to steal computers. Reporter: Bob Mayo, WTAE Channel 4 Airtime: 1 minute, 39 seconds on April 3 Visuals: * The grande dame of local news, Sally Wiggin, at the anchor desk. * Bob Mayo, standing outside in the wind and rain, which seems to be something he's excelled at for years ... Highlights: * When anchor Sally Wiggin reports, "New tonight: thousands of dollars' worth of computers, all gone -- stolen in a scheme inside local stores with plenty of customers and employees around. [Bob Mayo] in Fayette County tonight with how they got away with it." * When Mayo says, "It has the sound of a crime-caper story. It was a devious team of thieves staging distractions inside Western Pennsylvania Wal-Marts to cover up the theft of thousands of dollars in computer equipment." * When he adds, "Knowledgeable sources confirm it did happen here, at the Wal-Mart in Connellsville. Monday evening, between 6:30 and 8:30, a team of thieves struck, taking workers unaware. They stole $7,800 worth of laptop computers, cracking open a display case, possibly with a crowbar. We're told a total of as many as 12 people may have been involved, with most staging distractions to occupy employees. Sources say the thieves also tried to visit the Waynesburg and Greensburg Wal-Marts, but were scared off. They also say this may be part of a ring working here and in other states." * When Mayo adds, "One trooper at state police in Uniontown confirmed the Connellsville [theft], and says that the FBI may be on the case. The FBI is declining comment, and state police supervisors won't release further information." * When he concludes, "Wal-Mart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie cannot discuss details, but confirms this is an active police investigation. And that, quote, 'We are cooperating fully with investigators.' State police indicate they may have more to say about this case once there's a breakthrough in the investigations." What We Learned: Be wary of anyone selling a laptop out of their trunk for a while. Well, I suppose that's good advice any time. Unanswered Question: So, could we call these 12 crooks the "QWERTY Dozen"? News Value: 6. File this under "people will try anything." Mayo covers well, and I always appreciate a good "caper" story, but I'm left missing the colorful interviews with the locals that we've come to expect from these stories.

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