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Weird Pittsburgh

News of the weird from all over Western Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has issued 16 citations to a Lancaster County restaurant-owner after an investigation allegedly showed that she had been scavenging, storing and selling deer meat from slaughter-house dumpsters. Investigators told that 54-year-old Shi Eng began approaching deer-processing plants for scraps, purportedly to feed her dogs, in 2013. In the next two years, slaughterhouse employees say they frequently found Eng around their dumpsters. Sometimes, she allegedly offered to pay for the scrap, but employees couldn’t sell it. In one case, late-night workers suspected a raccoon in a dumpster and reportedly found Eng. Last December, New York City police arrested Eng on charges of illegally selling deer meat from her vehicle to Chinatown restaurants. Contacted by the NYPD, Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer Greg Graham went to the New China House in Lititz, which Eng owns with her husband. Graham says he found 300 to 400 pounds of deer parts in freezers. “It was primarily legs, heads, rib cages, spinal columns, a bowl of deer brains,” he elaborated.

Barbara Hafer, Pennsylvania’s state treasurer from 1997 to 2004, has been accused of accepting $675,000 from a businessman in a pay-for-play scheme and indicted for lying about it to FBI agents. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Richard Ireland, of Chester County, worked as a middleman connecting companies to government contracts. In 2005, shortly after Hafer left office, he allegedly paid $500,000 to her newly formed consulting firm and shelled out another $175,000 over the next two years — all allegedly in exchange for her help landing his clients contacts while she was state treasurer. Hafer, currently of Indiana County, reportedly told FBI investigators that she did not receive any money from Ireland. Once financial records showed that she did, her lawyer relayed the Reagan-during-Iran-Contra-esque reasoning that Hafer had “simple lapses in her memory” and had forgotten about the payment while speaking to the FBI. (That $500,000 was three-quarters of her firm’s intake its first year.)

A lawyer representing six current or former deputies of Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held says that Held assigned them tasks meant to help his 2015 re-election campaign while they were on duty. The deputies say Held sent them to community events to hand out information packets about topics like gun safety and drug awareness. David Millstein, the attorney for the six deputies, says that Held had them affix tags bearing his name to the candy and snacks that came with the public-safety goody bags. Held pointed out to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that none of the tags said “vote for” or “elect.” District Attorney John Peck said his office has started an investigation.

Joshua McKelvey was apparently “tired” of a vacant motel in North Versailles being used as refuge for sex and drug use, so he filled up a gas can at a Get-Go, torched the place and drove off, police told WTAE. In another instance, McKelvey, 18, allegedly took out his car’s spare tire and ignited it (for an unknown reason), causing a brush fire in the borough of Wall. McKelvey’s arrest on arson charges came as a surprise to Shane Spielvogle, chief of the East McKeesport volunteer fire department, where McKelvey had been training for two months. Spielvogle called the actions “disgusting.” 

Shawn Paul Powell of Mercer County was arrested after the bottle “shake-and-bake” meth cooker he was allegedly transporting in his car ignited, forcing him to toss it out a window. Police told the Meadville Tribune that Powell, 44, was driving through Meadville and threw the bottle, containing methamphetamine-making material. He retrieved it and apparently got the reaction under control, say police, but then had to chuck it again, at which point it landed in a yard and caught fire.

Two robbers entered a Honey Bear convenience store in Armstrong County late at night. One covered his face with a gas mask and carried a baseball bat, reports the Tribune-Review, while the other obscured his identity with a bandana and hooded sweatshirt and displayed a semiautomatic pistol. As ordered, the clerk emptied the cash register, but when these two Suicide Squad rejects saw that their haul would be mere pocket change, they left, stealing only a two-liter bottle of soda.

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