A Johnstown man smashed his car into a meat-packing company, stole more than $1,000 in meat and threw a cash register into the Conemaugh River, police said.
The damage – including the loss of meat – totaled more than $6,000, police said.
Joseph A. Winogrodzki, 47, of the 400 block of Chestnut Street, told officers he drank alcohol and consumed pain medication before the incident on Oct. 18, West Hills Regional police Sgt. George Musulin III said.
In a criminal complaint, police said Winogrodzki called to alert them to what he described as a burglary in progress at Alex Froehlich Packing Co. on D Street Extension in Lower Yoder Township.
Winogrodzki told officers he was driving past the packing company shortly before 11 p.m. when he saw two men break a glass door and then throw meat onto the sidewalk, the complaint said.
Police said they grew suspicious when Winogrodzki changed his story several times.
“Initially he said he had stopped at that location to relieve himself,” Musulin said. “He said his foot slipped off the clutch and he backed into the building. Once he saw the glass was broken, he decided to help himself to some meat,” Musulin said. “He said he hadn’t eaten in two days.”
Authorities said they found $1,076 in meat stashed inside Winogrodzki’s vehicle.
Police fished the cash register – containing only a few receipts – from the river. They said Winogrodzki had tossed it there, apparently to hide evidence.
He also is accused of cutting the company’s telephone lines and electric cord that was attached to the cash register.
Winogrodzki was charged Wednesday with burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence and making a false report to police. He will be arraigned before District Judge John Barron of Upper Yoder Township.
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