Man charged with stealing lawn equipment from church

By Edward Lewis

July 25, 2013

WILKES-BARRE - A city man was arraigned Thursday on charges he stole lawn equipment from a church.

Police allege Matthew R. Collins, 25, of West Ross Street, entered a garage at St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church on South Washington Street and removed a Craftsman leaf vacuum, a Honda lawn mower and a Stihl hedge trimmer. The items were discovered missing on Tuesday.

Police said Collins sold some of the lawn equipment at Rocky’s Trading Post on South Main Street, according to the criminal complaint.

Collins was arrested when he returned at the trading post on Wednesday. He allegedly told police, “In his defense, the church did leave the items outside the garage for the taking,” the complaint says.

Police said in the complaint they found empty heroin packets and a syringe in Collins’ pockets. Collins told police he is addicted to heroin, according to the complaint.

Collins was charged with burglary, criminal trespass and receiving stolen property. He was arraigned by District Judge Diana Malast in Plains Township and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $5,000 bail.