By Keith Gushard
One of two men accused of breaking into a Meadville-area movie theater complex and stealing more than $17,000 in gift cards and movie passes has pleaded guilty in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas.
Zachary Emmett Tinko, 20, of 17705 Route 198, Saegertown, pleaded guilty in county court before Judge John Spataro recently to a charge of criminal trespass in connection with the Feb. 23 break-in at the Movies at Meadville in Vernon Township.
Vernon Township police allege Tinko and co-defendant Patrick P. Groover, 23, of 11442 Williamson Road, Meadville, entered the theater complex at 11155 Highline Drive between 1 and 2 a.m. Feb. 23 and stole $17,658.77 worth of gift cards and passes from the business.
Tinko initially was charged by Vernon Township police with one count each of criminal trespass, a second-degree felony; theft by unlawful taking, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a second-degree misdemeanor.
However, in a plea bargain with the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office, the charges of theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief against Tinko will be withdrawn in exchange for his guilty plea to criminal trespass.
Tinko faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 23 by Judge Spataro.
If he had been convicted in county court on all charges, Tinko faced up to 19 years in prison and $45,000 in fines.
Tinko remains free on his own recognizance pending his sentencing.
Meanwhile, Groover still is scheduled to go to trial in county court on a total of five counts filed by Vernon Township police for his role in the case.
Groover is charged with one count each burglary, a second-degree felony; criminal trespass, a second-degree felony; theft by unlawful taking, a third-degree felony; receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a second-degree misdemeanor.
If convicted in county court on all charges, Groover faces up to 41 years in jail and $85,000 in fines.
Groover remains free on his own recognizance pending his trial.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.