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May 17, 2012

Whole Darn bust may lead to more crime spree charges

MEADVILLE — Two Meadville men face a total of 40-plus years in prison and more than $100,000 in fines for unsuccessfully attempting to break into The Whole Darn Thing sub shop in downtown Meadville on Wednesday morning while police search for a connection to a string of other recent burglaries in the vicinity of Market Square.

Timothy James Cornell, 39, of 439 Pine St., and Walter John Cornell, 35, of 178 Boynton St., were arraigned Wednesday afternoon before Magisterial District Judge Michael Rossi, acting on behalf of Meadville Area Magisterial District Judge William Chisholm.

According to court papers filed by Meadville Police Department Detective Sgt. Eric Young, Timothy Cornell allegedly attempted to commit a burglary by smashing the restaurant’s drive-through window on the south side of the building with a rock to gain entry and conspired with Walter Cornell to commit the crime. He has been charged with criminal conspiracy to commit burglary, criminal attempt to commit burglary and criminal mischief.

Walter Cornell was charged with criminal conspiracy to commit burglary and criminal attempt to commit burglary.

According to Meadville Police Chief Dave Stefanucci, the attempt was foiled by a fortunate misunderstanding.

The story began to unfold shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday when police passing by on a routine patrol found the broken window and called owner Christine Jordan, who immediately came to the scene. A review of tapes from the shop’s security cameras was soon under way.

“We looked at the video and saw Walter and Timothy breaking the window,” Stefanucci said. “Right after they broke the window, within a minute or a minute-and-a-half, police were seen driving by,” he continued, noting that although those officers happened to be on routine patrol, the suspects immediately fled the scene. “They must have thought we got the call,” Stefanucci said.

According to Stefanucci, Walter was picked up and questioned soon after the incident occurred and Timothy was arrested later Wednesday morning.

Following the arraignment, Timothy was committed to Crawford County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail and Walter was committed in lieu of $25,000 bail. Preliminary hearings have been scheduled for May 25.

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