Mother, Son Allegedly Went on Crime Spree
Police say they used a stolen credit card to buy booze and conspired to burglarize a local bar.
Police say a mother and son went on a 24-hour crime spree around Bridgeville and Collier last week, using a stolen credit card to buy booze and allegedly conspiring to burglarize a local bar.
Investigators arrested Michael Tharp, 28, of Cecil, and Wanda Balukus, 51, of Bridgeville, and charged them with numerous crimes.
Bridgeville police Chief Chad King said the crime spree started when Tharp stole a wallet and credit card from a customers at Sauce on June 18. King said he gave the credit card to his mom, who later used it to buy alcohol and other merchandise at the Beer Warehouse, 7-Eleven convenience store, Kmart and Wine & Spirits store.
When officers arrested Balukus and told her that her son was also going to jail, King said she tried assaulting the Bridgeville police officers and fought with Allegheny County Jail guards. The guards had to use a Taser to subdue her, King said.
“She just went ballistic, kicking the officers, trying to bite them and slamming her head against the (police car) cage,” King said.
She was charged with theft, receiving stolen property, access device fraud and conspiracy. King said officers planned to file a summons for similar charges against Tharp when they learned he might be involved in the June 19 burglary at DiMario’s in Bridgeville.
King said Tharp was kicked out of the bar the night before and was told by the owner not to come back for “99 years.” King said they found Tharp with cuts on his arms and later recovered liquor bottles and chicken from his Cecil Township residence. Earlier reports indicated the burglar took hoagies, but it was actually frozen chicken that was also missing from the bar.
“We recovered booze bottles, took photos of the chicken and have enough evidence he did this crime,” King said.
Police arrested Tharp and he told officers his mother gave him rubber gloves to help break-in to the bar. Tharp was charged with burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal trespassing and criminal mischief.
Both probably will also face conspiracy charges, King said.