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Schuylkill County Police News

Port Carbon Man Accused of Stealing from Coal Company, Scrapping the Metal

David Capko sent to Schuylkill County Prison on $50,000 bail.

An investigation by the Saint Clair Police Department has led to the arrest of a Port Carbon man in connection with the theft of mining equipment from a coal mining location in East Norwegian Township.

The investigation, which began on April 3, uncovered a series of suspected thefts involving heavy machinery parts and scrap metal.

St. Clair Police Officer Vincent Bennett was alerted on April 3 to suspicious activity involving David Capko, of Port Carbon.

A large radiator and heavy machinery were seen in Capko’s yard on March 29, raising Bennett’s suspicions. This led to a broader investigation into possible stolen items being sold to a local scrap yard.

On April 16, Bennett responded to a theft report from Bernard Joseph Kuperavage. Kuperavage’s friend, Michael Hrenyo, discovered drag marks near Kuperavage’s coal mining equipment off Route 209. Upon inspection, Kuperavage found extensive damage to his 4500 Manitowoc dragline and D9G Caterpillar Dozer, with several parts missing, including copper wiring, radiator components, and a fuel component.

Kuperavage notified James Pleva, Yard Supervisor at Weiner Iron and Metal Corp., Pottsville, about the stolen parts.

Pleva said that Capko had brought in parts matching the description of the stolen items. Capko had exchanged these items for $85.96 at the scrap yard on April 16, 2024, providing his identification and a vehicle description—a gold Chrysler Voyager with red primer on the back passenger wheel well.

Further investigation revealed that Capko’s neighbor had seen him with a large radiator unit and captured video evidence of the gold Chrysler Voyager on April 16. The vehicle was driven by Kyle Putalavage, who lives with his grandmother, the registered owner of the Voyager.

Bennett retrieved additional evidence from the scrap yard, including photographs and transaction records. Pleva provided documentation of several transactions involving Capko, dating back to March 29. On that date, Capko had brought in a large radiator and other parts from the stolen D9G Dozer.

An interview with Putalavage on May 14, at the St. Clair Police station, revealed further details. Putalavage admitted to accompanying Capko to scout for mining equipment and driving him to Weiner Iron and Metal to sell stolen items multiple times. He confirmed Capko’s interest in stealing a radiator from a dragline.

The total cost of repairs and replacements for the stolen and damaged equipment was estimated by Kuperavage at $26,053, including $11,500 for the Manitowoc dragline radiator core and $6,000 for the D9G Dozer radiator core.

Bennett has charged Capko with third-degree felony theft, receiving stolen property, and criminal mischief.

Capko was arraigned before District Magistrate David Plachko on Tuesday. Plachko set bail at $50,000 cash, which Capko could not provide. He’s now in Schuylkill County Prison.

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