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Former Leechburg police chief released from county jail

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Renatta Signorini | Tribune-Review
Mike Diebold, 41, was released from the Westmoreland County Prison on Sunday Jan. 27, 2019. The former Leechburg police chief was released on parole and probation after a Westmoreland County judge sentenced him to nine to 23 months in jail followed by three years of probation for attempting to solicit sex via the internet from an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl.

Former Leechburg police chief Mike Diebold walked out of the Westmoreland County Prison a free man just before noon Sunday.

Diebold, 41, wearing a white T-shirt, cargo shorts and a baseball cap, said community members shouldn’t be concerned about his release.

“I don’t think they have anything to worry about and when the time is right, through my attorney, we’ll make the appropriate statements,” he said.

Diebold was released from the Hempfield facility on parole and probation after a Westmoreland County judge sentenced him to nine to 23 months in jail followed by three years of probation for attempting to solicit sex via the internet from an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl. He was arrested in January 2018 by the state attorney general’s office and pleaded guilty in December .

He is required to register with Megan’s Law as a sex offender.

Diebold’s arrest came six months after a fireworks accident blew off part of his left arm on July 24, 2017. He had tried to return to duty as a police officer with an artificial arm. Prior to his arrest and after the accident, he married his girlfriend, the mother of his then-infant son. She is seeking a divorce.

Attorney Duke George said Diebold did everything he was supposed to while in jail.

“He paid his debt and now he gets to get on with his life,” George said.

Diebold’s mother picked him up at the prison. He will work at her appliance store and live at her home on Siberian Avenue in Leechburg.

It was quiet along there Sunday morning while prison officials prepared for Diebold’s release. Community members have expressed concerns about his return.

Mayor Waybe Dobos said he thinks the cold weather kept people away. Previous reports indicated concerned citizens may protest. Dobos said the town will just have to play it by ear.

“This is another new experience,” he said. “Not a pleasant one.”

Neighbor Roger Waldenville has lived on the street for 30 years said as long as Diebold doesn’t bother him he doesn’t have much to say about his release.

He does worry about Diebold’ access to computers after he’s released.

“It’s always a concern,” Waldenville said.

Part of Diebold’s sentence requires that he be allowed to use the Internet for his employment only. He is not permitted to use social media.

John Truett, who owns The Old Parsonage bed and breakfast, down the street from where Diebold will be living, said he isn’t concerned it will affect him or his business.

“I’ve known him since I’ve lived here,” he said. “It’s unfortunate.”

Truett said he mostly just wants to stay out of it.

“It’s just sad to hear,” he said.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser. Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta.