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Report of ‘suspicious bicyclist’ in Hempfield leads to arrest by troopers

Paul Peirce
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A man riding a bicycle through a Hempfield neighborhood before dawn Friday was breaking into unlocked vehicles, state police at Greensburg allege.

Douglas A. Bartrug, 32, of Pittsburgh, was arrested at 3:50 a.m. by troopers in the Farmbrook Drive area of Fort Allen after troopers discovered him with multiple “miscellaneous items” including a .380 caliber handgun that troopers allege he took out of an unlocked pickup truck nearby, according to court dockets.

Trooper Evan Terek reported in an affidavit of probable cause filed before District Judge Mark Mansour that police were dispatched to the area for the report of a suspicious man “wearing and brown jacket and backpack,” who was bicycling through the neighborhood in the vicinity of Swede Hill Road and Farmbrook Drive. A woman believed he was breaking into vehicles.

When troopers began searching the area, Terek said they discovered the bicyclist along Farmbrook Road.

“A trooper pulled his marked state police vehicle in front of the suspect but the suspect went around the patrol vehicle. (The troopers) identified themselves themselves and the suspect said he was not doing anything wrong and just continued riding his bicycle,” Terek said.

When police again attempted to stop Bartrug on his bicycle and take him into custody, Terek reported he dropped his bicycle at the bottom of the hill near Wheatfield Drive and ran, leaving behind a plastic bag.

When police apprehended Bartrug in a nearby stream, Terek said they discovered the stolen handgun on the ground nearby. Multiple items including identification and shopping cards belonging to people in the neighborhood were discovered in the plastic bag, police said.

Bartrug, who used to live in Hempfield, pleaded guilty in 2008 to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and was sentenced to serve three years in prison. Due to the felony conviction, it is illegal for him to possess a firearm, Terek said.

Police also found Bartrug’s pickup truck parked in the vicinity.

Bartrug is charged with illegal possession of a firearm, theft, receiving stolen property, theft from a motor vehicle and loitering and prowling.

According to on-line dockets, Bartrug was ordered held in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post $100,000 bail pending a preliminary hearing March 1 before Mansour.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.