The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 11, 2013

Prosecutors consider merging Union County copper theft cases

LEWISBURG — Union County Court action against a man facing more than 50 charges from a summer spree of copper pipe thefts in the Valley was continued Thursday while attorneys look to consolidate the 10 cases that cover his alleged actions.

Nicholas Norman, 35, of Milton, faces 52 counts stemming from nine cases of copper pipe thefts in Lewisburg.

Judge Michael Hudock granted the continuance, which was agreed to by D. Peter Johnson, Union County district attorney, and Edward J. Rymsza, the attorney representing Norman.

“These cases are all rather involved and complicated,” Rymsza told Hudock. “We’re trying to structure an appropriate (way to proceed), and it’s obvious we need more time.”

Norman waived his right to a preliminary hearing in November and faces trial in Union County Court. Johnson said then that the commonwealth would look to consolidate the multiple charges as a matter of efficiency.

Norman already was imprisoned in Northumberland County in lieu of bail on charges for his alleged role in a Milton break-in and copper theft in July when he was charged in Union County.

He alleged committed 13 burglaries in a four-block radius of South Sixth and South Seventh streets in Lewisburg in July. Norman told investigators he stole the copper and sold it to support a heroin habit, police said.

Charges were added to Norman’s tally in October after state police alleged he broke into an Allenwood home in June and took about 300 feet of copper pipe.

Dennis Russell, 41, of Milton, an alleged accomplice in some of the cases, will appear in plea court this afternoon in Union County.

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