The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 21, 2012

Online fugitive Scott Binsack nabbed in New York state

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SHAMOKIN — The Shamokin fugitive who has been taunting his chasers online was apprehended late Tuesday, according to his girlfriend.

Scott Binsack, who has become known as the YouTube fugitive and who has belittled U.S. Marshals for weeks after he failed to meet with state probation officials, was nabbed in Bath, N.Y., said Tammy Pancher, of Shamokin.

“Police called,” she said, “and I spoke with Scott. He said, ‘They got me.’”

Additional details from U.S. Marshals were unavailable Tuesday night.

Binsack’s final online post came at 6:45 p.m.

His capture came on the same day he filed a federal lawsuit claiming, among other accusations, the defendants intentionally and maliciously caused him to violate his parole.

Binsack filed the complaint Tuesday in U.S. Middle District Court.

Among the defendants are the city of Shamokin, the Pennsylvania State Board of Probation and Parole, city clerk Steve Bartos, police Chief Ed Griffiths, probation officer Susan Stout, and Robert Craig Rhoads and David Frederick.

Binsack has become known through postings on a Facebook page labeled “Something’s Smokin’ in Shamokin” in which he theorizes he has been targeted by Griffiths and Bartos after he presented a plan to City Council that included a $13 million revitalization project.

Binsack claims in his lawsuit he fled because he feared for his life after he was informed that top officials were going to set him up and lock him up at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview on parole technicalities.

Also in his lawsuit, Binsack said he was informed he would be beaten by guards, so he never reported to parole agents and he took off.

The date of that parole meeting was unavailable late Tuesday. City officials have said they were unaware why Binsack fled.

Binsack also claims in his lawsuit he was deprived his right of free speech, his freedom of assembly and his constitutional rights to liberty. He also claims he is the victim of conspiracy.

The whole ordeal started, Binsack said, after Bartos told city officials and media members that Binsack was trying to get funds from the city to help with a $13 million project with which he was involved.

Binsack, who was convicted of and served time for bad-check writing, was prohibited from owning or operating a business as part of his probation.

Binsack appeared before City Council in August with Steve Crone, a Florida businessman, only as a representative of Crone’s company, he said.

Bartos claimed Binsack was looking for a partnership with the city, but after a tape of the presentation was played for the media, it was clear Binsack and Crone were asking for the city’s blessing, not funding.

Binsack claims in the lawsuit that after Bartos said Binsack was seeking a partnership, the targeting began. Binsack and Crone then began roaming the city and shooting video for a web show called “Something’s Smokin in Shamokin,” and claimed they sought to uncover corruption among city officials.

After they began shooting the online show, Binsack said they started to receive emails from other residents telling them how Shamokin officials were improperly responding to several issues.

Some of those issues were code enforcement not conducting inspections and not answering complaints from residents, he said. Binsack also said in the lawsuit that he heard stories of police corruption and hazardous materials being illegally dumped around the city.

Binsack said in the 25-page lawsuit that after he began to question officials, he became a target.

Crone and Binsack continued their quest for answers, which eventually led to another City Council meeting in which it was alleged Binsack would attend and cause trouble, the lawsuit said.

State parole agent Susan Stout attended the meeting, according to the lawsuit, to arrest Binsack for breaking his probation by disturbing the peace and harassment.

Binsack was a no-show. The next day he called Stout to ask why she attended the meeting, court documents said.

Two days later Stout arrived at Binsack’s home and told him she was at the meeting because she responded to Griffith’s request to make sure peace was kept, court documents said.

Binsack said he had been told by an informant she would be there, and that she would make up a violation and arrest him.

Stout told Binsack to “watch your step” and to “watch” what he was posting about Griffiths and others in his videos and on Facebook, court records said.

Binsack claims he was informed that when he was to arrive for his regular meeting with state probation agents he would be arrested and imprisoned. So he fled.

Binsack had been on the run for weeks and had continued a barrage of YouTube videos and Facebook posts insulting U.S. Marshals and city officials.

Marshals arrived at Binsack’s home last week but came up short in their efforts to catch the absconder.

Binsack had continued to contact several media outlets, including The Daily Item, stating he was in Costa Rica and that he has had a home there for years.

The Daily Item informed U.S. Marshals and Shamokin officials when Binsack made contact with the newspaper.

Several neighbors said they saw Binsack on the streets of Shamokin and one women said Binsack has a “secret room” in his home.

Binsack made reference to being located in Narnia, which the only way into the fantasy land is through a wardrobe or closet.

Bensick’s attorney, Frank Kepner, of Berwick, said he was unaware of Binsack’s location.