The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 24, 2013

Felon admits taking pastor's pistol

The Daily Item

SUNBURY —  Police have not recovered the semi-automatic pistol a convicted felon stole from the home of a Valley pastor in April, although the suspect has admitted taking the weapon.

John Barrera, 36, of 7 Haas Ave., pleaded guilty Monday before Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor to possessing a handgun and criminal trespass.

Police said Barrera broke into the Sunbury home of Pastor Mark Gittens, of the h2church in Selinsgrove, and stole a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and two video games on April 7.

When Gittens reported the buurglary, he told police he believed Barrera, known as “Pito,” was involved, court documents said.

Barrera had repeatedly called Gittens over several weeks asking for money so he could avoid jail for failure to pay child support, the pastor told police. Barrera knew Gittens’ schedule and entered the residence when no one was home, police said.

Barrera told police he sold the video games for $10. He added that he gave the gun to a “friend” to hold onto, police said.

Barrera was originally charged with five felonies: burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and possessing a handgun. The burglary, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property charges were dropped. Barrera was convicted of drug charges in the mid-1990s and was prohibited from owning, controlling, selling or transferring any weapons. He will be sentenced in 90 days.

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