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Pa. woman charged with theft from yard sale

August 09, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

A Chambersburg woman scheduled for sentencing this week on charges of stealing Christmas packages and using a credit card stolen from a hospital patient was charged Friday by borough police with stealing $52 from a yard sale and is in Franklin County Prison with her daughter.

Vonnie Lee Stopyra, 66, of 218 N. Second St., was charged with felony burglary and theft, and arraigned before Magisterial District Justice Gary L. Carter. She was jailed on $100,000 bond, according to a prison official.

At noon Friday, police went to a home in the 400 block of Highland Avenue, where a woman holding a yard sale told police the money was stolen from a cash box in the garage, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

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She told police that a woman twice came to the yard sale that morning, and that her car had a flat tire on the second visit. The woman offered to help the driver fix the tire, but told her she first had to put her dog inside the house, police said.

When she came outside, she saw the driver leaving her garage and walking toward her maroon station wagon, the affidavit states. As that was happening, other customers arrived and she was getting them change when she discovered the cash was missing, police said.

The woman was able to get the license plate number of the car before it was driven off, police said.

Police stopped Stopyra's car on Broad Street, but she complained of feeling ill and was allowed to go into her home nearby. When questioned about the theft, Stopyra told police the money was in her pocketbook, the affidavit stated.

Stopyra pleaded no contest June 27 in Franklin County Court to charges of theft and criminal conspiracy to commit access device fraud.

The theft plea stemmed from thefts in November and December of dozens of packages delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and other delivery services to homes in the Chambersburg area. Borough and Pennsylvania State Police charged Stopyra, daughter Karen L. Beam, 48, of 815 S. Fifth St., and another woman with following the trucks and picking up the packages.

In April, borough police charged Beam with stealing the wallet of a 79-year-old patient at Chambersburg Hospital. The wallet contained $52, credit and debit cards, and personal identification. Police alleged Beam and Stopyra used the cards to buy $591.43 in merchandise from Kmart on Wayne Avenue and get $640 in cash out of two ATM machines.

In that case, Stopyra pleaded no contest to the criminal conspiracy to commit access device fraud charge.

Beam remains in prison on charges stemming from both incidents. She is charged with 14 counts of access device fraud, 45 counts each of theft and receiving stolen property, 14 counts of access device fraud, and single counts of burglary and forgery, according to court records.

Beam's case is scheduled for the September trial term, according to court records.

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