Amish Man Steals Car, Crashes It, Goes to Bar

| June 12, 2019

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – An Amish man is facing charges after he allegedly stole a neighbor’s car and then went on a somewhat unsuccessful drive.

According to court documents, the Punxsutawney Borough Police Department filed criminal charges against 21-year-old Jacob J. Byler, of Punxsutawney, on June 8.

Around 11:58 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, Patrolman Wittenburg and Officer Mohney, of the Punxsutawney Borough Police Department, were on patrol when they observed the airbags deployed inside a dark gray Nissan Rogue in a restaurant/bar parking lot on West Mahoning Street, in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County. The officers also noted the vehicle’s hood was dislodged, the back passenger side fender was scratched and bent, and there was visible grass and mud debris on the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.

Patrolman Wittenburg ran the registration for the vehicle through Jefferson County 9-1-1 and was given the owners’ names. The officers went into the restaurant/bar, where they were told by the bartender there was an Amish man in the bar who may have driven the vehicle.

The officers then made contact with the man outside the bar, identified as Jacob J. Byler, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Byler told the officers “he couldn’t lie and that he took the car,” and Patrolman Wittenburg immediately read him his Miranda rights.

Byler allegedly went on to say that he knew his rights and continued to tell the officers that he went to his neighbor’s house with the intention of getting a ride into town, but when he noticed the keys in their vehicle, he decided to take it. He reported that he lost control of the vehicle and hit an embankment near an officer’s residence on Porter Road, but continued driving, the complaint states.

Byler added that he did stop at a gas station in town for gas before continuing to the bar, the complaint indicates.

Based on the investigation, Byler was arraigned in Magisterial District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak’s office at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, on the following charges:

– Theft by Unlawful Taking – Moveable Property, Felony 3
– Receiving Stolen Property, Felony 3
– Unauthorized Use Motor/Other Vehicle

Byler is free on $40,000.00 unsecured bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, with Judge Mizerock presiding.


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