Man Charged in Vehicle Theft in Franklin

| April 13, 2019

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – Charges have been filed against a 34-year-old man accused of stealing a vehicle in Franklin earlier this year.

According to court documents, the Franklin Police Department filed criminal charges against 34-year-old Justin Paul Seilhamer, of Bellefonte.

The case stems from a January 4 report of a stolen vehicle on Otter Street in Franklin.

According to a criminal complaint, around 2:25 p.m. on January 4, Lieutenant Gindhart, of the Franklin Police Department, was dispatched to the 1400 block of Otter Street for a report of a stolen silver 2007 Honda Accord. Lieutenant Gindhart obtained the Pennsylvania tag, as well as the VIN from the owner/victim.

The complaint notes that upon his arrival at the scene, Lieutenant Gindhart observed a red bicycle laying in the street, and the victim noted the bicycle had not been there 10 to 15 minutes earlier when they had started their car to allow it to warm up.

The bicycle was secured as evidence, and an Attempt to Locate/BOLO and NCIC entry were initiated to other police agencies statewide.

Prior to receiving the BOLO, State Police in Franklin received a call around 2:35 p.m. concerning an erratic driver traveling east on U.S. 322 in Cranberry Township, Venango County. It was reported that a vehicle was passing other vehicles on the berm of the road and over double yellow lines.

According to the complaint, the vehicle was confirmed through the vehicle tag to be the stolen silver 2007 Honda Accord.

Lieutenant Gindhart spoke to witnesses who gave the description of the driver that matched a surveillance photograph of Justin Seilhamer riding the same bicycle found at the scene of the vehicle theft.

On Sunday, February 17, the Franklin Police Department received a Hit Confirmation for the stolen vehicle, which was recovered by a patrol officer from the Hollidaysburg Police Department in Blair County upon conducting a traffic stop.

The complaint notes the male operating the vehicle was not Seilhamer; however, the driver was charged in Blair County with receiving stolen property and narcotics violations as a result of the stop. The vehicle was secured for evidence collection to be conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police Evidence Recovery Unit.

On Sunday, March 24, Lieutenant Gindhart received information from the Hollidaysburg Police Department indicating there was an individual who had direct knowledge of the individual stole it in the City of Franklin on January 4. The individual was interviewed at Hollidaysburg Police barracks.

According to the complaint, the individual interviewed provided a written statement that identified Justin Paul Seilhamer as the person who stole the vehicle from Otter Street on January 4. The individual stated that Seilhamer said he left a rehab facility, “took a bike” and rode it until he found a car with the keys in it, and took the car. He reported the vehicle was then traded “for meth.”

The complaint notes that Lieutenant Gindhart confirmed that Seilhamer was on state probation and parole, checked with the agency, and verified that Seilhamer had been at a rehab facility in Franklin around the time of the vehicle theft. Information was also obtained from the Oil City Police Department regarding an incident of theft involving Seilhamer on the morning of January 4.

Based on the investigation, one second-degree felony count of theft by unlawful taking was filed in Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland’s office on April 5.

According to the complaint, Seilhamer is currently lodged in SCI Mercer.

A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Copyright © 2019 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.

Category: Local News, News, Police & Fire Calls