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COMMONWEALTH v. STAINO ET AL. (11/12/64)

decided: November 12, 1964.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
STAINO ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Schuylkill County, May T., 1960, Nos. 420 and 430, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Ralph Staino, Jr., and Same v. John Berkery.

COUNSEL

Francis T. Anderson, with him John Patrick Walsh, for defendant, appellant.

Francis T. Anderson, with him Benjamin R. Donolow, for defendant, appellant.

C. J. Friedberg, Assistant District Attorney, with him Harry W. Lightstone, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (Rhodes, P. J., absent). Opinion by Ervin, J.

Author: Ervin

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 321]

These two appeals were argued together and will be disposed of in one opinion.

During the night of August 7, 1959 the home of John B. Rich, 1801 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, was burglarized and the sum of $478,000 in U.S. currency and jewelry worth $17,000 were taken from a safe which had been "peeled" by the burglars. Mr. Rich and his wife were at the time vacationing in Europe and their home in Pottsville was left unoccupied. A caretaker, on the afternoon of August 7, 1959, entered the house and found nothing wrong. On the afternoon of August 8, 1959 the caretaker again entered the house and found that someone had broken into the house and had forced open the door of a safe. The caretaker, upon discovery of the burglary, informed the son of Mr. John B. Rich, who then made a preliminary investigation and called the local police. When the investigation was made it was discovered that two pillow cases had been removed from the pillows on a bed in an upper floor. Mr. John B. Rich and his wife returned from Europe about Labor Day, 1959, and he reported to the police that his safe had contained some jewelry of the approximate value of $17,000 and cash in the form of

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 322]

    bank notes in the approximate amount of $3,500, all of which were missing.

Sometime during the month of January 1960, Richard Francis Blaney, a brother of Vincent Blaney, told Captain Ferguson, of the Philadelphia Detective Bureau, who the burglars were and details of the burglary,*fn1 as a result of which the appellants, John Berkery and Ralph Staino, Jr., were subsequently arrested, tried and found guilty on separate bills of indictment charging burglary and larceny, each count stating that the sum of $3,500 in U.S. currency, together with certain jewelry, had been stolen.

At the trial Mr. John B. Rich was called by the Commonwealth and he testified that when he left for Europe the safe had in it cash "in the amount of about three thousand -- thirty-one or thirty-two hundred dollars which I never counted, and many other -- and some inter-company bonds and stocks, and canceled checks. . . ." He also testified that the cash was in five, ten and twenty dollar bills.

Robert Poulson, one of the burglars, was arrested and on April 3, 1960 gave a complete statement to the police in which he implicated the two appellants and gave complete details of the crime.*fn2 Poulson later on repudiated the confession.

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 323]

Poulson's statement or confession was read to Staino, Jr. and he made "no answer and no comment."

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 324]

Richard Francis Blaney was called by the Commonwealth and he testified that ...


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