Suspects Charged In Menorah Theft, Property Damage At Penn State Fraternity
Several suspects have been charged in connection with the theft of a menorah and damage to other property outside of a Penn State fraternity house.
State College police said the menorah was stolen in the early morning hours of Dec. 2 from in front of Zeta Beta Tau, 328 E. Fairmount Ave. and later returned damaged.
It was the second incident involving the fraternity’s menorah in a period of just a few days. On the morning of Nov. 30, fraternity members found the 9-foot menorah knocked over and damaged. Police said it appeared someone removed it and returned it to the property overnight. Charges in that case have not yet been filed and the earlier incident is not mentioned in criminal complaints filed on Monday.
According to the complaints, Zeta Beta Tau’s president reported to police that sometime after midnight on Dec. 2, several college-aged males came onto the property and stole the menorah. Another ZBT brother witnessed the the theft and was assaulted as he tried to stop it, police said.
The president of Theta Delta Chi fraternity, 305 E. Prospect Ave., allegedly said he saw several of his fraternity’s brothers steal the menorah. He became angry with the brothers and told them to return it to Zeta Beta Tau, according to police.
The menorah, which is valued at about $1,800, was returned, but was damaged, according to the complaints.
Police said around the same time the menorah was taken, other property was damaged, including a basketball hoop and a window, which was broken.
Five men, who were either brothers or staying at Theta Delta Chi fraternity, were identified as having damaged property at the ZBT house, stealing the menorah, or both.
Thomas R. Callahan, 19, of State College; David E. Kovacs, 20, of Blue Bell; and John W. Hamlin IV, 19, of Nashville, Tenn., were each charged with misdemeanor counts of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief – tampering with property. Two others are listed as co-defendants in the complaints but have not yet been charged.
Police said all five confessed to their involvement in damaging property, stealing the menorah, or both.
Callahan, Kovacs and Hamlin were charged via summons. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Jan. 16.
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