William Joseph Murphy III has admitted to trying to burglarize a house in south Baldwin Borough, according to a criminal complaint filed at District Magistrate John N. Bova's Wallace Building office.
Officers from multiple police departments detained Murphy at a Blossom Drive home on Jan. 4 as part of a burglary investigation in south Baldwin, according to Baldwin police Chief Michael Scott.
The Baldwin-Whitehall Patch captured the detainment on video.
The Baldwin police received a 911 call that day from a woman reporting that a suspicious male was knocking on the front door of a home in the 500 block of Elaine Drive.
When there was no answer at the door, the caller advised the 911 operator that the male was now going around to the back of the house, according to an affidavit filed along with the criminal complaint.
Shortly later, the Elaine home's owner arrived at his property and entered the house through its garage.
According to the affidavit, the home's owner, while in his basement, heard somebody moving upstairs, and when the owner exited his house, he saw a man coming out of the front of the house.
A foot chase then ensued between the home's owner and that man. According to the affidavit, several other witnesses reported seeing the chased man run into 620 Blossom.
According to the affidavit, the Elaine home's owner then positively identified Murphy after police detained him.
Baldwin police received a consent to search 620 Blossom from that home's owner—specifically, the home's bedroom/basement area where the affidavit states that Murphy stayed. During the search, police reported finding a black leather pistol holster that resembled one taken during a separate burglary in the 600 block of Blossom. One of the officers made contact with the victim of that burglary, who described the holster as a match to the one taken from his home, the affidavit states.
The Blossom victim said that the holster was taken along with his Ruger .38-caliber pistol, but the officers did not report finding that pistol.
Officers then went back to the Elaine home and observed, according to the affidavit, that forced entry had been made into a rear window and that several items were disturbed inside of the house. Nothing, however, was reported as stolen.
Later, during an interview at the Allegheny County police headquarters, Murphy stated that he slept in on Jan. 4, and when he got up, he went for a walk to get cigarettes, according to the affidavit.
He then said that, on the way back, he began to walk the neighborhood. He said that he had heard about the robberies in the neighborhood and thought he might try one, according to the affidavit.
He said that he walked up to the house and knocked on the front door, and when nobody answered, he went around back and tried the back door, only to find that it was locked, according to the affidavit.
He then noticed a car in the home's driveway, so he began to run, he said. When he noticed somebody running after him, he said that he began to run faster until he got into his house.
Murphy was asked about the holster found in his bedroom. He said, according to the affidavit, that he bought a .38-caliber pistol from somebody at The Residences of South Hills apartments complex.
According to the affidavit, he then said that, shortly after, he sold the gun to a guy named "Mack," who lives over by the borough building, for $350 worth of heroin. (The affidavit does not specify which borough building.)
Although Murphy did not admit to stealing the gun from anywhere, nor the holster, police are still charging him with two counts of receiving stolen property in connection to both the gun and the holster that were taken from the burglarized home on Blossom, as well as the illegal sale or transfer of firearms.
Murphy is also being charged with trespassing on another property in the 600 block of Elaine and the burglary in the 500 block of Elaine.
"Murphy was insistent that this was the first time that he tried to 'break into' anyone's house and that he is aware of the stuff happening in his neighborhood," the affidavit states. "Murphy told detectives, 'I'm not going to admit to something I didn't do, but I did today's.'"
After Murphy's interview with the county police, he was taken to the Allegheny County Jail for processing. He then made bail and was released from jail on Jan. 6.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at Bova's office on Jan. 29 at 1 p.m.
Read through other Baldwin Borough police items here.
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