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Salem Township man waives 4 hearings for drugs, theft

August 3, 2018

A Salem Township man scheduled for four separate preliminary hearings Monday chose instead to waive the 14 charges levied against him.

William Elvin Cochran Jr., 31, of Hawk Drive, is charged with two felony counts each of drug possession with intent to distribute and theft of movable property, three felony counts of receiving stolen property, and seven related misdemeanor and summary charges.

A confidential informant working with the state Attorney General’s Office told officers in early February that Cochran was selling methamphetamine out of the Forbes Trail Trailer Park, according to court documents.

Police told the informant to arrange drug buys from Cochran on two occasions, court documents state. On both occasions, the informant entered Cochran’s property and left with what tests later showed was meth, police say.

While police awaited drug testing results, and before charges were filed for Cochran’s arrest, state police investigated a couple reported thefts.

On June 2, someone took a John Deere riding mower valued at $5,000 from Labuda Farm Service, Sewickley Township. On June 26, a Dixie Chopper mower valued at $4,500 was stolen from West Central Equipment, Salem Township.

Investigators identified Cochran as a possible suspect, Trooper Gregory Marchewka reported in court documents.

Police conducted surveillance on Cochran’s home on July 1 and reported seeing a utility vehicle that had been reported stolen from Norwin Landscape and Supply in North Huntingdon on June 28.

As police attempted to serve a search warrant at Cochran’s home, Cochran arrived on a utility vehicle. When police identified themselves, Cochran put the utility vehicle into reverse, backed into a parked car and fled, Marchewka reported.

Cochran later agreed to return to his residence and speak with officers, police said. He told them a man gave him the vehicle as payment for drugs. Cochran eventually admitted to stealing and then selling two lawn tractors, police said. Both were recovered.

Cochran, who was jailed following his arraignment on July 16, was released Monday from the Westmoreland County Prison on an unsecured $25,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear before Judge Rita D. Hathaway on Oct. 17 for four separate formal arraignments.

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