Investigator to retain license

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A former Altoona police detective can refile his request for a private detective license, which is likely to be granted.

President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva signed an order Thursday, instructing Craig Zahradnik, 42, to refile his request with the county Prothonotary’s Office for a renewed license as a sole proprietor operating as Blair Regional Security and Investigations LLC.

“We determine that the LLC designation does not require a corporate form for application in light of the fact that the LLC known as Blair Regional Security and Investigations LLC operates under a sole proprietor, Craig G. Zahradnik,” Kopriva concluded.

Prothonotary Carol Newman said Thursday that Zahradnik’s license will be renewed after he submits the proper application.

In October, Newman turned down Zahradnik’s renewal request because Zahradnik secured his initial license as an individual, then incorporated his company and sought the renewal as a corporation.

In a hearing on Tuesday, Kopriva suggested to Zahradnik’s attorney, Joel Peppetti, that Zahradnik either file a renewal as an individual or file a new application as a corporation.

“You can’t have a corporation renewing an individual’s license,” Kopriva said.

Peppetti said Zahradnik must retain a private investigator’s license because his business is his sole income and his company has existing contacts to provide services.

Since that hearing, Newman and Kopriva reviewed Zahradnik’s options, which led to Kopriva’s order.

In her earlier rejection, Newman also referenced Zahradnik’s pending criminal case where he is charged with stalking, based on reports filed in 2012 by his estranged wife.

Peppetti told Kopriva on Tuesday that the stalking charge should have no bearing on Zahradnik’s license. The Private Detective Act of 1953 lists specific offenses that would jeopardize a private investigator’s license, and stalking isn’t among them, Peppetti said.

Private Investigator Edgar Linton Jr. of Altoona, a regional director of the Pennsylvania Association of Licensed Investigators, said Tuesday in court that he spoke with his organization’s board of directors about the stalking charge.

From the board’s perspective, Zahradnik hasn’t been convicted of stalking, and even if he would be convicted, Linton said that wouldn’t prevent Zahradnik from holding a private investigator’s license because it’s not listed in the 1953 act.

Peppetti also said Zahradnik continues to assert his innocence.

“All in all, there’s probably going to be a trial,” Peppetti said.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.