Man allegedly led series of thefts with juveniles

An Altoona man is behind bars after police said he led three juveniles on a theft spree.

John L. Wissinger Jr., 21, of 1118 15th Ave. allegedly planned with the juveniles to steal from vehicles early Friday and hit three before a witness called police after watching Wissinger smash out the window of a

Ford Explorer, according to police.

It was about 1 a.m. when Wissinger and the three male juveniles allegedly left Wissinger’s home with the goal of stealing from cars.

The four walked along 12th Street – looking in vehicles and checking door locks – and entered an unlocked Ford Taurus and a Chevrolet Astro van before using part of a cinder block to smash out the passenger side front window of the Explorer, according to arrest papers filed Friday.

Police said a witness watched as Wissinger tried to break the window before he asked one of the juveniles to get a rock.

The kid returned with a piece of broken cinder block, and Wissinger used it to break out the SUV’s window, police said.

Wissinger then grabbed a blanket and purse from inside the SUV, and in a nearby parking lot, the four searched the bag for valuables before tossing the stolen goods in a yard, police said.

The witness to the break-in of the Explorer called police, and officers found the four prowling outside a home on the 1000 block 17th Avenue, according to police.

Police said Wissinger had 1 1/2 Clonazepam pills, stolen from the Taurus, as well as a flashlight and tools on him when he was arrested and later confessed to conspiring with the juveniles to steal from vehicles.

Wissinger was arraigned Friday by Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Auker and lodged in Blair County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $10,000.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at Central Court.