City man faces trespass charge

Gates accused of entering apartment, stealing cellphone

A city man who was free on bail in two previous trespassing cases is now behind bars after police said he entered an apartment and stole a cellphone.

Willie J. Gates, 49, was arrested Tuesday by Altoona police after officers responded to the 1100 block of 14th Avenue for a report that Gates had broken into an apartment through a window, according to police.

Gates was leaving the apartment when officers arrived about noon, and he allegedly claimed he was there to get his belongings from inside. Police noted in the charges that Gates had been living there with a woman, but he had been evicted and wasn’t allowed in the apartment.

Police accused Gates of stealing a Samsung cellphone with a case from the apartment, although Gates denied he had the phone until police called the number and it rang while in his pocket.

Officers located his actual phone, one with a cracked screen and no case, inside the apartment.

Police said they have encountered Gates, who is homeless, in the past, and in August, he was arrested after residents of a home in Juniata reported that Gates had tried to open a door about 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday and then refused to leave their porch. Police noted Gates was found walking nearby after the residents called 911. Gates had a blood alcohol level of 0.385 percent.

Gates was charged with defiant trespassing, loitering and prowling at night, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, and he waived those charges on to Blair County Court on Oct. 30.

Police charged Gates in September with defiant trespass after officers were dispatched to Sheetz, 700 Chestnut Ave., after Gates showed up despite the fact he was provided a letter previously that informed him he was not to be on the property.

Gates waived that case on to court on Oct. 23 and was free on an unsecured $15,000 bond.

After his arrest Tuesday, Altoona police booked Gates on charges that include felony burglary and misdemeanor theft. Bail was set at $15,000 cash, and Gates remains in Blair County Prison with a preliminary hearing set for Wednesday at Central Court.


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