Man allegedly confesses to stealing couple’s guns

Police: Defendant also used credit card to get $100

Police charged a former Altoona man Friday with stealing multiple firearms after he allegedly confessed to taking the guns from a couple who let him stay with them during the holidays, court documents stated.

Richard C. Wertz, 42, was arraigned Saturday by Magisterial District Judge Matthew Dunio on firearms and theft-related charges, according to court documents.

The victims told police they invited Wertz to stay with them during the month of December to allow Wertz to “get back on his feet,” police reported.

In a taped interview with police just after New Year’s Day, Wertz confessed to making an agreement with his co-defendant, Jo Ann Martinez/Smolko, to remove three firearms from the victims’ home in December, court documents stated.

No court documents have been filed for Martinez/Smolko.

The total value of the firearms was estimated to be about $900, police reported.

Because of a prior domestic violence charge, Wertz is not permitted to possess a firearm, court documents stated.

Additionally, Wertz told police he used one of the victim’s credit cards to pay himself about $100 using a cash app, police reported.

Unable to post his $15,000 cash bail, Wertz is currently jailed at Blair County Prison, and his preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 20 before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio.

Mirror Staff Writer Ike Fredregill is at 814-946-7458.


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