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Man accused of car theft left owner $5 ‘for gas’

An Altoona man accused of stealing a vehicle Saturday told Altoona police that Pennsylvania State Police gave him permission to use the vehicle, court documents stated.

John Snarski III, 48, was arraigned Saturday by Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner on vehicle theft-related felony charges and imprisoned at Blair County Prison in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, according to court documents.

Altoona police responded to the 3200 block of Fairway Drive on Saturday morning for a report of a stolen vehicle, a criminal complaint stated.

The victim told police he left his keys in the console of his Chevy Trailblazer, which was stolen from the parking lot minutes after he and a friend arrived at a local business, police

reported.

Surveillance footage revealed that after the victim entered the business, a person wearing a camouflage hoodie, later identified as Snarski, approached the victim’s vehicle, peered inside for several seconds, then entered the business.

After walking around the business for a short time, Snarski allegedly exited the business, entered the vehicle and drove away, police reported.

About 30 minutes after the incident occurred, and as police were reviewing surveillance, several people nearby alerted police that an individual matching Snarksi’s description was again walking past the business.

When police picked up Snarski for questioning, Snarski first identified himself as a member of the “Animals” gang, then told police he was given permission to use the vehicle to visit his children, court documents stated.

Snarski allegedly told APD that state police gave him permission to use the vehicle, which he parked in front of another business along the same block, police reported.

After using the stolen vehicle, Snarski left the keys and $5 “for gas” in the console, which police reported were discovered in the vehicle when it was recovered.

A review of Snarski’s driving record revealed his license was suspended because of a DUI conviction, court documents stated.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled with Magisterial District Judge Ben Jones for April 28.

Mirror Staff Writer Ike

Fredregill is at 814-946-7458.

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