Jury to get motorcycle theft case today
A Blair County jury today will decide the fate of the alleged leader of a band of motorcyclists, who now faces criminal charges for participating in a plot to steal a motorcycle owned by one of the group.
Testimony Monday alleged that George Wachter, 54, of Altoona, and two others decided to steal a motorcycle belonging to Paul Diveglia after he had a falling-out with the group in May 2020.
Diveglia is the owner of the former Tin Cup Bar on the 100 block of Sixth Avenue and was in the process of remodeling the apartments in the upper floors of the building.
He used the former bar for storage, including for his motorcycle, a Yamaha V Star 1100, and multiple other items.
Diveglia on Monday told a jury of nine men and three women that he, Wachter, Brian Roudabush, Charles Holland and others occasionally rode their cycles together.
The group used the old bar as their “clubhouse, and sometimes hung out together.”
He testified that they decided to form a group, not only so they could ride together but so they could raise money for children’s charities and “do benefits.”
But, Diveglia explained, in mid-May 2020 he had a falling-out with the group and he asked the others to leave the building.
When Divegllia went to his building on May 25, 2020, he found that his motorcycle, worth $3,500, was missing.
There was no obvious “forced entry” of the building, according to Altoona Patrol Officer Jeff Donnelly, but he ascertained that aside from Diveglia, the only other person who had a key to the building was Roudabush.
Police eventually charged Roudabush, Wachter and Holland with conspiracy to commit theft, theft and receiving stolen property.
But, according to Blair County Assistant District Attorney Derek Elenky, the case took a more serious turn when Wachter allegedly threatened to harm anybody who cooperated with police in the investigation.
Although Holland is charged with helping to steal the motorcycle, he testified Monday for the prosecution against Wachter, indicating that Wachter told Holland’s son, Nicholas, and another man, John Kearnely, who also hung out with the group, that if they went to the police, “You’ll be taken care of.”
“What does that mean?” Elensky asked Holland.
“You’ll be bodily harmed,” answered Holland.
Because of those alleged threats, Wachter is also charged with terroristic threats in addition to the theft charges.
Holland outlined the plot to steal the motorcycle.
He said the group adopted the name of “the Death Reapers” and that he, Wachter and Roudabush agreed to steal the motorcycle.
He said he agreed to drive the cycle to a hunting camp near Glendale, and when they got there the cycle was stripped to its parts.
The parts were then taken to a property in Portage and have never been found.
In April, a Blair County jury acquitted Roudabush of all the charges against him.
His Ebensburg attorney, Richard Corcoran, argued to the jury that Roudabaush was just “hanging around with a bunch of knuckleheads” but wasn’t a part of the plot to steal the motorcycle.
Holland willingly testified Monday, while his attorney watched the proceedings from the rear of the courtroom.
Elensky, in addressing the Wachter jury, said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a straightforward case, use your common sense. You may not be into the world of motorcycles and hanging out, but listen to the testimony and how things fit together.”
Wachter’s attorney, Robert Donaldson, told the jury, “this is not the trial of the century, but it is very important to George Wachter.”
He then stressed to the jury that those who allegedly felt threatened by Wachter’s comments went to his wedding a month after the theft of the motorcycle.
The two attorneys will present their closing arguments this morning, according to Judge Wade A. Kagarise, who is presiding over the trial.