I-Team: Pittston police officer under investigation after alleged vandalism

News

PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A police officer from Luzerne County has been suspended with pay. The Pittston officer is being investigated in connection with an incident over the weekend.

Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo confirms the incident involves vandalism to vehicles in the downtown area, video of the incident surfaced on social media.

“At this point I can confirm that one of our full time officers who was not on duty is one of the people we are looking at as a person of interest in this situation,” said Mayor Lombardo.

The video, obtained by Eyewitness News, shows a man appearing to puncture tires on a vehicle on main street.

“We had an incident Saturday night somewhere before 11 p.m. that involved multiple vehicles 4 to 5 having at least a single tire on each vehicle damaged and when I say damaged they were ruptured with some type of device or knife or something sharp,” Mayor Lombardo said.

A red car had two of its tires punctured. It was being towed to a garage to have the tired repaired or replaced. Sources close to the investigation tell us the off duty officer was asked to leave a yet unnamed business on Main Street because he was allegedly showing signs of intoxication. The off duty officer, sources say, left the business and lashed out at vehicles along Main Street and a nearby parking lot.

“I know there’s a video circulating out there it clearly doesn’t do a lot other than indicate there was an incident. You can clearly see that but you can’t make any identification from that video. But there are other cameras on main street and I suspect whoever fronts or leads this evaluation will access those cameras,” said Lombardo.

Word of the incident has people talking in Pittston.

“I think that anytime something like this happens it should be made clear to everybody there shouldn’t be any protecting of people who does a crime regardless of who they are,” Alex Hontz of Pittston told us.

“We want to respect police officers for the work they do to protect citizens like you and I,” said Terrance Winters of Wilkes-Barre.

The name of the officer has not been released by the city, Eyewitness News is also not yet releasing the name of the officers because charges have not been filed in this case. We did reach out to him for comment but our calls have not yet been returned.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said the state police will handle the investigation. Also, she has referred the case to the state attorney general’s office to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

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