Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut.
That's the lesson Devin Miller, 20, of Crafton, and William Godzinski and Ryan Pawlowski, both 19 and both from Scott, may be learning the hard way, after being charged by Scott police with theft by unlawful taking and criminal conspiracy in connection with the Nov. 8 theft of approximately 12 tires from National Tire and Battery on Greentree Road.
Police said they were charged after the National Tire and Battery manager received an anonymous letter from someone who said they were a concerned customer who had overheard the three men laughing and bragging about the deed while eating in Wendy's on Noblestown Road shortly after the theft.
According to the letter, police said, one of the trio kept the manager busy while the others hid the tires, estimated to be worth $164-$250 each, behind the dumpster of the business. The men returned to the store about 20 minutes after closing to retrieve the tires, the writer said.
The police complaint said Mr. Godzinski took two tires and Mr. Miller and Mr. Pawlowski each took four tires.
The letter prompted a store manager to contact Scott police Nov. 17. Officer James Stoker conducted an investigation that resulted in charges against the three men for the tire thefts, as well as charges of theft by unlawful taking and criminal trespass against Mr. Pawlowski, who was accused of stealing a Snap-On diagnostic scanner worth approximately $4,000 on Nov. 13 from the same business.
Though Mr. Pawlowski has returned the scanner, police said, the business is pressing charges in part because of his suspected involvement in the tire incident.
Mr. Pawlowski faces a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. today before District Justice Gary Zyra of Scott. Preliminary hearings for Mr. Godzinski and Mr. Miller are set for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 31.