Providence Point night security guard accused of more than $100,000 in thefts
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Scott police said today a nighttime security guard at the sprawling Providence Point retirement community stole as much as $150,000 worth of jewelry and other valuables from residents over the course of several months by breaking into their apartments with a stolen master key.
Steven P. Kowalski, 49, has already been charged with two counts of burglary and faces others stemming from 13 thefts, which were reported between October and December, Scott police Sgt. Jeff Skees said.
The sergeant long suspected the culprit was an employee of Providence Point but struggled to narrow down the possibilities.
He got a break on Thursday, when a resident went to the hospital and returned to find her deadbolt unlocked.
She walked into her apartment and discovered a man crouching behind her chair. She confronted him from the hallway, but he covered his face with a cushion and then pushed the cushion into her face so she couldn't see him, Sgt. Skees said. He walked away from her with his back turned.
Still, the woman was able to make out his dark hair and clothing and gave police a description that led them to Mr. Kowalski.
Pawn records showed "a lot of activity" by Mr. Kowalski, who was arrested Friday.
"These were crimes of opportunity," the sergeant said. "He was just trying to keep up with the bills."
Among the items taken were jewelry and at least eight sets of silverware, one of which has been recovered. Police estimated the cash value of the loot at between $125,000 and $150,000.
Sgt. Skees said Mr. Kowalski would wait until residents were on vacation or receiving medical care to break into their homes using a stolen master key. When the complex changed the locks in February, Mr. Kowalski took a new key, the sergeant said.
Court records show Mr. Kowalski posted a $10,000 bond and was released Friday from the Allegheny County Jail.
First Published June 4, 2012 4:46 pm