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Alleged State Patty's Day Burglars Face Up to 20 Years in Prison

by on April 04, 2014 2:11 PM

State College police formally charged two suspects Friday who are believed to be responsible for a string of State Patty's Day burglaries.

The men face up to 20 years in prison.

The defendants are 22-year old Jesse Hribar, a Geneva College student and 23-year-old Andrew Ronczka, a University of Pittsburgh student. Police charged both men with four counts of burglary and 14 counts of trespassing. All charges are felonies.

Both men were arraigned Friday afternoon before Magisterial District Judge Carmine Presita. The judge set their bail at $50,000 unsecured for a portion of the charges and release on recognizance for the second portion of charges. Their preliminary hearing is slated for April 23.

Police say the suspects were staying with someone in the borough and were in town specifically for State Patty's Day - a Penn State student created event that promotes binge drinking.

police say they've recovered stolen property worth more than $1,000, including sunglasses, electronics and clothing.

Authorities released surveillance video and still images last month hoping the public could help identify the two men believed to be responsible for the burglaries that occurred overnight between March 1 and March 2.

Investigators pulled the images from surveillance video at the Meridian II apartment building in the 600 block of East College Avenue and University Towers in the 400 block of East College Avenue, which police say clearly links the suspects to the crimes.

Police say surveillance video shows the two defendants entering roughly a dozen apartments during a fire alarm at Meridian II.

The surveillance images went "viral," a resident outside the area recognized the suspect and then tipped off police, according to State College Police Lt. Keith Robb. The suspects also saw the images and knew police were searching for them.

"They knew they were under investigation because they saw themselves on video," Robb says.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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