Palmer Township police arrested a homeless couple over the weekend for allegedly arriving at a township U-Haul dealership in a stolen truck to siphon gas from rental vehicles.
Police charged John Mrvica and Amanda A. Nilan with receiving stolen property and conspiracy after they allegedly admitted to stealing gasoline from the U-Haul off Nazareth Road. The pair also faces child endangerment charges after police discovered their 4-year-old in the back of the stolen pickup.
Township police were notified on Sept. 12 about a $122 gasoline theft from the U-Haul dealership at 2413 Nazareth Road. Staff told police they believed several other thefts occurred recently, and video surveillance showed a dark-colored pickup in the lot late at night.
An officer was watching the dealership about 3 a.m. Sunday, when a dark Ford pickup pulled into the lot and stopped between two rows of storage units, according to court records. Mrvica, who was driving the truck, told police he was there to retrieve some clothing and personal items from a storage unit, but the officer said he appeared nervous and didn't have a key.
Nilan, Mrvica's girlfriend, was in the truck with their 4-year-old daughter. Police said she admitted they were there to siphon gasoline from rental vehicles and had done it a few times in the last several weeks, according to court records.
Authorities said a check of the truck's registration came back to Nilan but for a much older truck than they were driving. A search of the vehicle's ID number came back to an owner in Luzerne County.
Once in custody, Mrvica allegedly told police that he and Nilan had siphoned gas from vehicles at the U-Haul three or four times over roughly two months. He also allegedly admitted to stealing the pickup truck.
A search of the truck revealed several gas cans and siphons in the bed of the truck. Inside, police said they found cat feces, a used litter box, old food and large containers of cigarette butts.
Police charged the 44-year-old Mrvica with felony counts of receiving stolen property and conspiracy along with misdemeanor counts of theft, conspiracy, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, child endangerment and possessing an instrument of a crime. Nilan, 32, faces felony counts of receiving stolen property and conspiracy and misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
District Judge John Capobianco arraigned the pair Sunday afternoon, setting bail for each at $25,000. Mrvica and Milan failed to post bail and were sent to Northampton County Prison to await preliminary hearings scheduled for Sept. 30.