By Renatta Signorini
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
SCOTTSDALE, Pa — A Marine Corps veteran and his German shepherd puppy helped police capture a suspect accused of injuring an officer and trying to break into several Scottdale homes on Wednesday.
Edward Swingle, 31, said his military training kicked in, and so did the instincts of his 4-month-old puppy, Keeper.
“I’m happy that I did not have to do anything worse,” Swingle said. “My dog definitely surprised me.”
The chaotic scene on Loucks Avenue and Mulberry Street in Scottdale started around 8 a.m., when resident Richard Grabiak said he left his garage door open for a few minutes while he went to get a cup of coffee at a nearby convenience store.
When he returned, Grabiak said, he found a man inside his garage.
Grabiak grabbed a garden tool to hold the man — identified by police as Corey Matthew Pandullo, 30 — at bay. When a Scottdale officer arrived, police said, Pandullo appeared to be under the influence of something and “mumbled many unintelligible words,” according to court papers.
“The police officer went to cuff him and he got one cuff on and the guy pushed the police officer and he took off around the house,” Grabiak said.
The officer landed on his right side and arm, injuring his elbow and forearm, according to court papers. He had cuts to his hand and knee.
Grabiak said that as they followed Pandullo around the house, the suspect apparently returned to the garage and tried to get away with Grabiak’s SUV, but backed it over an embankment in a neighbor’s yard.
“There’s probably $3,000 damage to the car,” Grabiak said.
Then, police said, Pandullo tried to steal Swingle’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle from his back porch. Swingle and Keeper saw Grabiak’s wrecked SUV and went to the front of the house, where they confronted Pandullo trying to break in.
“I said, ‘Keeper, get him,’ ” Swingle said.
The dog did, grabbing the suspect’s pant leg. After a struggle and argument on the front porch, Swingle said he let Keeper go after the suspect again. Swingle retrieved a handgun and saw Pandullo across the street trying to break into another house.
Swingle said he held Pandullo on the neighbor’s porch until police got there. Police said Pandullo kicked Swingle as he was being taken away.
“It was so nuts,” Swingle said.
He and Grabiak agreed the incident was unusual for their normally quiet neighborhood.
Pandullo is charged with aggravated assault, burglary, criminal trespass, theft and related offenses. He was being held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bond. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records. A preliminary hearing is set for March 3.
A drug charge was filed against him in January by Homer City police in Indiana County, according to online court records.
(c)2021 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)