Charges filed in theft from vehicles


Staff writer

NEW BETHLEHEM – A 20-year-old New Bethlehem man faces 76 misdemeanors charges after he allegedly took items from vehicles in the New Bethlehem area.

Jonathan W. Johnston is charges with 25 counts each of theft from a vehicle, receiving stolen property and theft by unlawful taking, all first-degree misdemeanors, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, an unclassified misdemeanor, May 19 in New Bethlehem.

A female victim reported to Southern Clarion County Regional Police Department Officer Michael T. Greenlee she had arrived at her home and observed her neighbors, Johnston and Stephanie L. Stoughton, 26, walking across her lawn.

The female victim told police she had told Johnston and Stoughton to stay off her property.

The victim told police she went inside her home briefly and then returned outside to her vehicle, where she discovered several unspecified items missing from her car.

The victim said she went to Johnston’s apartment and confronted him about the missing items.

The victim said Johnston went back inside his apartment and then returned with the items missing from her vehicle along with other items that did not belong to her.

Police went to Johnston’s apartment where they found Johnston and Stoughton in the process of being evicted from the apartment. The landlord allowed police to enter the apartment.

Police allegedly observed an item in the apartment which had been reported stolen from another vehicle.

Johnston allegedly told police he found the item among a bag of items he saw thrown from a passing vehicle as he was walking along a trail.

Johnston then turned over all the items he said he found in the bag, including a wallet he had hidden under a couch.

Court documents state Johnston told police he (Johnston) he fled from prosecution in the past and was planning on leaving the area when police arrived.

During Johnston’s arrest, police allegedly found a hypodermic needle in Johnston’s possession, along with a pill grinder and a half dose of an unspecified medication.

Johnston was arraigned and placed in the Clarion County Jail in lieu of $5,000 secured bail. Upon petition by defense counsel and agreed to by the district attorney, Johnston’s bail was modified to $5,000 unsecured bond.

Stoughton was not charged in the case, however, she was recently charged in an unrelated case involving alleged drug offenses.