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Convicted felon charged with illegally selling stolen guns

Media, PA – Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced today that Charles David Clark, 36, of Marcus Hook, who is a convicted felon, is charged with illegally selling two stolen firearms to an undercover agent who was posing as a convicted felon.

Charles David Clark, of the unit block of W. 6th Street in Marcus Hook, is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and receiving stolen property, both felonies of the second degree, possession of a firearm without a license, illegal sales of firearms, and criminal use of a communication facility, felonies of the third degree, and offenses. The arrest comes following a joint investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations (BNI), the Delaware County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and the Upper Chichester Police Department.

On June 5, 2018, at 5:33 p.m., BNI Agent Stacy Rucker, while acting in an undercover capacity, spoke with the defendant, Charles Clark, by cellphone in reference to purchasing a handgun. Clark agreed to sell undercover Narcotic Agent Rucker a handgun for $450 and told her to meet him at the Walmart on Conchester Highway in Upper Chichester, Delaware County. At approximately 5:50 p.m., Narcotic Agent Rucker and Supervisory Narcotic Agent David Carolina observed Clark arrive at the pre-arranged location, get out of his car, and enter a car occupied by agents Rucker and Carolina.

At this time, Clark removed a 9mm handgun which he had concealed in his waistband and handed it to the agents. Once SNA Carolina agreed to purchase the firearm, Clark retrieved two loaded magazines and a holster from under his shirt, which he stated he would give them when they bought the gun. During this interaction, Narcotic Agent Rucker informed Clark the reason she was purchasing the gun in this manner was because she was a felon. Clark admitted that he too was a convicted felon. Narcotic Agent Rucker handed $450 in cash to Clark who in turn provided the two loaded magazines, holster, and an additional 100 rounds of ammunition to the agents. Clark also offered to sell the undercover agents cocaine and Percocet pills. Law enforcement records revealed that in June of 2009, Clark pleaded guilty to felony statutory sexual assault and indecent assault of a minor, and was remanded to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

On August 9, 2018, Charles Clark contacted Narcotic Agent Rucker stating that he had a .45 caliber handgun and a Ruger 9mm firearm for sale. On August 10, 2018, Narcotic Agent Rucker advised that she would buy both of the firearms, however, Clark stated although the .45 caliber firearm was already sold, he was still in possession of the Ruger 9mm and would sell it for $500. During this conversation with Agent Rucker, Clark revealed that he obtained these handguns during a burglary he recently committed. Narcotic Agent Rucker arranged to meet Clark on August 11, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., at the Walmart in Upper Chichester to purchase the firearm.

On August 11, 2018, at 9:20 a.m., Narcotic Rucker contacted Clark by cellphone at which time Clark stated he was at the meeting location and was parked in the parking lot of the Walmart. CID and BNI agents then approached Clark’s vehicle and took him into custody. A search of his vehicle revealed a loaded 9mm Ruger handgun secreted in a book bag on the front seat.

Charles Clark was remanded to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility after failing to post bail set at ten percent of $100,000. His preliminary hearing is August 23, 2018.

In Delaware County, the District Attorney’s Anti-Violence Task Force and Gun Trafficking Unit continues to work with local, state and federal authorities to target individuals who illegally sell and straw purchase firearms.

“In the case of Charles David Clark, he stole these guns and then brazenly sold them for profit to an individual who he believed was a criminal, showing a complete disregard for the law,” said District Attorney Katayoun Copeland. “By doing so, and blatantly perpetuating criminal activity right here in our community, the defendant faces up to ten years in prison under the Brad Fox Law. We commend Agent Stacy Rucker and Supervisory Agent David Carolina of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations and CID Detective Steven Bannar and Detective Rick Jones of the Trainer Borough Police Department for their work on this case and the Upper Chichester Police Department for their assistance. We will continue to aggressively target gun traffickers to prevent criminals from illegally obtaining firearms and to raise awareness about the severity of these crimes.”

“Thanks to the strong collaboration with our law enforcement partners in Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland’s office and the Upper Chichester Police Department, two more stolen guns are off our streets and this illegal gun trafficker will face justice,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “People have the right to feel safe in their home and the neighborhoods where they live and work – and illegal guns and gun traffickers erode that basic right.”

Deputy District Attorney George B. Dawson, Chief of the Anti-Violence Task Force, will be prosecuting the case on behalf of the Commonwealth.

 

CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE MERELY ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS AND UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Dover man sentenced four years in prison for stealing $243k from a Nether Providence widow

James Grant Wagner

Media, PA -- Today Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced that James Grant Wagner, 49, of Dover, Delaware, was sentenced in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to four years in prison followed by three years’ supervised release, and was ordered to pay $314,450 in restitution. Under the guise of an investment opportunity through a business deal for energy contracts, the defendant transferred large sums of the victim’s money to himself, stealing money from her savings and her deceased husband's estate. The sentencing came after James Grant Wagner, 49, of the 100 block of Old Mill Road, Dover, Delaware, pleaded guilty to a criminal information
charging him with two counts of wire fraud.

The investigation was conducted by Detectives Daniel A. McFarland and Timothy Deery of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Economic Crime Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Edward Conway. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rotella.

In June 2017, a resident of Nether Providence, Delaware County, filed a police report regarding James Grant Wagner for committing a theft. She explained that she has known Wagner since 2010, as he was the live-in boyfriend of her niece. The victim described Wagner as a very charismatic individual who was looked upon as a member of the family. The victim related that when her husband died in April 2013, Wagner offered to help her. The victim had a significant amount of money in her savings account and as part of her husband's estate after his death. The defendant, Wagner, approached the victim in June of 2013, and introduced the idea of investing her money, rather than having her assets remain in savings accounts. He advised that he had established an energy company called My Energy Expert, LLC, which he claimed was a private energy distribution company that purchased energy contracts and provided energy customers with new ways of purchasing their electric and gas service. Wagner presented this to the victim as an investment opportunity and advised that all she had to do was invest her own money, and he would handle the day-to-day operations of the business.

In reality, My Energy Expert was not a registered company, did not provide energy services or products of any kind, had no customers, and was a fictitious company created by Wagner to use in his scheme to defraud the victim. As part of his scheme, Wagner induced the victim to invest money in his company as his partner and provided the victim with false documentation regarding the company, fake lists of customers and spreadsheets documenting purported contracts, falsified purchase costs to acquire existing energy contracts for new “customers,” and falsified commission sheets listing payments due to Wagner.

According to the victim, she believed that Wagner was a legitimate business person, and was grateful for his consideration in wanting to further her financial portfolio. This time period in her life continued to be very stressful with the recent passing of her husband, and she relied upon Wagner to be a stabilizing force in her life. Over the course of the next two years, the victim continued to invest in Wagner’s non-existent company. By February 2017, the victim had not received any return on her investment. Wagner claimed that the "customers" were still being acquired, and the money would be returning to her shortly. By the end of February 2017, the victim was aggressively seeking her money to be returned to her in full and, in the alternative, asked Wagner to show her where the money was being invested. It was during this time, that Wagner stated to her that all the current contracts acquired were going to be sold to another business. He advised that her investment money would be returned to her in full or for an even larger return on her investment. These conversations continued for several days with no results.

Through the course of the investigation and a review of Wagner's accounts, it was determined that all money coming into Wagner’s account was from wire transfers from the victim’s bank account. Essentially, Wagner was living off money transferred to him from the victim, under the guise of the business deal for the energy contracts. From June 2013 until July 2015, as part and parcel of this scheme, James Wagner defrauded the victim out of $243,950. Further investigation by the FBI revealed that this was not the only scheme Wagner had devised to steal money. From August 2015 until November 2016, Wagner induced yet another victim to disburse money from her IRA accounts through false pretenses claiming the monies were being used to purchase real estate.

“The defendant in this case preyed upon a vulnerable, grieving widow, who trusted him as a close family friend. His actions are despicable and abhorrent,” said District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland. “Individuals like Mr. Wagner, who take advantage of their positions and of vulnerable members of our community, will be held accountable for their actions and the sentence imposed should send a clear signal to those who abuse their positions of trust and power. I would like to commend CID Detectives Daniel McFarland and Timothy Deery along with FBI Special Agent Edward Conway for their work on this complicated case, and to commend Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rotella who brought justice to the victim and her family.”

“The defendant was motivated by pure greed, and we are glad that he has been brought to justice,” said United States Attorney William M. McSwain. “This successful prosecution would not have been possible without federal and Delaware County authorities working together. Thank you to District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, CID Detectives Daniel McFarland and Timothy Deery, FBI Special Agent Edward Conway, and AUSA Michelle Rotella for their hard work and determination in this case.”

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
DELAWARE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19063
————————————
610-891-4161

KATAYOUN M. COPELAND, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
JOSEPH A. RYAN, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4252

 

Philly woman convicted for sneaking narcotics into prison for her son to sell to his fellow inmates for profit

Media, PA – Today Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced that Janette Ortiz, 52, of the 2800 block of N. 3rd Street in Philadelphia, was found guilty of drug distribution and contraband charges for sneaking Suboxone into the State Correctional Institution (SCI) at Chester to her son, inmate Julio Ortiz, which he thereafter sold to other prison inmates in exchange for money.

Following a jury trial before Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. Capuzzi, Sr., Janette Ortiz was found guilty of contraband, delivery of a controlled substance and criminal use of communication facility, all felony charges. The jury deliberated for less than 90 minutes before delivering a verdict on July 13, 2018. The offense of contraband carries a 2-year mandatory minimum term of incarceration. Janette Ortiz has two previous convictions for delivery of a controlled substance.

On behalf of the Commonwealth, the case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael H. Hill and investigated by Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Agent Darryl Bradley, Agent Jeffrey Theobald, Sergeant Jose Soto, and Corrections Officer Lorie Eason, all of whom testified at trial.

On February 9, 2017, an investigative prison cell search was conducted at SCI Chester which housed inmate Julio Ortiz. During the search, 13 strips of Suboxone, a Schedule III drug, were discovered inside the inmate’s headphones. During an interview with investigators, inmate Julio Ortiz admitted that he and his mother, Janette Ortiz, worked together to bring Suboxone into the prison to sell for profit to other inmates. During an investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, it was determined that on February 5, 2017, the defendant, Janette Ortiz, concealed 20 strips of Suboxone and entered the secure perimeter of the institution to visit her son, inmate Julio Ortiz. During the visit, the defendant surreptitiously handed the Suboxone to her son, who then swallowed the package of narcotics. Upon entering his prison cell, inmate Ortiz regurgitated the package of Suboxone, which he then concealed in his headphones and later sold some of them to other SCI Chester inmates. He sold the full strips of Suboxone for $50 and 1/10 pieces for $10. Inmate Ortiz was then paid for the sale of the drugs by family members and friends of the inmates, and the funds were transferred to his mother, Janette Ortiz.

“Bringing drugs into a state correctional facility is a serious felony offense and those who attempt to do so in Delaware County will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland. “In the case of Janette Ortiz, under the guise of a motherly visit, she capitalized on her son’s incarceration, and preyed upon his fellow inmates’ weakness and addiction to opioids for her own selfish profit. I would like to commend Assistant District Attorney Michael H. Hill for his outstanding efforts to bring this conviction against Ms. Ortiz and commend the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for their investigative efforts that led to the apprehension of this individual.”

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
DELAWARE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19063
————————————
610-891-4161

KATAYOUN M. COPELAND, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
JOSEPH A. RYAN, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: July 20, 2018
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4252

Drexel Hill woman arrested for sneaking drugs into prison for her inmate boyfriend, who is also facing charges

Heather Stamm

Media, PA – Today Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland announced that Heather Stamm, 35, of Drexel Hill, is facing felony contraband charges for sneaking suboxone into the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Concord Township, for her boyfriend, inmate Joseph Terranova, 36, who is also facing charges.

Heather Stamm, 35, of the 3400 block of Garrett Road in Drexel Hill, is charged with contraband and conspiracy, both felonies of the second degree, and delivery/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, an ungraded felony. Inmate Joseph Terranova, 36, is facing the same charges. The investigation was conducted by Detective Sergeant Lawrence Patterson and Detective Louis Grandizio of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and investigators and correctional officers with the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

On Monday, August 6, 2018, at approximately 9:00 p.m., inmate Joseph Terranova, who was incarcerated at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, was searched by correctional officers following a visit with his girlfriend, Heather Stamm. During the search, officers discovered several orange bags of suboxone, a Schedule III controlled substance, in inmate Terranova’s folded visitor’s pass. The inmate’s girlfriend, Heather Stamm, was interviewed and admitted that she brought 22 strips of suboxone into the prison and gave them to inmate Terranova. She advised that there were eight more sealed packs of suboxone in her vehicle, which was parked on prison property, all of which was later recovered from the vehicle.

In response to the report of contraband in the prison, CID Detective Sergeant Patterson and Detective Grandizio responded to the George W. Hill Correctional Facility and met with Heather Stamm who waived her Miranda Rights. She spoke with the detectives and admitted that she knowingly brought the suboxone into the prison and gave them to her boyfriend, inmate Joseph Terranova. She also advised them of the additional suboxone in her vehicle.

“Bringing drugs into a correctional facility is a serious felony offense and those who attempt to do so in Delaware County will be arrested and prosecuted,” said Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland. “In the case of inmate Joseph Terranova, even while incarcerated, he could not refrain from committing a crime, and instead conspired with his girlfriend, Heather Stamm, to surreptitiously bring drugs into the prison, intending on selling the suboxone and lining his pockets with money. I would like to commend the correctional officers at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility and CID for their investigative efforts that led to the arrests in this case.”

Heather Stamm was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Wendy B. Roberts who set bail at ten percent of $50,000. Her preliminary hearing date is scheduled for August 16, 2018. A detainer was lodged with the prison for inmate Joseph Terranova.

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
DELAWARE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19063
————————————
610-891-4161

KATAYOUN M. COPELAND, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
JOSEPH A. RYAN, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: August 9, 2018
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4252

Chester man charged with first-degree murder in January 2018 shooting death

Media, Pa -- Today Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland and Commissioner Otis Blair of the Chester Police Department announced the arrest of Darnell Jamil Thomas for the shooting death of Chadease Coleman, 20, on January 23, 2018, in the area of the 500 block of Mosley Court in Chester.

Darnell Jamil Thomas, 30, of the unit block of West 21st Street in Chester, is charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder, robbery, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of instruments of crime, and conspiracy to commit robbery and first-degree murder. The investigation was conducted by Detective David J. DeFrank of the Chester Police Department and Detectives Timothy Deery and Vincent Ficchi of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division (CID).

As the result of information provided by witnesses, combined with video surveillance, cell phone records and social media accounts, authorities filed charges against Darnell Jamil Thomas who was identified as one of the individuals who shot and killed Chadease Coleman on January 23, 2018.

On January 23, 2018, at 8:31 p.m. the Chester Police Department responded to the 500 block of Mosley Court in Chester for the report of a shooting victim. Upon arrival, police found Chadease Coleman seated inside his vehicle, a white KIA SUV, and suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene shortly thereafter by paramedics. Police confirmed the victim, Chadease Coleman, was the driver of the vehicle and two small children were also in the backseat during the shooting. At the scene, it was reported that the vehicle involved in the shooting was a black sedan with two red Christmas bows on the front of the vehicle.

An investigation revealed that Witness #1 was dating Coleman’s best friend, who is identified as Witness #2. Coleman and Witness #1 then began a secret relationship behind Witness #2’s back. Witness #2 found out about the relationship which led to friction between Coleman and Witness #2 who had been best friends for a long time. Several hostile and threatening messages were sent and posted through social media between Witness #2 and Coleman. On January 6, 2018, Coleman confronted Witness #2 which led to Witness #2 sustaining injuries and necessitating medical attention at a hospital.

Immediately following Witness #2’s discharge from the hospital, a male identified as Matthew Leopold picked Witness #2 up in Matthew Leopold's black Tahoe. In the car, Leopold introduced Witness #2 to a male identified as "Dar,” later identified as defendant Darnell Thomas, who was seated in the front passenger seat and wearing a ski mask along with a hoodie over his head. Witness #2 said that they then picked up another male from the area of the McCaffery Village Housing projects.

Witness #2 inquired what they were doing, and Leopold and Thomas said that when "it goes down,” Witness #2 was going to have to leave the area and stay out of sight for a while. Witness #2 said they then drove around Chester looking for Coleman’s white KIA. Witness #2 believed that "Dar'' and Leopold were going to attempt to kill Coleman if they found him. Witness #2 told them, “Listen, there's no reason to take anybody's life over this. This is stupid; there's no point in doing this- it's not that serious.”

On January 23, 2018, Witness #1 and Coleman were driving in a KIA SUV on Tilghman Street when a Matthew Leopold’s black Lincoln blocked them in. They continued driving to the 500 block of Mosley Court, and as they turned onto the block, the Lincoln came towards them travelling the wrong way down the one-way street, bringing the vehicle to a stop. Coleman then got out of the KIA and was standing behind the open door. Leopold exited the driver’s side door of the Lincoln and asked why Coleman assaulted Witness #2. Darnell Thomas then got out of the passenger side of the Lincoln, approached Coleman and attempted to rob him, ultimately leading to an altercation. As this was going on, a third male approached Coleman as well. At that time, Coleman was shot by two individuals, one of whom was identified as the defendant, Darnell Jamil Thomas.

“As the result of unjustified retribution, the defendant Darnell Jamil Thomas, planned and conspired to rob and kill the victim in this case,” said District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland. “This was a calculated act of senseless violence against the victim, Chadease Coleman, whose life was needlessly taken at the young age of just 20-years-old. As the result of cooperation and assistance from the community, we were able to make two arrests in this case. I would like to commend the investigative work of Detective DeFrank of the Chester Police Department and CID Detectives Timothy Deery and Vincent Ficchi for their extensive work on this complicated case.”

CRIMINAL CHARGES, AND ANY DISCUSSION THEREOF, ARE MERELY ALLEGATIONS AND ALL DEFENDANTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL AND UNLESS PROVEN GUILTY.
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OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
DELAWARE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
MEDIA, PENNSYLVANIA 19063
————————————
610-891-4161

KATAYOUN M. COPELAND, DISTRICT ATTORNEY
JOSEPH A. RYAN, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: August 3, 2018
CONTACT PERSON: Emily H. Harris, 610.891.4252