This article was originally published by Tim Hahn on on August 10, 2017

Erie police believe three city men broke into an East 30th Street residence and stole a variety of items after they learned through Facebook posts that two men who lived in the house drowned when floodwaters filled the basement of the residence during Sunday night’s powerful storm, Chief Donald Dacus said Friday morning.

Majed K. Al-Jayashi, 18, Tyree J. Catledge, 22, and Shannon J. Lambert, 18, remained in the Erie County Prison Friday on $100,000 bond apiece on charges of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property in the burglary at 504 E. 30th St. sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Investigators said Marlaina Payne, no age available, also faces a charge of receiving stolen property for the crime.

The burglary happened sometime after Erie firefighters were called to 504 E. 30th St. shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, at the height of a powerful storm that blew through the region, on a report of a basement collapse. Officials at the scene said rising floodwaters in the neighborhood caused by heavy rain caved in a portion of the front wall of the one-story house and filled the basement with water.

Gary Hoffman, 59, and Michael Mcgurn, 55, who lived in the house, were in the basement and drowned, according to the Erie County Coroner’s Office. Fire department dive team members recovered their bodies from the basement.

Erie police charge that Al-Jayashi, Catledge, and Lambert went to the residence after the accident and one of them entered through a back kitchen window and unlocked a door to let the others in. The suspects then ransacked the house, making multiple trips to steal numerous items including three televisions, a safe containing a .45-caliber revolver, jewelry and personal items, an LG tablet and a hunting rifle, Erie police Detective Sgt. Earl Matson wrote in the criminal complaint.

Dacus said during a news conference late Friday morning that hard work by detectives and a lot of help from the community led to a conclusion in the investigation.

He said the communication between detectives and the community “really put this together and I just can’t thank these guys enough for what they’ve done, and can’t thank the community enough for what they did to help us bring this to a successful conclusion.”

Dacus said investigators initially received some tips from the public that came through the department’s Facebook page, and that a phone call detectives received on Thursday “put them on the pathway to the house where the three suspects were located together yesterday.”

It was reported earlier Friday that detectives were led to Al-Jayashi, Catledge, and Lambert as suspects in the burglary after police received a tip on its Facebook page that some photos of jewelry stolen from the residence were posted on Snapchat, Erie police Lt. Julie Kemling said. Detectives followed up on the information, and on Thursday a search warrant was served on a residence in the 1700 block of East 27th Street, Kemling said.

Investigators recovered some of the items stolen in the burglary from the residence, Kemling said. She would not comment on whether any of the guns were recovered.

Dacus said that identification and credit cards belonging to the victims were among the items recovered from the East 27th Street residence.

Al-Jayashi, Catledge, and Lambert were taken into police custody from the residence early Thursday afternoon and were brought to the Erie police station for questioning. The three were arraigned by Erie 1st Ward District Judge Sue Mack on Thursday night.

See Saturday’s Erie Times-News for more details.


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