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Judge Hoots Holds Two Men for Court on Gun-Related Charges

Wilkinsburg police conducted saturation patrols in September to deal with high number of homicides; two men held for court on gun charges as a result.

Two men are facing formal arraignments during February in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on gun-related charges stemming from saturation patrols by Wilkinsburg police last fall to cut down on the number of homicides in the borough.

District Judge Kim M. Hoots held the two for court in separate hearings in connection with an incident on Sept. 22, 2012.

William Bennett, 19, of 1161 South Ave., Wilkinsburg was held for court on Jan. 3 on charges of firearms not to be carried without a license, alter/obliterate mark of identification, tamper with/fabricate physical evidence and make repairs/sell/etc. offensive weapons. He faces a formal arraignment on Feb. 21.

Michael Antonio Smith, 19, of Swissvale was held for court by Hoots on Dec. 27 on charges of firearms not to be carried without a license and carrying a loaded weapon. He faces a formal arraignment on Feb. 14.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Wilkinsburg police, officers were conducting a saturation patrol through the borough because of the high number of homicides, gun, drug and related offenses. From Coal Street, they saw two men in the middle of Maple Avenue at Swissvale Avenue.

One of the men, Bennett, disappeared and the second, Smith, was observed walking with a woman.

Police stopped Smith and, according to the complaint, immediately noticed a bulge in the front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. As Smith was patted down, an officer discovered an Iver Johnson Arms .32 automatic loaded with five live rounds. He was placed under arrest and taken to the Wilkinsburg police station.

En route, Bennett was walking on Burns Street. According to the complaint, he ran into a wooded area and then hid between two houses on Park Avenue. When Bennett ran back into the woods, he fell and police apprehended him. Police located a Springfield model 67 12-gauge shotgun behind the abandoned house where he had been.

The increased patrols had resulted in some other arrests that came before Hoots in October.

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