Philly Cheesesteak Stand Supplier Charged with Forgery & Theft


EAST BRANDYWINE — When it came to his dealings with Pat’s King of Steaks — the iconic South Philly cheesesteak stand — Joseph R. Shafer apparently liked his without. That is, without turning over money that the management at Pat’s had paid him for acting as a food broker to his employer, an international wholesale meat supplier based in Canada, according to township police.

Shafer, 40, of Cumberland Drive, was arrested last week and charged with theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, forgery and receiving stolen property. Police allege he pocketed more than $87,000 in payments from Pat’s that was supposed to have gone to Wilkinson Foods International for meat the cheesesteak maker purchased in August.

After an arraignment on the charges last Tuesday, Shafer was taken to Chester County prison in lieu of $250,000 bail. It could not be determined whether he had made bail this past weekend. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 2 before Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Valocchi of Caln.

According to an arrest affidavit, East Brandywine Police Lt. Gene Babetski was contacted in early September by Don Read, an agent for Wilkinson based in Florida. Read explained that payments he expected to receive from Pat’s Steaks in August had not been made by Shafer, who he uses as a broker to supply Pat’s and other buyers along the East Coast.

Read said he had asked Shafer about a missed payment of $29,000, and that Shafer had told him he sent the check via Federal Express. But Read told Babetski that when he received the FedEx envelope from Shafer, it was empty. The agent said he had also missed other payments totaling $87,603 from the Pat’s account.

He contacted Frankie Oliveri of Pat’s and spoke with him about the missed payments. Oliveri told Read that he had written three checks made payable to Shafer International and not Wilkinson Foods because Shafer had told him there had been complaints about late payments over the summer.

According to the criminal complaint, Shafer told Oliveri that instead of sending the payments to Wilkinson by FedEx, he could simply write a check to Shafer and that he would wire the payment to Wilkinson from his company account. Oliveri agreed. When Oliveri produced copies of the checks for Babetski when he was interviewed, he noticed that one of the checks he had made payable to Wilkinson had been altered to read Shafer International.

With a search warrant, Babetski then examined Shafer’s bank records at Bryn Mawr Trust and found that the account for Shafer International, although it had a variety of transactions from July through September, never had enough money to cover the amount of the checks that Pat’s Steaks had written to cover its expenses with Wilkinson.

Babetski said Shafer intentionally diverted the funds from Pat’s to Wilkinson for his own purposes.


Vagrant Stole McDonald’s Cheeseburger Out of Man’s Hand

mcdonalds-CheeseburgerA homeless man was indicted last week by a Tazewell County grand jury for allegedly stealing a cheeseburger.

PEKIN – A homeless man was indicted last week by a Tazewell County grand jury for allegedly stealing a cheeseburger. Dennis J. Colver, 36, is charged with burglary and theft in the Aug. 15 incident. Burglary is a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in prison.

According to court records, a Pekin Hospital employee saw a man he later identified as Colver leave the hospital, reach into the front passenger side of a vehicle parked in the hospital’s entrance drive, and take a hamburger out of a passenger’s hand.

The passenger told police he was unwrapping a McDonald’s cheeseburger when a man took the food from him and walked away. Police said the driver of the vehicle and another passenger verified the story.

Colver was spotted by police at 10th Street and Broadway Road eating a cheeseburger. Police found a McDonald’s cheeseburger wrapper in his pants pocket.

Colver has been convicted on building and land trespassing charges 11 times in 2012 and 2013. Ten charges were misdemeanors. He was given jail sentences ranging from 10 to 180 days. An ordinance violation resulted in a fine.

He’s jailed on $5,000 bond on the burglary and theft charges. His next court appearance is Sept. 27.

Woman Wanted For Hot Cheese Attack at 7-11

cheese_is_war_Screen4Seattle police are looking for a woman who attacked a store clerk early this morning after learning, that, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free bag of hot, liquid cheese.

Just before 1 AM, the woman walked into the 7-11 near SW Barton and 35th Avenue SW and bought a bag of Doritos. She then walked over to the store’s liquid chili cheese dispenser, opened up her bag of chips, and began pouring hot cheese into the bag.

When the clerk informed the woman he would have to charge her for the cheese, she flew into a rage and began screaming at the man, before she threw the cheese-filled bag at his head, spattering him with hot orange goo.

The suspect fled the store and ran to a silver Chevy Malibu, and when the clerk followed the woman out to her car to get a look at her license plate, she punched him in the back and took off.

The victim called 911 and officers arrived to find the man with cooling cheese on his hat and face. The victim told officers he believed the suspect—a black female, about 35 years old, wearing large hoop earrings and a grey sweatsuit—is a regular at the store. The clerk was not seriously injured.

While police were investigating the incident, the woman actually called police. She refused to identify herself, but said she would come down to the precinct to talk about the incident.

She never showed up.

Woman Stabbed Son During Argument Over Ice Cream, Prosecutors Say


A south suburban woman stabbed her 17-year-old to death during an argument in their home over ice cream, Cook County prosecutors said this afternoon. Robin Erwin, 31, of the 1700 block of 223rd Street in Sauk Village, called 911 Saturday and told police her son, Diontae Erwin, was fatally injured when he walked into a knife, authorities said.

The Cook County State’s attorney’s office brought a charge of first-degree murder after the Lake County, Ind., medical examiner’s office determined the knife had entered under Diontae’s clavicle and pierced his heart.

Witnesses overheard an argument about ice cream shortly before the incident, prosecutors said. Bond was set today in the Markham courthouse at $750,000 for Erwin.

Robin Erwin’s mother and Diontae’s grandmother, Ruth Erwin, declined to comment this afternoon. A makeshift memorial of balloons, signs and a stuffed bear sat under a tree in the front yard of the ranch-style home.

Police said they found Diontae about 12:15 p.m. Saturday.  The boy was taken to Franciscan Saint Margaret Health in Dyer, Ind., where he was pronounced dead at 12:41 p.m.

Authorities seized 130 grams of marijuana from the home and also arrested Larry J. Gray, 21, for violating his parole on a conviction for unlawful use of a weapon.

Two neighbors said this afternoon that they often hear loud arguments at the home and front yard. Renard Williams, who lives across the tree-lined street, said the Erwins moved to the neighborhood about 18 months ago and police have visited the home several times. Sauk Village police referred all questions about the incident to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Jerry Willoughby, who said he has lived in the neighborhood for 37 years, agreed the Erwin home has been the source of noise problems and frequent visitors, including from authorities.

Williams, who has two sons, said he wishes things had turned out differently for the Erwins. “I’m sad about that incident,” he said, “but I’m glad I told my boys to stay away from over there.”