Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

A Tyrone man, 23-year-old Brian A. Walter of 1374 Washington Avenue, was arrested on a drug charge earlier this week while at work in the Blair County Courthouse.
Walter was arrested on suspicion of a heroin charge, according to Tyrone Police Chief Joseph Beachem.
The chief said the arrest stemmed from an incident in April when Walter allegedly made a drug deal with a police confidential informant in downtown Tyrone.
Based on an alleged drug buy between the suspect and informant along with police observation, authorities developed their case to the point where they sought and were issued a warrant from Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller.
The judge told The Daily Herald that Tyrone police brought Walter to his office in Snyder Township for arraignment on Monday.
Beachem said he became aware the county’s sheriff’s department had knowledge of Walter’s whereabouts. He said the warrant for Walter had been outstanding for some time before he was detained.
Walter was arrested at the Blair County Controller’s office by the sheriff’s department. Chief Beachem said Tyrone Police picked up Walter at the Blair County Sheriff’s office in Hollidaysburg
There have been widespread media reports that Blair County Controller Richard Peo was not happy with the arrest at his office.
“I’m not upset because the man got arrested,” said Controller Peo.
He explained if the man needed to be in custody, he understood that, but wondered if the situation could have been dealt with in another way.
“I did contact District Attorney Dave Gorman on Monday and asked him if the situation could have been handled differently,” said Peo.
Gorman said things could have been handled differently, according to Peo.
The controller said the reason he asked the question was he was disappointed the sheriff’s department did not make him aware of the matter.
“I’ve known (Sheriff) Larry (Field) for almost 20 years and we have worked together for 12,” said Peo. “I would have hoped Larry would have called me and made me aware of the situation.
“The county trusts me with many things, why not this one?” asked Peo. “I just thought he (Field) could have come to me for help. I don’t know what happened here,” Peo told The Daily Herald Friday evening.
He explained had he been made aware of the situation he thought he could have arranged to have the arrest of Mr. Walter take place in another part of the courthouse (at the sheriff’s office) rather than at the controller’s office.
He said he had yet to speak to Field regarding the issue. Peo confirmed Walter had been terminated from his position as an auditor.
Sheriff Field told The Daily Herald that his department generally keeps a watch for anyone who’s wanted. He said his department has a warrant list. However, in this case, Field said his department became aware of the warrant when they ran a check on Walter regarding another matter. They contacted Tyrone to verify if the warrant was still valid. Field said since it was, his department acted by going to Walter’s work location.
“This was a felony warrant, you don’t take any chances,” said Field. “They (deputies) proceeded (to Walter’s work place) and told him there was a warrant. They asked if he would come with them.”
Field said two deputies escorted Walter from his work location.
One media report earlier this week said Walter had been handcuffed at work. However, Field said Walter was not handcuffed at the Controller’s office. He said the suspect was brought to the sheriff’s office where he was picked up and placed in cuffs by Tyrone police. Peo concurred that Mr. Walter was not handcuffed at the Controller’s office.
Chief Beachem was asked about the protocol used by the sheriff’s department, but he said he could not comment on that since he was not at the scene where Walter was first detained.
District Attorney Dave Gorman was unavailable for comment on the issue. A message was left for Walter at his published phone number, but he did not return the call.
Judge Miller said Walter was unable to post bail at the time of his arraignment on Monday. Bail was set at $10,000, 10 percent. Walter was then transported to Blair County Prison.
Miller explained that sometime Monday evening into Tuesday, Walter was able to post bail. He appeared before Magisterial Judge Patrick Jones and was released.
A preliminary hearing before Judge Miller has been set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the case.

By Rick