Pair charged with stealing from local businessman

An Oil City couple is facing felony theft charges for conspiring to steal nearly $20,000 from a local businessman.

A criminal complaint filed by Franklin state police with district judge Patrick Lowrey says local businessman Barry Stover discovered his checkbook was missing from his pick-up truck outside his residence on Feb. 24.

Stover went to a branch of his bank to inform them of the missing checkbook and the bank closed a specific check series, the complaint said.

It was later determined that David Panzone, 30, who was one of Stover’s employees, was writing checks to himself, the complaint said.

The bank’s inquiry found a total of 44 checks, totaling $19,790, that were written between Sept. 1, 2015, and March 3, the complaint said.

Brenda Lutz, 40, who police believe to be Panzone’s live-in girlfriend and co-conspirator, had her name written on the back of three checks, the complaint said.

Both Lutz and Panzone will be charged with felony counts of theft by unlawful taking and identity theft in addition to a misdemeanor count of forgery, according to online court dockets.