WEST CALN, PA — According to court documents and as reported by Michael P. Rellahan for Daily Local News, John Hashem, a candidate for the Magisterial District Court judge position in Honey Brook, was charged with stealing political signs and tossing them in the trash. Hashem, whose name appears on both Democratic and Republican ballots for the May primaries, confirmed on Monday that he plans to fight the charges. He predicts that the case will ultimately be reduced to a summary violation.
Hashem has expressed his disapproval by stating, “It’s complete nonsense” and referred to his attorney, Steve Jarmon, from Lamb McErlane in West Chester for further inquiries. Jarmon is said to have expressed confidence that the Chester County District Attorney’s Office would dismiss the misdemeanor charges levied against his client by the end of this week.
Hashem, a West Caln resident, and local businessman, owns The Craft House bar and restaurant in Caln. He’s running for the District Court seat that became available after former Magisterial District Judge Michael Cabry III stepped down post his 2020 arrest on charges of theft and campaign violations. Hashem’s one of five candidates vying for the position.
A criminal complaint and arrest affidavit was filed by West Caln Sgt. Christopher Fries state that on April 2, the police received a report of stolen political signs, from an address on Martin’s Corner Road. Amanda Sanet, who reported the theft, claimed it was caught on video by her husband, Nathan Sanet.
Nathan Sanet is a Republican candidate for supervisor in West Caln, and the pilfered signs promoted his campaign. He had previously raised a complaint with the township Board of Supervisors about Hashem, alleging noise code violations.
According to Nathan Sanet’s statement to Fries, he had confronted Hashem about the signs, and was hit with one of them in response. Additionally, he managed to track one of the stolen signs by using an Apple Air Tag to an address near Spring Run Estates, in proximity to the Martin’s Corner property.
Fries’ inquiry of the property led him to a man who had allowed Hashem to take the sign upon mentioning it, but did not instruct him regarding its whereabouts. On the other hand, Hashem argued that he was given permission to dispose of the signs and had consequently thrown them in a trash bin. He forfeited two wireframes along with the signs to Fries during their conversation.
Sanet informed Fries that he had lost four signs, and each was valued at about $5, with the Air Tag costing $30.
Hashem has been charged with theft by unlawful taking, a misdemeanor, and receiving stolen property. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 18th before Magisterial District Judge John Hipple of North Coventry. Hashem was issued a summons for his arrest.
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