19-year-old facing charges in connection to car thefts at New Kensington Sheetz

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — A 19-year-old man is facing charges in connection to at least two out of seven recent car thefts at Sheetz in New Kensington.

Previous coverage >>> Multiple cars stolen at New Kensington Sheetz in past month

There have been seven vehicles stolen from the same Sheetz since November 2021.

“That’s shocking, I come here all the time. Never problems, and never incidents,” said Jon Zold, a frequent customer of the store.

Police said the thefts happened after customers left their cars running and unlocked while they ran into the store on Freeport Street.

“A lot of people do that, they just run in quickly and they don’t think anything of it,” said Shelly Grenfelder, a customer at Sheetz.

A criminal complaint shows the latest theft happened just last week. The stolen SUV was eventually found nearby, abandoned and still running.

An officer also reported seeing two men near the car but they ran from police.

Police said they found a 9 mm Glock magazine containing live ammunition.

With the help of Sheetz store surveillance, and the victim giving police an accurate suspect description, police found and arrested 19-year-old Markhi Hunter of Wilkinsburg.

Hunter later admitted to police that he was a passenger in the car during the theft.

One Sheetz customer told 11 News that crime around the gas station is escalating, and said her friend’s car was stolen from the parking lot a year ago, with her child still in the back seat.

“The child got out of the car down the road, and then they found the car somewhere, but it is wild,” said Shelly Grenfelder. “It’s just getting crazier around here.”

Hunter is also connected to a second theft from the same parking lot back in November. That car was recovered in McKees Rocks.

Now, customers say they plan to be more careful and vigilant when making a pit stop at that Sheetz.

“I guess take my keys out of the car, and lock it too,” said Grenfelder.

“Keep it locked, and be aware of your surroundings, too,” said Zold.

Police are still working to identify who the driver was in the latest theft.

Hunter has been charged with theft and receiving stolen property, and is scheduled to be arraigned in April.

Stay with Channel 11 as we continue to follow this story.