Brother-in-law of serial burglar: ‘He’s probably about the lowest form of life on earth’

MILLVALE, Pa. — We first told you about a string of burglaries in Millvale and Reserve Township. One was caught on camera, leading police right to their suspect.

But neighbors told us this burglar isn’t just a criminal. He’s also a con man.

>>>RELATED STORY: Man wanted for series of Millvale robberies now suspected in Reserve Township incidents

“He’s probably about the lowest form of life on earth,” Robert Gates said.

That’s coming from Elwood Bartrug’s own family. Bartrug was arrested Thursday for a slew of break-ins and burglaries in Reserve Township and Millvale.

Including this one that was caught on camera, leading police right to their suspect.

Robert Gates, Bartrug’s brother-in-law, said that he knows because he was a victim too.

“He stole from me and my wife. My wife is his sister,” Gates said.

Valuable collections of coins for his children and grandchildren — gone.

But that’s not all neighbors accuse him of. This is the Better Business Bureau page for his contracting business, which isn’t accredited. We went to the address listed, and it brought us to his brother-in-law’s house.

Gates said he had no idea but said people have stopped by demanding money for contracted work never done. In one case, a person asked for $26,000.

“At one point, Elwood had his own business, yes. He was a very good roofer. He did good work. But he’s a thief, and he will rob you in a minute,” said Gates.

Another person said they paid Bartrug nearly $4,000 in cash for a roof but never heard from him again.

We’re asking police if they have investigations into these allegations other than past convictions for bad checks and burglaries.

And while Bartrug is behind bars, Gates has a piece of advice for you if you’ve let him into your home.

“I would change your locks and be very aware of him. When contractors like Elwood are on your roof, they will go through your window and go through your home and find out what you have there,” Gates said.

Bartrug did not have a lawyer listed to get a comment from. He’s in jail and unable to post bail.