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Hearing for Mother Charged After Helping Her Son Evade Probation Officers for Months Set for Today

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

gavel-3577255_1280CLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon for a St. Petersburg woman who allegedly helped her son evade probation officers for months.

Court documents indicate 56-year-old Brenda Lee Smith, of St. Petersburg, is scheduled to stand for a preliminary hearing in front of Magisterial District Judge Jarah Lee Heeter at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30, on the following charge:

– Hinder Apprehension/Prosecution-Harbor Or Conceal, Misdemeanor 2

The charge stems from an incident that happened in late October.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, on October 29, Chief Detective William Peck was provided information from Clarion County Adult Probation that they had interacted with Bryce Dittman, who was wanted on an active arrest warrant, at his mother’s residence in St. Petersburg.

The complaint notes police were also advised that Dittman had absconded supervision and had warrants issued for his arrest on prior occasions.

According to the complaint, Dittman reported to the probation office on February 3 after being released from custody on February 2 and was given several office appointments during the month of February which he then failed to appear. He also reportedly failed to appear to the required outpatient drug and alcohol counseling.

Probation officers sent Dittman several text messages and left him voicemails reminding him to report for probation and also spoke to his mother, Brenda Lee Smith, prior to issuing a warrant for Dittman.

Probation officers went to Dittman’s approved residence in St. Petersburg on March 5 in an attempt to locate him and made contact with Brenda Smith. She was then informed about the active warrant for Dittman and advised she should not help him avoid probation or she would be at risk of being arrested, the complaint states.

Several more attempts to locate Dittman were made from March through July, and probation officers spoke with Smith at her residence multiple times during which she indicated Dittman would “sneak in the house in the middle of the night and be gone by the time she woke up in the morning.” After a few months, she also told officers she hadn’t seen Dittman in months, according to the complaint.

Around 2:50 p.m. on October 19, probation officers returned to Dittman’s residence and reportedly saw Dittman on a tractor mowing the grass at the residence. The probation officers approached and ordered him to stop, but Dittman reportedly accelerated the tractor and drove to the back yard toward the driveway.

According to the complaint, Dittman began yelling for Smith, stopped the tractor, got off, and started to walk toward the residence, still failing to comply with the probation officers’ orders to stop. One of the officers then drew his taser while continuing to order Dittman to stop. The officer then took Dittman’s arm and was able to handcuff him.

When Dittman was searched incident to his arrest, he was found to be in possession of Smith’s debit card. Smith, who had come out of the residence, was asked if she was aware Dittman was in possession of her card, and she reportedly admitted that she was aware as they had been to the store together, the complaint states.

The officers then confronted Smith about going to the store and making purchases with Dittman while knowing he was wanted on a warrant. Smith reportedly replied that she didn’t have a phone number to reach probation or police, and when the officer stated she could have called 9-1-1, she replied that she “isn’t going to be lectured,” and then got in her vehicle and left the scene, according to the complaint.

Dittman was then served with a probation rules violation and lodged in the Clarion County Jail.

Officers also later found a folded receipt inside Dittman’s wallet which contained a small amount of crystal methamphetamine, the complaint.

The charge was filed against Smith through Magisterial District Judge Jarah Lee Heeter’s office on Monday, November 15.

The following charges were filed against 23-year-old Bryce William Dittman, of St. Petersburg, through Magisterial District Judge Jarah Lee Heeter’s office on Monday, November 15:

– Flight To Avoid Apprehension/Trial/Punishment, Misdemeanor 2
– Possession of Controlled Substance, Misdemeanor

He is scheduled to stand for a preliminary hearing in front of Magisterial District Judge Jarah Lee Heeter at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30.

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