Off-duty Pennsylvania police officer accused of slashing tires after being denied liquor

Off-duty Pennsylvania police officer accused of slashing tires after being denied liquor
An off-duty police officer in Pittston, Pennsylvania, is accused of slashing tires after he was refused more service at a local bar. (Olaf Wagner/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

PITTSTON, Pa. — An off-duty Pennsylvania police officer is accused of slashing tires on several vehicles after he was denied more liquor at a local bar last month, authorities said.

Pittston Officer Dion Fernandes was charged with felony criminal mischief for allegedly causing $5,543.21 in damages to five cars from alleged tire-slashing on Aug. 29, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported.

Fernandes, 44, of Avoca, was charged after Pennsylvania State Police identified him in security camera footage, WBRE reported. Fernandes was placed on paid leave after the incident, the television station reported.

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According to an arrest affidavit, Fernandes called a friend who is a Pittston police officer to bring him a knife to the downtown area, WRBE reported. That friend was on duty at the time and said he did not know why Fernandes asked for the knife, the television station reported.

The police officer on duty returned to the scene later while responding to reports of vandalism to vehicles in the area, according to WRBE. The officer said Fernandes appeared to be angry because a bartender had refused him further service, according to WBRE.

Pittston Mayor Michael Lombardo told WNEP that because of a conflict of interest, the city’s police chief handed the investigation off to the Luzerne County district attorney’s office, who handed it off to the state police.

“We had our confidence in the state police to do an investigation. It was appropriate for them to do the investigation, obviously, not for us to do it internally," Lombardo said. “So, you know, I’m sure that they did what they had to do, but it’s not surprising to me, given the fact that there were multiple vehicles involved. But you know, it’s a very serious charge.”

Fernandes has not been arraigned for the felony charge and has a warrant out for his arrest, WNEP reported.