Police News

A third person has been charged by Pennsylvania State Police with assisting an Erie County man accused of murdering two people and stealing numerous vehicles during a two-day crime spree in June. 

Benjamin P. Luczywek, 35, of Bear Lake, is the latest person to face criminal charges for helping 25-year-old Cody Potthoff, who fatally shot two people and was the subject of a nearly 24-hour manhunt in Erie and Warren counties. 

During an interview with a state trooper on June 18, Luczywek stated Potthoff arrived at his residence on Deadman Run Road at about 6 p.m. on June 17 and told him he was on the run from police, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed with the police criminal complaint. 

Potthoff asked Luczywek for a change of clothes and a place to hide a stolen 2012 Jeep Liberty he was driving, the affidavit states. Luczywek provided Potthoff with a change of clothes and then Potthoff burned the clothing he was wearing in a fire pit at Luczywek's residence. 

Investigators wrote in the affidavit that Luczywek showed Potthoff a place where he could hide the stolen vehicle near an abandoned logging trail off Miles Run Road in Pittsfield Township. After Potthoff ditched the Jeep on the trail, Luczywek drove him to a shelter on Route 6 and dropped him off. Potthoff was later taken into custody at a Warren County homeless shelter on June 19. 

Luczywek was arraigned before District Judge Scott Hammer on Friday and released on his own recognizance. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 13. 

Police charged Luczywek with two third-degree felony counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution for providing aid to Potthoff and assisting with the concealment and destruction of evidence. 

He also faces a second-degree misdemeanor count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. 

Potthoff remains in Erie County Prison without bond and is scheduled to appear before Hammer for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday morning in four criminal cases, which include the homicides of Ian Michael Welden, 41, of Corry, and John Charles Burick, 66, of Harborcreek Township. 

Jessica A. Nye, 41, whose address is listed as homeless, is accused of helping Potthoff conceal Welden's body after he was fatally shot at Potthoff's parents' home on Route 89 in North East on June 16. 

Potthoff's first identified accomplice, Cameron J. Zimmerman, 24, of Union City, told police that Nye assisted him and Potthoff with moving and concealing Welden's body in the trunk of a silver Nissan, police wrote in an affidavit of probable cause filed with Nye's criminal complaint. 

Zimmerman stated Nye continued to be a passenger in the Nissan for an extended period of time while the victim's body was in the trunk. Officers located Welden's body in the trunk on June 17. 

Nye was arraigned at Hammer's office on July 7 and committed to Erie County Prison after she unable to post $75,000 bail. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday before Hammer. 

She faces a third-degree felony count of hindering apprehension or prosecution for the concealment and destruction of evidence. Nye was also charged with second-degree misdemeanor counts of abuse of corpse and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. 

Zimmerman was in the passenger seat of the Nissan Potthoff was driving at the time of an attempted traffic stop in Edinboro on June 17 when Potthoff fled from police, prompting the manhunt to ensue. 

Potthoff stole at least five vehicles while he was on the run from police, including a red pickup truck belonging to Burick, who was kidnapped from his residence at gunpoint by Potthoff. 

Police allege Potthoff fatally shot Burick and his body was discovered on state game land on Calkins Road in Greenfield Township. 

Potthoff will also appear in Erie County Central Court this week for his preliminary hearing on charges from a shooting in the 900 block of Chestnut Street in Erie on June 11 where Potthoff allegedly shot and wounded a man. 

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