Members Of Erie's Alleged S.U.K. Gang In Court - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Members Of Erie's Alleged S.U.K. Gang In Court

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It was a long day in court Wednesday, as preliminary hearings are held for members of the Stick Up Kidz and their friends.
And we may not know what will happen for a while.

District Judge Paul Urbaniak is trying to work through testimony for 14 suspects of the robbery and burglary ring, and four others charged with receiving stolen property and related crimes.
But with so many defendants facing so many charges, some of the hearings will be rescheduled.
The group is charged with stealing televisions, jewelry and guns over a two year period. Police say they would then sell the goods, or trade them for drugs.

Meantime, Erie's police chief is hopeful prosecutors will get convictions, as detectives spent hundreds of man hours, linking these suspects together.

The investigation that tied this alleged corrupt organization together, spanned nearly 3 years.
Erie Police Chief Steve Franklin held a news conference recently, showcasing the results of that lengthy and in-depth investigation.
Over the past 2 and a half years, detectives have been piecing together the case. Uncovering the organized crime and racketeering activity, dating back to at least 2009

"(We spent) Countless hours trying to accomplish exactly what the detectives did, and that was to show there was a pattern of criminal activity being committed by all the individuals that are charged as part of that investigation." Said Chief Franklin.

More than two dozen suspects are charged with corrupt organization and several other charges.

Chief Franklin says detectives didn't target any one neighborhood, or group of alleged criminals, but rather followed the evidence. Police detectives used surveillance, graffiti, tattoos, evidence recovered from a raid, and a lot more evidence gathered over the years to connect the suspects together.

"We followed the evidence, the evidence indicated to us that these individuals that are over in the courtroom today were in a conspiracy with each other to engage in that criminal activity that's defined in Section-911-B1 Corrupt Organization and all the other crimes they've been charged with." Said Chief Franklin.

And Wednesday, as a many of them entered the courtroom, Chief Franklin says he's hopeful the charges will stick.

"I'm sure we'll get successful prosecutions out of these cases. It's a very intense investigation, very tedious, it took a lot of work over an extended period of time. And again, that was all done while these detectives not only did this investigation but their normal investigations as well."

Many of the suspects charged in this case were on the police department's most violent offenders list.
And most remain behind bars as this case goes through the court system.

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