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February 5, 2015

Grad charged in break-in of UPG professor’s home

A Pitt-Greensburg graduate is charged with stalking and burglarizing the Pittsburgh home of Pitt-Greensburg biology faculty member Kerry Holzworth.

Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Sonia Toler told the University Times that Mustafa Al-Gasas, 23, of Stanton Heights, was arrested in connection with a Jan. 16 burglary in the city’s Brookline neighborhood.

Toler said a black backpack left at Holzworth’s Milan Avenue home contained information that led investigators to Al-Gasas, who was arrested Jan. 23 after turning himself in.

Al-Gasas is charged with burglary, stalking and two counts of theft by unlawful taking. He is free on bond awaiting a preliminary hearing set for March 10 before Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey A. Manning.

UPG spokeswoman Susan Isola said Al-Gasas graduated in 2014 and no longer is a student on campus.

Isola said evidence at the scene identified other potential targets, who were notified. She could not confirm news reports that other UPG faculty were among those targeted. She said campus police, who patrol around the clock, are on high alert although there has been no direct threat to the UPG campus.

A Feb. 4 message from UPG President Sharon P. Smith to the campus community stated, in part: “Pitt-Greensburg Campus Police are closely monitoring the ongoing investigation by the City of Pittsburgh Police and will be taking every precaution to ensure the safety of all faculty, staff and students.”

Holzworth did not respond to University Times requests prior to press time on Wednesday.

—Kimberly K. Barlow