Farm stand-style honor system used for Pennsylvania heroin deals: police

By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – A Pennsylvania teacher is due in court next week on charges he dealt heroin at a suburban home rented from a local police chief and used a farm stand-style honor system for buyers to pick up and pay for drugs left on the front porch.

Charles Schaldenbrand, 44, a high school special education teacher, faces four felony drug charges for sales to an undercover informant working for the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics, according to the criminal complaint.

Using an honor system typically employed by farmers to sell produce, Schaldenbrand set out a coffee can on the porch of the home in McKees Rocks, a Pittsburgh suburb, the criminal complaint said. The buyer had been instructed to take the glassine envelopes of heroin stuffed inside the can and leave $200 behind, the complaint said.

On another occasion, the buyer was instructed to take the drugs from a garbage can and leave $150 under the floor mat of Schaldenbrand’s car in the driveway.

Both alleged transactions took place in December at the home that Schaldenbrand had rented for 15 months from Dale Vietmeier, police chief of neighboring Robinson Township.

“It was totally a shock,” Vietmeier told Reuters on Friday. “He paid his rent early or on time.”

Schaldenbrand is expected to appear at a preliminary hearing on the charges set for Tuesday.

Montour School District suspended Schaldenbrand with pay a day before his arrest on Thursday after hearing that he was under investigation for narcotics sales, according to district solicitor Ira Weiss. Schaldenbrand taught special education classes at Montour High School for about 10 years, Weiss said.

There was no evidence that Schaldenbrand sold any heroin on school grounds, Weiss said.

(Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Beech)