On the 23rd of March 2021, at 1046 hours, Chief Joshua Laidacker of the Catawissa Borough Police Department received a call from Caitlin Brandt in reference to a theft. Upon speaking with the victim, she informed the department that a woman by the name of Cindy Swanger had pretended to be the owner of a half-double house in Catawissa. She said that Swanger turned out to have no ownership to the property and had stolen $1,000.00 from her in the process.
The victim received a Facebook message from Cindy Swagner who stated that she had a three bedroom 1/2 double for rent in Catawissa. Cindy provided details on the property; described the house and back yard, and gave details about the rent cost and what utilities were included. Over the course of the next several days, the two messaged back and forth about the property. Swanger sent several photos of the interior of the property. The two agreed to meet at a time when Cindy would show the house to the victim and her husband.
The two met at the property on South Third Street in Catawissa. Swanger walked the victim and her husband through the property, pretending to be the owner of the property. Swanger and the victim agreed upon $500.00 cash to be paid as the first payment towards the security deposit and first months rent. The victim even asked for permission to do some painting before they moved in, and sent color samples to Swanger, who approved them. The victim also offered to have her husband do some minor repairs around the property, and the two again discussed what furniture was for sale inside the home.
A few days later, the family began moving in. Brandt spoke with the neighbor who lived on the other side of the house, in which she stated that the landlord, "Cindy," had been working with them. It was at this time that the victim learned that Cindy Swanger was not the property owner, but a tenant of the property on South Third Street. The victim was informed that Swanger was behind on rent, and had not been around much.
Chief Laidacker, head of the investigation, met with the actual property owner and explained that he did not give Cindy Swagner permission to rent out the apartment, and the victim and her family needed to vacate the premises immediately. Cindy Swanger owed the property owner over $2,600 in past due rent and utilities.
Cindy Swanger has been charged with: 1 count of Forgery (Felony 3), 1 count Criminal Use of a Communication Facility (Felony 3), 1 count Theft by Deception (M1), and 1 count of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Funds (M1).
**Update** Cindy Swagner has been arraigned and is currently out on bail (not incarcerated at Columbia County Prison) and is awaiting her preliminary hearing.
Note: All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law