Aliquippa Police Chief Joseph Perciavalle has been arrested for the second time by Beaver County Detectives.

Detectives filed a felony charge of intercepting a communication against Perciavalle today, alleging he recorded a conversation he had with Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch.

Perciavalle was arraigned this morning by Hopewell Magisterial District Judge Janet Swihart and released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Chief County Detective Andy Gall, Perciavalle recorded a conversation with Chief Couch without his knowledge:

“On June 13, 2018 while examining the contents of (Joseph Perciavalle’s) phone, Det. Lt. Robert Heberle came across an audio file that had been recorded on March 2, 2018 that was 39.03 minutes long. The audio file was a recorded conversation between Perciavalle and Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch and contained topics involving the Aliquippa Police Department, the Aliquippa Police pension fund, (City Manager) Sam Gill, Retired Captain Doug Edgell, Aliquippa High School Football, and others. This recording was made the day that the Pennsylvania State Police served a search warrant on the municipal offices for City of Aliquippa. Det. Lt. Heberle is ‘wire certified’ and noticed that there was no preamble or conclusion to the voice interception as required. It was also quite obvious that the recording ended when Perciavalle and Couch parted company (…) Couch assured the detectives that he had never given Perciavalle permission to record any conversations between them (…) Couch stated that he and Perciavalle rode together on patrol and talked about the police department business and why PSP would be searching the City of Aliquippa offices.”

Defense Attorney Steve Townsend is representing Perciavalle, and told BeaverCountian.com that county detectives have it all wrong: “I can say that Joe Perciavalle is denying any wrongdoing and I can say that the allegations of how and when this conversation was recorded is not as it was described in the complaint.”

Townsend said the conversation was recorded by Perciavalle in a public setting where Chief Couch had no expectation of privacy.

“The complaint says that Couch and Perciavalle were in a patrol vehicle together, that is absolutely false,” said Townsend. “The conversation that took place occurred in a parking lot across from the city building, out in the open and in public (…) This is not a wiretap violation.”

Townsend told BeaverCountian.com that county detectives discovered the recorded conversation while searching Perciavalle’s smartphone which had been seized after they arrested him the first time on June 8.

Perciavalle was placed on paid leave from the department in June after county detectives charged him with distributing an obscene image of a woman urinating to the 17-year-old daughter of Aliquippa Police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins. Detectives found the image on the young woman’s phone while searching it as part of their investigation into the murder of Rachael DelTondo. Perciavalle insisted the image was a widely-distributed meme that had been accidentally sent to Watkins’ daughter as part of a group message.

Sgt. Watkins was placed on paid leave in May because his daughter was identified as a witness in the case. Perciavalle’s arrest came the day after he was named acting Police Chief and announced he would be asking the Pennsylvania State Police to take over the homicide investigation of Rachael DelTondo.

“The search warrant for his phone is still sealed,” said Townsend, who questioned how detectives came to listen to an audio recording when they should only have been searching for text messages he exchanged with Sgt. Watkins’ daughter. “I think what they did might have been outside the scope of that warrant.”

In an interview with BeaverCountian.com following his first arrest, Perciavalle said he believed he was being targeted and retaliated against by county detectives.

Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch was placed on paid administrative leave by city council on June 6. Councilman Matthew Mottes said he has first-hand information that Couch is the subject of a criminal investigation by Pennsylvania State Police.

“I think if you wanted to look from a 35,000 foot flyover you could find there was definitely a hostile work environment in that police department,” said Townsend.

See Also

Acting Aliquippa Police Chief Joe Perciavalle Arrested By Beaver County Detectives

EXCLUSIVE: Acting Aliquippa Chief Says Txt Msg Was An Accident – Calls His Arrest By DA’s Office Retaliation

Aliquippa Police Chief Placed On Administrative Leave – Target Of State Police Investigation

Aliquippa Councilman Accuses City Solicitor Of Misleading The News Media

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

59 COMMENTS

  1. Well, they got this guy nailed down. Are they making any headway on that murder case or are they still just compiling names of RDT ‘s old boyfriends, lovers, flings, etc.?

     
  2. Wow! Are you freaking kidding me? Unbelievable! Another “Decoy” ? This certainly would not be another distraction to take away the sting of the Plea agreement, would it? It surely seems that the BC detectives are grasping at straws. Not looking favorable at all guys. Another way to inflate overtime, again. SMH

     
  3. I’m curious as to why they’re doing this to this guy. I think they’re full of bs and are scrambling to cover something and/or to find a scapegoat for their underhanded and incompetent ways. None of what they’ve done to him appears to be on the up and up.

     
  4. Mr. Perciavalle should consider changing his legal counsel to Mr. Benyo. Townsend’s reply was pretty weak. And I believe Mr. Benyo might like to have another crack at it.

     
    • All Perciavalle needs to do : Come up with a letter about the DelTondo Murder. Tear the letter in two halves, giving one half to his attorney. Leak information of the letter to Lozier,…. BING-F’N-GO !
      All the heat will dissipate.

       
      • No, all he has to do is have his attorney argue to have the search warrant un-sealed to find out what the detectives were supposed to be looking for versus what they are finding. Townsend hasn’t done that, so get an attorney who will.

         
  5. It feels suspiciously as though this guy knows something they don’t want him to know. This is clearly bs. I wonder when we’ll find out anything more about the indictments that were handed down in Aliquippa.

     
  6. Yet Watkins and Couch are on paid leave! They are the real crooks there! This is ridiculous! How about these detectives that are putting in all this overtime, actually arrest someone that was involved with the murder of Rachael!? Not someone that texted someone and got arrested for it.. What couch and what Watkins did is far worse than just texting, yet they are fine! Done grieving yet Watkins??

     
    • My sentiments precisely. This is what they do to people who attempt to defy their crooked misdeeds. And as for paid time off to “grieve” – I have asked repeatedly – WHO GETS PAID TIME OFF TO GRIEVE A NONFAMILY MEMBER — it is lucky when one gets that for a close family member. What is the real reason he is being rewarded on poor Aliquippa’s money???

       
      • Couch lied about everything he’s ever said. Watkins was NOT put on leave to grieve, he tried to compromise the crime scene for one. Couch also lied about how the report of Rachael and the young boy got out. The reason he stated is so ridiculous and more so because he thought people would buy it. I wouldn’t believe anything from him or from Loser and his posse. They must all think we are as dumb as they are.

         
  7. didnt he mention on facebook months (maybe a year or so ago) about wait until you find out who actually killed jimmy naim?

     
  8. Not to excuse this guy’s actions, but to me it looks like the Aliquippa PD know the shit is about to hit the fan and want to shut him up. Please, Joe, tell us everything you know. And by “us” I mean the State Police. Say nothing to Stonewall when he gets back from his raping of taxpayer wallets in Bedford.

     
  9. Wouldn’t expect anything less from the detectives office. Albeit wiretapping is illegal and there’s two sides to how this done, it’s Couch that’s on the hot seat! And for him to record it, one can only assume he knew Couch was speaking of corrupt and shady activity. Perciavalle spoke of the corruption years ago and would be the whistleblower on the dirty deeds of past and present. From my point of view, the DA’s office is trying to squash the canary yet ignore Couch and companies misdeeds. Hope that they realize while they’re compiling charges, that a desperate man can do desperate things. I foresee him getting everything off his chest and telling anyone who will listen everything he knows. And don’t for one second think he has stuff on Lozier and some of his merry band of detectives! The old Captain didn’t do things alone there

     
  10. The Beaver County Detective Bureau is in trouble. More and more police departments are turning to the state police for investigations. Their boss the DA is in panic mode and is making irrational decisions that will compromise prosecutions. Their budget has led the county into financial instability. Financial experts are recommending the detective bureau be disbanded. Should they be? Has anyone ever seen a performance review on the detective bureau? They have trouble finding murderers. They sometimes have trouble finding murder victims. But for many years they have been very good at ruining the careers of good honest law enforcement officers that make them look bad. They are now desperately defending their turf which has been reduced to Aliquippa Hopewell and Monaca. Behind the scenes its Good Cops vs Bad Cops in Beaver County. Its become very ugly and it will get much worse before it gets better. In the meantime murders go unsolved and felons are being released from jail. I have never met Perciavalle but I ask everyone to keep this post in mind as the detective bureau tries to ruin his reputation and career.

     
    • △△△△△△△△△△△△△△△△△Mr Responder32 is right you know△△△△△△△△△△△△△△△△△

       
    • Bingo, you are spot on Responder. That DA’s office is a clown circus of malicious, petty corrupt and unscrupulous pricks. Hand puppets for mob rule. if they disband who the hell would know besides their hack political bosses and the opponents of vendettas they carry out. So unprofessional fresh dog shit trumps them.

       
  11. Amendment IV to the United States Constitution

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Seems pretty clear to me. No fishing trips allowed. Either unseal the warrant so we know what you were looking for, or drop the bogus charges and let this man get on with his life.

     
    • Depends on what judge unseals it. It may just be “Amended” to include the fishing expedition. Wink, wink.

       
  12. Funny how things on his phone is leaking out very slowly every time something happen’s at the DA’s office and hits the news, if it takes that long to go through someone phone, now we know we’re all the overtime is going! Hell just give it to any kid and they will have any info they need in 15 min.! Perciavalle must of pissed in somebody Wheaties to get that kind of royal treatment! The work environment at the Aliquippa police has to be one hostile place of employment to be at now! Feel very bad for all the good officers their!

     
  13. They racked up 400 (500 at this point?) hours of overtime to uncover some issues that could’ve been resolved by the HR lady.

     
  14. And let’s just say, forgetting law or morals. What’s more important? What Couch was recorded as saying that Perciavalle kept in his pocket for so long or a wire tap law. With everything going on in Aliquippa, I’m saying the recording

     
  15. Also if he’s recording Conversations I guarantee he is trying to cover his ass on what the hell is going on in Aliquippa! It sounds like he knows what has happen to officer Naim and I think this whole thing is going to explode on the National news very soon! When you back the right people up in a corner, all hell is going to break lose and dirty laundry will soon be out for everyone to see!!!!

     
  16. It’s time for Lozier to bring in the pros….the PSP. I’m so sorry I voted for this wasted hunk of protoplasm.

     
  17. Dwan Walker is the Mayor and the police department is his responsibility. Well Dwan?

    I’d like to know what’s on the audio.. it must be something worth taking the chance and recording.

    I’d also like to know if Lozier took his afghan to the Omni Resort. Don’t wanna catch a cold now..

     
  18. Aliquippa PD:

    Committ a misdemeanor and they tell you to “work off this charge” by doing undercover work.

    Then somebody from the department goes to the streets telling the real criminals “it’s hot on you right now”

    Investigate things like that rather than worrying about who is on vacation if you want real change.

     
  19. This is unbelievable. We are seeing the 21st century version of “The Real Keystone Cops [of Beaver County]”…………………..You couldn’t make this shit up if you tried.

     
  20. No respect for Aliquippa police, And Beaver county Detectives. all snakes now trying to keep there heads above water. Get rid of the whole Aliquippa police and Sheriffs Dept. And county detectives. Hand it all over to the State Police.

     
  21. The more I read about those lying, scamming commissioners and Losier and his under-handed dealings, the more insulted I become. These people truly think we are stupid! Did Losier really think we’d believe this cop was arrested for good reason? Seriously, I’m becoming so insulted that I’m more than ticked off!

     
  22. This information appeared in the Trib. That is commendable. Will the County Times dare to report on it? The local radio?
    Beaver County voters who read the Beaver Countian are, according to comments on this site, rethinking their votes and looking for new names on the ballots. They want change.
    Those who look to the County Times for news are clueless and are likely to vote for the status quo. More importantly, only a shamefully small percentage of county citizens bother to vote at all.
    Granted, we don’t elect police officers, but we do elect those who are in charge of, and responsible for, the actions of the police.
    John Paul has succeeded in generating citizens’ interest and dialogue on these important issues. It is up to readers to support his efforts and spread the word about the Beaver Countian.

     
  23. See how loyal your friends are officer Perciavalle. Better seriously start thinking about looking out for your selfe.

     
  24. So since neither an iPhone nor an Android phone can record a phone call in their normal configuration, I’m assuming that the brain trust referred to as the county detectives have a court order for Apple of Google to turn over all phone calls made and received as well as all activity in the app store.

    They need to prove that this is an actual telephone call that was recorded so there should be a call in the phone records of the exact duration as the audio file. In addition there should have been an app installed that allowed him to record the call. Finally the location data of any call that was the duration of the audio file needs to prove that he was in Pennsylvania at the time the call took place. Perhaps he was in Ohio where gas and cigarettes are cheaper; and if he was then the detectives should know that Ohio is a one party consent state and telling Couch that he was being recorded isn’t required.

    So it looks to me that they have quite a few things to prove…did they have all of this before getting the arrest warrant signed? If not, perhaps Mr. Towsend ought to consider a motion to dismiss at the preliminary hearing as well as for sanctions against the DA.

     
    • @Accordingtome

      Correct Mungo if he’s wrong but it seems that their conversation is what was recorded, that being face to face. Allegedly they were riding in a patrol car together when the recording was made, and Perciavilles lawyer is stating that it in fact was recorded in front of God and everyone in the parking lot of the city building, hence the unreasonable expectation of privacy that would be required for this to meet the criteria of a crime. Just as Mungo is no mathematician he certainly is no lawyer and could in fact hisself be wrong…..just sayin!

       
      • @WTF…that is how I understood it. I did not think that he was recording phone calls, but rather had the recorder on his phone running for the amount of time they listed above. I have used my recorder function to save things over the years…comes in handy for things like lectures, concerts, and building a case against your boss. 🙂

         

        Attachments:
    • I agree.. all he has to prove is that he was either somewhere else at the time Couch says the incident took place or show phone records of the same.

       
  25. It’s not a coincidence that any time an officer in the Aliquippa PD uncovers corruption, they either get killed, arrested, fired, or their names smeared to discredit them.

    This guy needs double the support as the harassment he is going to face from those who don’t want to be exposed.

     
  26. Perciavalle is not credible… I believe this … you can’t make this up. As far as Benyo, he should just keep trying to keep his ex out of trouble. Ask anyone from the Bar Assoc. he’s not credible either.

     
    • Funny you should say this, Tommy because I HAVE asked around quite a bit and the consensus is that you are quite wrong sir. Quite the opposite is true as a matter of fact.

       
    • Well Benyo has pretty much made Lozier his bitch every step of the way, so what does that say about Lozier?

       
    • A regrettable ad hominem, Tommy. Not true, not nice, not relevant. The guy doesn’t need it, doesn’t deserve it, and has too much class to defend himself against it.

       
  27. What ever happened to the investigation into Ambridge police chief James Mann.and why was he being investigated.

     
  28. I wonder if this is most of the 400 hours the county detectives have for overtime pay, I think we need to get rid of the county detectives. Think about it, it is probably close to $1.5 million saved on wages and benefits. Sounds like they are just wasting time with this investigation

     
  29. So how much longer do we wait before we decend upon the courthouse with torches? “They” are laughing at us. “They” don’t care what we think. I’m not saying burn it down, I’m saying that every taxpayer should show up at the same time and demand change…NOW. I’m tired of waiting patiently until “someone” saves us.

     
  30. It’s good to see that the Times and Post-Gazette have this news today, plus the latest on the letter to the inmate.

     
  31. Very profound statements from Lozier in The Gazette. something to the effect that if the letter is authentic then it’s good evidence if it is not authentic it’s not good evidence. Really Lozier?

     
  32. Well……that gang of thugs needed someone to take the heat from them…….so why not this guy? They should have just tattooed the name “scapegoat” on his forehead!

     
    • The whole thing makes me sick..I hope Couch, Lozier, Watkins all get what they deserve. I pray Rachael gets justice, and Percivalle does as well! God sees all … he will let those know the pain and tears that they have bestowed on others..

       
  33. Throw the whole damn department away….and start the hell over!

    How can you hire cops who can’t correctly write a report or lie about the reasons for a traffic stop? How can ANYONE continue to say” The FEW GOOD COPS” when they are all trying to hide the dirt on their boots?
    Corrupt ass mayor who is either friends or family with the criminals. To the point he has the Godmother of Cocaine better known as the bearded 🧔 lady of Aliclippa backing his every move. While corrupting others as if she hasn’t corrupted her own enough! Both of her sons were involved with the murdered lady. As well as being involved in other murders in that city! Some birds aren’t meant to sing, and Tweety Bird should STFU, ahh REALLY!

    And while everyone is checking on the sorry ass Aliclippa police 👮‍♀️, that degenerate of a mayor(my 6yr old could’ve done a better job), the money 💴 in their municipal building…….find the crooks in that 😢 sad ass court house!🤢

    🤥Pretend to have info into a murder and your escorted from jail as if your royalty! Get caught with drugs and your a second offender, slap on the wrist and probation. Yet some first time offenders get sentenced to do a year or more, convicted even after cops 👮‍♀️ did a “botched arrest”!

     

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