A Montoursville state trooper stole money for fictitious drug buys, obstructed an investigation into his female friend's alleged criminal activity and used a police cruiser to pay her a social visit at the Lycoming County Prison, PSP Internal Affairs Division reported.
In two separate cases, Johnathan B. Buynak, 38, of Hughesville, was arraigned Wednesday on three first degree misdemeanor counts of theft by deception, one second degree misdemeanor count of impersonating a public servant, one second degree misdemeanor count of obstruction, and two second degree misdemeanor counts of official oppression.
Buynak's alleged criminal activity spanned the period of July 26 to Aug. 24, 2019, PSP Central Internal Affairs Division Corporal John D. Powis wrote in charges filed Jan. 22, 2020.
On July 26, 2019, Buynak responded to a report of a theft and forgery at a home on Rabbitown Road in Wolf Township.
The family accused their child's caretaker, Amanda L. Fenderson, 32, of Montoursville, of stealing personal items, forging a check and using the family's debit card to withdraw $60 without permission, according to the affidavit.
Buynak already knew Fenderson personally: the pair had met in early 2019 at Brandon Cafe in Williamsport while Buynak was off-duty, Corporal Powis wrote.
Buynak did not tell the family about the conflict of interest but took on the case as the lead investigator, the affidavit said.
Buynak listed Fenderson as "Suspect #1" but included no narrative information, documentation of investigative actions, or interviews in his police report, Corporal Powis wrote.
Over the next several days, Buynak and Fenderson exchanged phone calls, including one at 11:29 a.m. on July 29, 2019, which lasted six minutes and 34 seconds, according to the affidavit.
Around 1:30 p.m. on July 29, 2019, Buynak reportedly showed up unannounced at the Wolf Township residence and gave the family $60. He said he obtained the cash from Fenderson and it was being returned as part of the criminal investigation, according to the affidavit.
Fenderson was taken into custody on Aug. 8, 2019, for an unrelated incident: she was charged with second degree felony burglary for a July 27, 2019, incident, court records stated.
On Aug. 9, 2019, the Wolf Township family left a message on Buynak's state police voicemail that a prescription pill bottle belonging to them was found in Fenderson's possession when Montoursville Borough Police arrested her. Buynak never returned the call, the affidavit stated.
While Fenderson was still in Lycoming County Prison on Aug. 10, 2019, Buynak sent her message vouchers and exchanged personal, social messages with her through the prison text message system, the affidavit stated.
On Aug. 11, 2019, Buynak sent Fenderson commissary money, discussed her bail and offered to let her stay with him upon her release, Corporal Powis wrote.
That same day, the Wolf Township family left a message on Buynak's state police voicemail account stating that Fenderson also had stolen a handgun from them, according to the affidavit. Buynak reportedly never returned their call.
At 2:49 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2019, the Wolf Township family called and left Buynak another voicemail about Fenderson, which Buynak never returned, according to the affidavit.
Around 4:46 p.m. that day, Buynak used his police cruiser to travel to the Lycoming County Prison, where Fenderson remained incarcerated, to pay her a social visit, the affidavit stated.
He reportedly entered through the sally port in full uniform and spent 41 minutes alone with her in an interview room. Buynak did not take any notes during the interaction, Corporal Powis wrote.
Around 6:45 p.m. that evening, Fenderson sent Buynak a message through the prison text message system stating in part, "Was good to see you," the affidavit stated.
On Aug. 14, 2019, Buynak paid $772.50 to a bail bondsman for Fenderson's release, according to the affidavit. Buynak's home address was listed as the place where Fenderson would be residing upon her release.
Around 7:10 p.m. that day, Fenderson's mother arrived at PSP Montoursville barracks looking for her daughter, prompting an attempt by state police to locate Fenderson, the affidavit stated.
Around 9:15 p.m. that evening, members of the Pennsylvania State Police Montoursville barracks reportedly located Fenderson at Buynak's house. According to the affidavit, he told them he had bailed her out of jail and that he was the lead investigator of an active criminal investigation with Fenderson as the suspect.
The case was re-assigned to another investigator around 10 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2019. At 3:12 p.m. that day, Buynak was issued a "no contact order," which required him to refrain from contacting Fenderson. Buynak acknowledged the order, according to the affidavit.
Despite the no contact order, Buynak continued his contact with Fenderson both in-person and via cellular telephone, Corporal Powis wrote.
Between Aug. 21 and 24, Buynak and Fenderson were observed together several times each day, often traveling in his personal vehicle, the affidavit stated.
On Aug. 21, 2019, Fenderson reportedly introduced Buynak to her friend Thomas E. Dykstra, at Dykstra's residence on the 800 Block of Diamond Street, Williamsport.
On Aug. 22, 2019, Fenderson told Dykstra she was working with Buynak on an undercover state police drug investigation and needed $400 to make drug "buys," the affidavit stated.
"Fenderson informed Dykstra that requests for funds were delayed [and that] time was critical to the investigation...Dykstra was led to believe he would be reimbursed when those funds became available," the affidavit stated.
Dykstra withdrew the cash from the BB&T Bank ATM in Williamsport and handed the money to Buynak as they stood outside of their vehicles in the parking lot, according to the affidavit.
"It was reported that Buynak gave the money to Fenderson, sometime after they left the bank parking lot," Corporal Powis wrote.
The next day, Aug. 23, 2019, Fenderson reportedly was at Dykstra's residence when Buynak arrived in his personal vehicle.
"Buynak and Fenderson again requested Dykstra provide additional money to conduct more 'buys.' Dykstra was informed an additional $300 was needed for the investigation," Corporal Powis wrote.
The investigation was entirely fictitious, the affidavit stated.
Dykstra reportedly walked to the ATM at the Newberry branch of M&T Bank, withdrew the money from his personal checking account, and handed it to Buynak back at the residence. Shortly after leaving Dykstra's residence, Buynak reportedly gave all $300 to Fenderson.
Around 8:50 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2019, Dykstra received a text message from a cellular number he believed to be Buynak's, but which often was used by Fenderson, the affidavit stated.
"The text message requested more money and, in part stated, 'my boss wants one more solid buy,'" Corporal Powis wrote.
Around 9 p.m. that same day, Buynak, Fenderson, and her juvenile son arrived at Dykstra's residence in Buynak's personal vehicle, the affidavit stated. In Buynak's presence, Fenderson requested an additional $200 from Dykstra for another "buy" for the fictitious police investigation, the affidavit stated.
Dykstra obliged: he walked to the M&T Bank ATM in Newberry, withdrew $200 from his personal checking account, and handed it directly to Fenderson back at his residence, according to the affidavit.
"On this occasion, Dykstra informed them he would not provide any additional money to either of them and questioned the validity of the undercover police investigation," Corporal Powis wrote.
On Aug. 26, 2019, Fenderson was again incarcerated at the Lycoming County Prison on yet another unrelated charge: third degree felony theft by unlawful taking, for a July 10, 2019, incident.
On Aug. 27, 2019, Buynak sent additional message vouchers to Fenderson to allow them to communicate through the prison text message system, the affidavit stated.
On Aug. 28, 2019, Fenderson sent a text message to Buynak through the prison text message system apologizing and mentioning bail options, according to the affidavit.
On Aug. 29, 2019, Buynak paid a bail bondsman the remaining $450 balance from Fenderson's release on Aug. 14, 2019.
The affidavits name Fenderson as a co-conspirator in these crimes but as of today, no charges have been filed against her, according to the United Judicial System portal.
Fenderson has a yet another case pending in Lycoming County for third degree felony forgery and theft by deception charges, for an Aug. 1, 2019, incident.
Trooper Buynak has been suspended without pay, according to PennLive. His bail was set at $5,000 unsecured by District Magistrate Christian D. Frey on Jan. 22, 2020.
Buynak docket sheet - (Official oppression)
Buynak docket sheet - (Theft by deception)