More Trouble for Devon Fitness Owner John McCaffrey
On Tuesday, John McCaffrey, the 47-year-old co-owner of the Main Line’s Devon Fitness, showed up for court. No, not in Chester County Court, where he’s expected to go to trial soon facing charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment stemming from a September shooting at his home. No, this week, McCaffrey was in Magisterial District Court in Luzerne County.
Back on November 18th, a judge in the Chester County assault case lowered McCaffrey’s bail from $750,000 to $25,000. Less than two weeks later, McCaffrey apparently showed up at Capone’s Bar & Grill in White Haven Township, Luzerne County for a couple of drinks.
According to a police report, McCaffrey allegedly began harassing 21-year-old bartender Valerie Capone, whose parents own the bar. Capone told police that McCaffrey demanded that she show him her driver’s license to prove her age. According to the report, when Capone refused, the gym owner announced that he was a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board agent. She complied, and McCaffrey examined her ID. “I was so scared,” says Capone. “I was shaking.” Moments later, McCaffrey said it was all a joke. Nevertheless, police were called, and White Haven Police Chief Gary “Shippy” Shupp responded to the scene.
Shupp’s report states that McCaffrey originally denied the accusation but then changed his story and told Shupp he was only joking. Shupp charged McCaffrey with public drunkenness and impersonating a public servant. “I decided to charge him because I earned my badge,” says Shupp. “This guy can’t go around town telling people he’s an LCB cop.”
At Tuesday’s preliminary hearing, Shupp and McCaffrey agreed to a plea deal. “He looked a lot different, clean shaven, wearing a nice suit,” says Shupp. “And I told Valerie that it might be best to drop the original charges and let him plead guilty to summary offenses.”
“I didn’t really want to have to show up for court and testify anyway,” said Capone, who attends college in New Jersey during the week. “So I thought it was fine. I never even saw a judge or anything.”
With the original charges withdrawn, Shupp issued McCaffrey citations for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. McCaffrey paid a $600 fine plus court costs, according to court records.
But Shupp and Capone say they were not aware of the September arrest or the related charges. Shupp maintains he ran a check on McCaffrey at the time of the November incident but didn’t see anything about the September arrest. “I had no idea and neither did the court,” says Shupp. “And if I had, believe me, I would have dealt with this differently.”
Capone is infuriated. “This guy is out on bail for a shooting in the same state and comes up here and acts like this at my parents’ bar?” says Capone. “That just isn’t right.”
I called Chester County Assistant District Attorney Marilyn Seide, one of the prosecutors assigned to McCaffrey’s assault case, to find out if the Luzerne County matter affects his bail status. Presumably, if officials in Luzerne County didn’t know about McCaffrey’s arrest in Chester County, it stands to reason that Chester County officials don’t know about his bad behavior in White Haven. Seide’s office directed me to the Chester County Bail Agency, where Chief Probation Officer Christopher Murphy told me, “Unfortunately, I’m not able to say anything about this defendant.” And he directed me back to the District Attorney’s office.
McCaffrey’s attorneys in both matters have not returned my calls seeking comment.