Man attempted to destroy phone evidence in drug case, police say

A State College man faces charges that he attempted to destroy a piece of evidence in an ongoing police investigation.

According to the criminal complaint filed by State College police, officers obtained a search warrant for a cellphone belonging to James M. McKenna, 33, pursuant to a drug investigation. The officer made arrangements and met with McKenna at about 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Snappy’s on University Drive.

When informed about the search warrant, McKenna turned his iPhone 4S over to the officer, police said, and was told the phone would be returned Tuesday.

As the officer handed McKenna a copy of the warrant, police said McKenna “forcibly ripped the cellphone” out of the officer’s hand and began to damage it. He reportedly “twisted it with his hands,” tried to break it in half and bend it and “smashed it on the asphalt ground.”

The phone was severely damaged, police said, as McKenna “clearly attempted to destroy the phone evidence” and impede the investigation. The phone was seized as evidence and McKenna was taken into custody.

He was arraigned Friday before District Judge Carmine Prestia, according to court documents, and charged with one felony count of robbery and misdemeanor charges of theft by unlawful taking, tampering with evidence, obstruction of law and disorderly conduct. Bail was set at 10 percent of $10,000.

A preliminary hearing is slated for Wednesday.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews