Man accused of threatening Gov. Wolf pleads to summary in York district court

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Western Pennsylvania man accused of threatening to "have a bullet waiting" for Gov. Tom Wolf has pleaded guilty to a summary offense and the case against him will be closed once he pays his fine and court costs.

Rocco Anthony Naples, 29, of Pleasant Unity, Westmoreland County, appeared before District Judge Joel Toluba via Zoom teleconference for his preliminary hearing about 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Naples pleaded guilty to the summary offense of harassment and, in exchange, his other charges were dropped.

He initially was charged with the third-degree felony of threats and other improper influence in official and political matters, plus the misdemeanors of making terroristic threats and harassment.

Asked by Toluba about the purportedly threatening phone call, Naples said he agreed his call was harassing in nature.

"I didn't threaten anybody," he told the judge. "But I made the phone call, yes."

Chief deputy prosecutor John Hamme said the York County District Attorney's Office was in agreement with the resolution.

Alcohol monitor: That's because Naples successfully completed drug and alcohol treatment as part of his bail conditions, and wore an ankle cuff that continuously monitors a person's alcohol intake, Hamme said.

Rocco Naples of Westmoreland County, right, arrives at the York County Judicial Center for a video arraignment on May 21, 2020. He had been charged with a felony and accused of threatening Gov. Tom Wolf. The charges were dropped after Naples pleaded guilty to summary harassment on Jan. 27, 2021. 
Bill Kalina photo

Naples wore the cuff until a judge allowed him to have it removed in December, according to defense attorney Heather Reiner.

The harassing phone call made by Naples — who has two unrelated drunken-driving cases — was fueled by his issues with alcohol or drugs, Hamme said in open court.

Reiner said Naples was on house arrest while awaiting his preliminary hearing.

He was taken off house arrest in mid-November, according to court records.

Reiner asked the judge not to impose the maximum fine, since paying for the alcohol-monitoring service has been costly for Naples, she said.

Toluba fined Naples $100 and told him that once court costs are added in, the amount owed will be about $300. The judge said Naples has 30 days to either pay the full amount or request a payment plan.

Reiner told The York Dispatch the criminal charges had "a significant impact" on Naples' life.

The background: Charging documents alleged Naples was upset because Wolf closed down businesses around the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic but kept his own business — all under the umbrella of Wolf Home Products — up and running.

Naples was incorrect about that, however, according to Wolf's press secretary, Lyndsay Kensinger.

The governor sold Wolf Home Products in 2015 and has nothing to do with the company, Kensinger has told The York Dispatch.

Court documents had alleged that Naples called the company's customer-service line on May 8 and threatened the governor.

'Bullet waiting': The customer-service representative he spoke with sent an email to her supervisor that read, "Customer called in stating he was angry about Governor Wolf closing their companies but keeping his open, he said that him and a couple of his buddies have a bullet waiting for (Wolf) if he keeps them closed," court documents state.

Authorities tracked down Naples using the phone he called from, as well as through the Westmoreland County Probation Office and from Naples' Facebook page, according to documents.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday has said that anyone who threatens such violence will be prosecuted.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.