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Three charged in armed robberies waive hearings

August 25, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - An adult and two teenagers charged in a series of July armed robberies in Franklin and Cumberland counties waived their preliminary hearings Tuesday in Franklin County Central Court.

David Joseph Bitner, 22, and Oscar Wayne Cover, 15, both of 4897 Guitner Road, Chambersburg, are each charged by Pennsylvania State Police and Shippensburg (Pa.) Police with eight counts of robbery, four counts each of criminal conspiracy and theft and one count of simple assault. Timothy Joshua Thomas, 17, of 1161 Means Hollow Road, Shippensburg, is charged with six counts of robbery and three counts each of criminal conspiracy and theft, according to court records.

Thomas and Cover were both charged as adults in the robberies, police said.

The three were charged in connection with four armed robberies.

The first was at 3 a.m. on July 24 at the Sunoco station at 3448 Black Gap Road, Chambersburg, and netted $152. At 5:25 a.m. the same day, Rutter's store at 5459 Molly Pitcher Highway in Marion, Pa., was held up and $1,942 taken, police said.

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On July 26 at 10:41 p.m., police said the Texaco Food Mart at 304 N. Earl St., Shippensburg, was robbed and $1,767 was taken. The Sunoco at 92 W. King St., Shippensburg, was robbed of $114 at 5:37 a.m. on July 29, police said.

In each case, one or two people entered the store and demanded money at gunpoint. The weapon was described as a black .22-caliber handgun, according to the police affidavits of probable cause.

Bitner is accused in the affidavits of driving the getaway car and Thomas of usually acting as a lookout while Cover robbed the stores.

Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams alleged Bitner and Cover took part in all four robberies, while Thomas did not take part in the Sunoco holdup in Shippensburg. Each was charged with violating two sections of the robbery statute for each incident in which they are alleged to have participated, Williams said.

At the time of their arrests, state police said the charges would all be filed in Franklin County so that the cases could be tried in one jurisdiction.

Bitner, Cover and Thomas are all scheduled for mandatory arraignment in Franklin County Court on Oct. 6.

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