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Chambersburg man sentenced to prison in store robbery cases

April 28, 2005|BY DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg man convicted of participating in four convenience store robberies last year was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to five to 20 years in state prison.

David Joseph Bitner, 23, of 4897 Guitner Road, pleaded guilty on Feb. 2 to four counts of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery.

Judge John R. Walker fined Bitner $200 on each charge and ordered him to pay $3,975 in restitution.

Assistant District Attorney T. R. Williams said Bitner was the driver in four armed robberies between July 24 and 29 at four convenience stores in Franklin and Cumberland counties. The charges were consolidated so he could be prosecuted in Franklin County, according to court records.

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The robberies included the Sunoco station at 3448 Black Gap Road at 3 a.m. on July 24 and a 5:25 a.m. robbery that same day at Rutter's at 5459 Molly Pitcher Highway in Marion, Pa. He also was charged with robbing the Texaco Food Mart at 304 N. Earl St. in Shippensburg, Pa., at 10:41 p.m. on July 26, and the Sunoco at 92 W. King St. in Shippensburg at 5:37 a.m. on July 29, according to court records.

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

Bitner was arrested with Timothy Joshua Thomas, then 17, of 1161 Means Hollow Road in Shippensburg, and Bitner's 15-year-old brother.

Thomas was charged as an adult and his case is scheduled to be heard during the July term of court, Williams said. Bitner's brother's case was remanded to juvenile court, he said.

"What were you on when you did this?" Walker asked.

"I was doing cocaine," Bitner said.

Walker read off Bitner's prior convictions, which included county and state prison sentences for receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, escape and fleeing or eluding police.

"It's not a pretty picture for a 23-year-old," the judge said.

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