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Pa. man sentenced for role in robberies

February 03, 2006|by DON AINES

Chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Shippensburg, Pa., man convicted of participating in four armed robberies in 2004 was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to three concurrent six- to 23-month jail sentences.

Timothy Joshua Thomas, 19, of 1161 Means Hollow Road, had pleaded guilty last year to three counts of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with holdups at convenient stores in Franklin and Cumberland counties.

"I'm going to give you a break because you cooperated with police," Judge John Walker told Thomas. "You were running with some bad hombres."

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Walker had been less lenient with one of Thomas's accomplices, David Joseph Bitner, 23, of Chambersburg, who was sentenced last year to five to 20 years in state prison on four counts of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery.

A third suspect, a relative of Bitner, was 15 at the time of the robberies and his case was transferred to juvenile court, according to the District Attorney's Office.

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

Walker said during the sentencing that Thomas, who was 17 at the time, usually acted as the lookout during the robberies while Bitner drove the getaway car and the 15-year-old held up the clerks.

Thomas, who was given 14 days credit for time served, was fined $1,150 and ordered to pay $3,861 in restitution.

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