Pa. man sentenced in 2005 purse snatching

July 05, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A man convicted in a 2005 purse snatching outside Chambersburg Hospital was sentenced recently in Franklin County Court to spend 18 months to 4 1/2 years in state prison.

Carlos J. Zabala, 29, of 51 N. Sixth St. in Chambersburg, had pleaded guilty in May to third-degree felony robbery and unrelated charges of criminal trespass and theft. Judge Douglas W. Herman told Zabala his previous convictions demonstrated that he had not benefited from county prison sentences.

On the night of June 11, 2005, a woman visiting her husband at Chambersburg Hospital was robbed of her purse in the parking lot, Chambersburg police said. A witness chased the robber down an alley and confronted him, telling him to turn over the purse, police said.

Police said Zabala did turn over the purse, minus the cash inside, and fled.

Later that night, Zabala went to the home of his wife's parents in Greene Township, where he was sleeping in the yard, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The affidavit of probable cause stated Zabala was not allowed in the house, even though his wife was staying there, because his father-in-law had banned him for stealing money.


Zabala's wife brought him blankets about midnight, but he later entered the house, took her cars keys and drove away in her car, according to court records.

On June 12 at 3:45 a.m., police found Zabala at a motel in Chambersburg. He fled on foot, but was caught about 20 minutes later, police said.

Zabala told Herman he stole the money to buy drugs. Herman noted his previous convictions, including two drug delivery cases from Cambria County. The judge also noted Zabala has a court appearance coming up in Cambria County on other unspecified charges.

"There are people out there who always want what someone else has worked for," Herman said, reading from a letter the robbery victim wrote to the court.

"I've made up with my wife's parents," Zabala said. "I'm very sorry about all this."

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