Store's manager prevents holdup

December 20, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - Smoker Friendly Manager Tina Adams held off a man who attempted to rob the store Tuesday afternoon, less than an hour before she was to appear in court to testify about a Nov. 1 armed robbery at the business.

Hagerstown Police allege that the Nov. 1 robbery was an inside job, but Sgt. Paul Kifer said they did not believe that was the case Tuesday.

He said "it's possible" that Tuesday's incident is related to recent city robberies, but he would not elaborate on which ones.

Kifer said a man walked into the 615 Dual Highway tobacco shop at about 12:30 p.m., indicated he had a handgun and demanded cash, but Adams held him off. The man reached over the counter and grabbed her name tag before running out of the store empty-handed, Kifer said.


Adams followed the man outside, saw him drive off in a white sedan and relayed the car's tag numbers to police, who traced the car to a South Cannon Avenue address, Kifer said. One man there was arrested and another man there was questioned.

Adams, who was not working when the Nov. 1 armed robbery was reported, was scheduled to be in Washington County District Court at 1 p.m. Tuesday to testify about money the store lost in the November robbery. Police took her to the courthouse after Tuesday's robbery, Kifer said.

At the courthouse, Austin Lee Barkdoll, the clerk who was working Nov. 1, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a police officer. He told police that he didn't know the man who held up the store, but he later told them that David Michael Seiler, 18, a high school friend, was the robber. District Judge Mark D. Thomas handed Barkdoll probation before judgment for the conviction, but not without hesitation.

"I'm giving you a break, but quite honestly, I'm not sure I trust you," Thomas said.

After Barkdoll's plea and two short recesses, the getaway driver, Gregory Justin Holland, 18, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit felony theft in exchange for his testimony against Seiler and co-defendant Matthew David Buckwalter, 19.

Thomas ordered Holland to serve two years in prison for the conspiracy conviction, but suspended the sentence. Holland told Thomas that the money taken in the heist was used to go to Charles Town Races & Slots. He did not say how much was won or lost.

Seiler, who is charged with felony theft, and Buckwalter, who is charged with conspiracy to commit felony theft, each asked for a jury trial. Their cases were sent to Washington County Circuit Court, according to Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson.

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