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Six charged in December holdup at Chambersburg restaurant

January 25, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The number of people involved in a string of holiday armed robberies in Franklin and Fulton counties has risen to 11 as Pennsylvania State Police filed charges against four adults and two juveniles for a December holdup at Popeye's Chicken at 1332 Lincoln Way East.

Police charged Pedro Barrientos, 21, of McConnellsburg, Pa., and Cesar Ruiz, 20, of Mercersburg, Pa., with robbery, criminal conspiracy, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. Police also issued warrants on the same charges for Hector Cortez, 20, and Alfredo Espinosa, 18, addresses unavailable, both of Chambersburg.

Two unidentified juveniles, both employees at the restaurant, were charged with robbery, criminal conspiracy and unsworn falsifications to authorities, police said.

Cortez was being held Wednesday night in Franklin County Prison, but Espinosa was not, a prison official said.

Barrientos, whom some police documents list as having a Chambersburg address, and Ruiz were arraigned on the Popeye's charges last Thursday, according to a staff member at Magisterial District Judge Kelly Rock's office. Both already were in jail on charges stemming from their alleged participation in some of five other robberies in the two counties between Dec. 14, 2006, and Jan. 2, according to police records.

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Police said all six suspects planned the Popeye's robbery, which occurred Saturday, Dec. 23, at 8:45 p.m. Barrientos, Ruiz, Espinosa and Cortez entered and demanded cash, police said. Police said the four wore masks and carried firearms.

The restaurant manager, Tu Wen Chen, and another man, Christopher Stevens, received minor injuries in the robbery, police said. The two juveniles were working at the time of the robbery, police said.

Barrientos, Ruiz, four other men and a woman were apprehended by state police in Fulton County minutes after a Jan. 2 armed robbery of the F&M Trust Co. branch in Hustontown, Pa.

Members of the group also have been charged with the Dec. 14, 2006, robbery at E.C. Barnes in St. Thomas, Pa.; the Dec. 21, 2006, robbery of Greencastle Beer Distributor in Greencastle, Pa.; the Dec. 28, 2006, robbery at the F&M Trust Co. branch in Mont Alto, Pa.; and the Dec. 30, 2006, holdup of Sheetz in McConnellsburg.

The others previously charged with participating in one or more of the robberies are Ferdy Machado-Morales, 23, Ferdinand Machado-Morales, 21, Tyler Christman, 18, and Andres DeJesus, 21, all of Mercersburg; and Courtney Mellott, 20, of McConnellsburg.

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