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Man shot by store owner charged

August 04, 2007|By DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, PA. - A Baltimore man seriously wounded by a shotgun blast during a Thursday morning convenience store break-in has been charged with first-degree felony burglary by Pennsylvania State Police.

Thomas Philip Candeloro Jr., 44, of 628 Lucia Ave., also has been charged with second-degree felony criminal trespass, first-degree felony criminal conspiracy to commit burglary and third-degree felony theft, police said. The charges were filed Friday with Magisterial District Judge Gary Carter's office.

Candeloro was in critical, but stable condition Friday at the Shock Trauma Center of the University of Maryland Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police said Candeloro was shot in the process of stealing 53 cartons of cigarettes valued at $2,304.68 from the Molly Pitcher Mini Mart at 13640 Molly Pitcher Highway in Greencastle, Pa. He and two other unidentified men were confronted by the store's owner, Merlony Colaco, at 1:46 a.m., police said.

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Colaco said Thursday he had been sleeping in his store for the past two weeks following a previous burglary. The men pried open a side door with a crowbar to get inside, he said.

Two of the men moved toward him, he backed off and they ran out the door, Colaco said. Candeloro threw a trash can at him, and Colaco said he shot him in the waist.

Candeloro was taken to Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown before being transferred to Baltimore, according to a Washington County Hospital spokeswoman.

The burglary and the shooting both are being investigated by police and the Franklin County District Attorney's Office.

"We have a lot of fact-finding to do," District Attorney John F. Nelson said. "The surveillance video is not of good quality, but it's probably going to be useful."

"We have still not reviewed the official statement (Colaco) gave the state police" to compare with the video and other evidence, Nelson said. An attempt will be made to enhance the video to improve the images, he said.

Once all of the evidence has been collected, Nelson said it will be "reviewed in the context of the laws of justification in the use of force."

The use of force is justifiable under Pennsylvania law when a person believes it is necessary to protect himself from death, serious bodily injury or other serious physical harm. The law, however, runs several pages and includes provisions outlining under what circumstances deadly force can be used for self-protection.

Three people were charged with burglary after Colaco caught a woman inside his store during another break-in and held her until police arrived.

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