Man with history of robbing banks charged in 3 recent holdups
Pittsburgh police on Monday arrested a man with a history of robbing banks and charged him in three new heists.
Dennis Schell, 53, of Allison Park robbed the First Commonwealth Bank on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield on Thursday and yesterday, police said, and Schell also is charged with robbing the Citizens Bank on Freeport Road on Saturday.
In each robbery, Schell told bank employees he had a gun and demanded cash, police said. In the latest holdup, a security guard followed the robber out of the bank and watched him go into a house on Edmond Street. The guard alerted officers, who surrounded the house. Schell emerged with the bank cash in hand, police said, and officers took him into custody.
City police already had filed an arrest warrant on Friday seeking Schell in the First Commonwealth robbery. According to a criminal complaint, Detective Antonio Ciummo recognized Schell from a surveillance photo as a man associated with past bank robberies. An anonymous tipster called police after Schell's image was released to the media. The tipster recognized Schell and said he has not been taking his medication for a mental disorder, the complaint said.
"He's been diagnosed with at least two serious mental illnesses," said attorney Randall Ricciuti. "If he doesn't take his medications, this is the end result."
Ricciuti represented Schell in 2009 when he was charged with robbing a Lawrenceville bank and attempting to rob another bank in that neighborhood. Schell pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail and a treatment program through the mental health court. He was on probation for robbing a bank in 2005 when he was arrested for the 2009 thefts.
"He stopped in to see me several months ago and he was still getting treatment," Ricciuti said.
Detectives were searching the home on Edmond Street for additional evidence of the bank robberies.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- With most starters resting, Steelers turn in lackluster loss at Heinz
- Construction season enters fall phase on region’s roads
- Wolf team hopes to aid laid-off workers
- Changes abound at East Allegheny
- Experts warn Kane’s Haiti trip might jeopardize any case from 2014 wiretap
- Belle Vernon Area turf ready to go
- Steelers laud decision, praise Brady for taking on Goodell
- Homework: Spokes pendant offers light in two directions
- Ex-Michigan offensive lineman gets fresh start for West Virginia
- Liriano struggles as Brewers complete sweep of Pirates
- Vick supporters, opponents demonstrate before Steelers’ game, but coexist