Clerk thwarts robbery at Freeport convenience store
By Chuck Biedka
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 12:06 p.m.
A would-be robber assaulted the wrong clerk at a Freeport convenience store Tuesday morning.
The man shoved Michelle Hawthorne, a clerk at the BP Fueland, but she fought back.
“He punched me and that was it. I wasn't going to take it,” said the resident of Freeport's Laneville section.
The petite clerk responded by hitting the man back and pushing him out of the store.
After removing suspect Joshua Paul Lang at about 8:20 a.m., Hawthorne gave state police a description that led to his arrest.
Lang, 32, of 115 Fourth St., Apt. 8, Freeport, is facing attempted robbery and three other charges.
He was in the Armstrong County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of bond.
Police said Lang walked into the store at 222 Buffalo St., Freeport, and asked Hawthorne for cigarettes. When she reached for the packs to her left, the man walked around the counter and began slapping the register.
“Open it!” he demanded of Hawthorne.
“I thought he was teasing. Then he started flipping out,” she said.
Hawthorne said she got mad after the robber shoved her.
“No one touches me like that,” said the 36-year-old mother of three sons.
She went on the attack and shoved Lang back, grabbing him by the neck and pushing him out of the store.
“I got so mad that he hit me,” she said later while smiling and selling coffee, newspapers and food to regular customers.
Hawthorne said she was able to push the man to the store's front door but things suddenly stopped.
“He was holding onto the door. It was a little funny and a little sad. I pushed him out the door and he left on foot,” she said.
State police said Hawthorne immediately called 911 and gave them a good description.
She told them he was wearing gray sweat pants, navy shirt and navy-colored hat.
Police said they spotted a man walking along Market Street, Freeport, wearing the same clothing seen in surveillance footage and described by Hawthorne.
Lang was arraigned by Ford City District Judge J. Gary DeComo.
In addition to attempted robbery, Lang is charged with attempted theft, simple assault, and harassment.
DeComo ordered Lang sent to the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bond.
Records show Lang served almost a year in the county jail in 2006 and 2007 for the same type of robbery. He was sent to ARC Manor for drug treatment after he was released.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- State to kick in $2 million for Glade Run Lake restoration
- Pittsburgh-area drivers roll with rising pump prices
- Deer Lakes board cuts elementary counselors
- Woman struck by car in New Kensington bar’s parking lot
- Oakmont councilman pushes for answers in vandalism of surveillance cameras
- Kiski Valley authority manager resigns
- Classes resume after Leechburg Area bomb threat
- Youngest of 3 Hays eaglets eating as parents have provided a lot of food
- 1 remains in hospital after knife fight in New Kensington apartment
- Lower Burrell restaurant’s noise subject of Liquor Control Board hearing
- New Kensington police find stolen handgun, detain 2 juveniles