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Shot fired in New Kensington convenience store robbery

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 12:06 a.m.

A robber fired a gunshot into a New Kensington convenience store wall before stealing cash from the startled clerk Monday night, police said.

Only the clerk was inside when the gunman walked inside the Fueland, at Seventh Street at Linden Avenue, at about 10:30 p.m., New Kensington Detective Sgt. Dino DiGiacobbe said.

The robber pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the clerk and fired a shot into the wall beside the clerk, DiGiacobbe said. The shot plowed into a wall even before she could react and cooperate.

The 24-year-old clerk was terrorized, but she wasn't physically harmed, he said.

The robber stole an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register. He was last seen walking toward Linden Avenue.

Police searched the neighborhood but couldn't find anyone matching the robber's description.

It's unusual for a gun to be fired in a robbery when no one is resisting, said Dennis Marsili, program director of the Criminal Justice Training Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Marsili, who is a retired New Kensington detective, said he can recall only two such robberies in the past two decades.

There are a couple of reasons why someone fires a shot in a robbery, he said.

“This happens when a robber is impatient and wants the cash register open right now,” he said. “Sometimes, it's a power complex and the robber likes dominance.”University of Tampa criminologist Chris Capsambelis, who was an Arnold officer and who has taught other officers, said firing a gun is often the last thing that most robbers want to do.

“This is not something they would typically do,” he said. Firing a gun makes noise and means that police may be able to recover a bullet and match it other crimes.

“Police would have physical evidence in addition to any surveillance photos and eyewitness accounts,” he said.Firing a shot may also show the robber is a serious risk.

“This guy is dangerous,” Capsambelis said.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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