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New Ken robbery suspect nabbed in Brackenridge

| Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 1:11 a.m.

An alleged drug addict who is accused of robbing a Central City Plaza store in New Kensington just before 9 p.m. Sunday was arrested a few hours later in Brackenridge, New Kensington police said.

Dennis D. Berkoben Jr., 35, of Brackenridge and Tarentum, is accused of the 8:40 p.m. robbery Sunday of the Family Dollar Store.

Police said Monday he was arrested without incident inside an Allegheny County Housing Authority high-rise apartment in Brackenridge at about 12:30 a.m. Monday.

New Kensington police Lt. Jim Klein said Berkoben is accused of demanding money from a clerk before grabbing it from a cash drawer. No weapon was seen, and after his arrest Berkoben insisted none was used, according to Klein.

Police found Berkoben by tracing the license plate and registration of the green Honda station wagon seen leaving the store just after the robbery.

Police matched a store surveillance photo to an arrest photo taken of Berkoben, and witnesses said the arrest photo appeared to match the robber.

Other police told New Kensington police that the suspect matched a man they knew in Brackenridge and Tarentum.

Tarentum police Chief Bill Vakulick confirmed Monday that Berkoben was arrested without incident inside the First Avenue, Brackenridge apartment of his father by Brackenridge, Harrison and Tarentum officers.

Vakulick said the younger Berkoben lives on the sixth floor but was staying in his father's apartment on a lower floor.

Klein said Berkoben was brought to the New Kensington police station where he questioned the man.

In an affidavit, Klein said Berkoben apologized and admitted to taking about $80 to buy drugs.

Berkoben told police he bought crack cocaine and smoked it after the robbery, the affidavit alleges.

Klein charged Berkoben with two counts of robbery.

New Kensington District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. arraigned Berkoben on Monday and released him on house arrest with an unsecured $25,000 bond pending an Oct. 10 preliminary hearing.

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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