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New Kensington police identify suspect in Valero robbery

| Saturday, May 3, 2014, 1:06 a.m.
Richard Edward 'Ricky' Winghart Jr.

New Kensington police on Friday identified the man they believe robbed the Valero gas station Sunday night.Police are accusing Richard E. “Ricky” Winghart Jr., 24, no address listed. On Friday, police obtained a warrant for his arrest, Detective Lt. Jim Klein said. Police from other Alle-Kiski Valley departments said the suspect has been seen in the area as recently as Thursday.

According to court documents, Winghart will be charged for robbery with a threat of immediate serious injury.

Arrest warrant details won't be made public until the suspect is arrested and formally charged.

“We're asking him to turn himself into police,” Klein said. “We don't want him to be a danger to himself or to anyone else.”The Valero gas station at Seventh Street and Constitution Boulevard was robbed by a lone bandit about 10 p.m. Sunday.

Police said the robber didn't show a weapon, but he kept his right hand in the hooded sweatshirt pocket, suggesting that he had a gun.

Police released gas station surveillance photos. One shows the robber with his face covered. A second shows a customer who was in the store about 20 minutes before the robbery.

Klein said they're the same man, and that man is believed to be Winghart.

Police earlier pointed to similarities between the robber and the unmasked customer, including same general age, height, weight, clothing worn and his gait.

Police: Publishing photos helped

Police are crediting the Valley News Dispatch with prompting phone calls that identified the suspect. Police released the photos for publication in an effort to encourage tips. They appeared Thursday in the VND's print edition and on its website.

“We received numerous phone calls and were able to identify him well enough to get an arrest warrant,” Klein said.

Police said Winghart has been seen in Tarentum and Harrison as well as New Kensington.

Court records show he pleaded guilty to retail theft in Blair County in 2011.

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