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Couple charged in Washington Township robbery, assault

| Monday, July 21, 2014, 11:09 a.m.
Elizabeth Lazabeck
Matthew Bumbaugh

A Monroeville couple allegedly forced a pair of women out of a moving vehicle at gunpoint after robbing them of money and drugs in Washington Township on Sunday morning, according to township police.

A passerby found one of the women, age 22, unconscious and bleeding from the back of her head just before 7 a.m. Sunday on Camp Nancy Road near Route 380.

Her injuries were described as life-threatening. She was in critical condition Monday in the intensive care unit at Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, hospital spokesman Jesse Miller.

Paramedics found the other woman, age 23, when they arrived at the scene. She was bleeding from her right foot, which was missing its shoe. She was treated and released from Forbes Regional, Washington Township police Chief Scott Slagle said.

By Sunday afternoon, police had arrested Matthew Bumbaugh, 28, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Ann Lazabeck, 26, of Valley View Drive, Monroeville.

According to court documents, the women, who Slagle said are from Washington, Washington County, had been staying with Bumbaugh and Lazabeck at their Monroeville home, but left for a motel because the house was “very dirty.”

At the motel, Bumbaugh told the women he would take them back to Washington. They were in the back seat of a Dodge Durango that Lazabeck was driving on Route 380 when Bumbaugh pulled out a gun and “told them to hand over their drugs and money,” Slagle said.

Slagle said they were after heroin. He could not say how much the pair took from the women.

Bumbaugh allegedly ordered the women out.

The more seriously injured woman was trying to climb out a window of the fast-moving SUV when Bumbaugh reached back and shoved her out of the window, Slagle said.

The other woman tried to get out through a door while the vehicle was moving, but hurt her foot and got back in. Lazabeck pulled over and the woman was told to get out, according to court documents. She ran into the woods.

Monroeville police, who said they are familiar with Bumbaugh and Lazabeck, and Westmoreland County detectives helped in the investigation. Police said the 23-year-old woman identified Bumbaugh and Lazabeck from a photo lineup.

Police searched the couple's home and were awaiting a warrant to search the SUV, where they hope to find the gun, Slagle said.

Bumbaugh and Lazabeck were arraigned on Monday by Export Judge Charles Conway on charges of robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment. Bumbaugh was being held in the Westmoreland County jail on $40,000 bail; Lazabeck was being held on $30,000 bail.

Their preliminary hearings were scheduled for Monday, but are expected to be postponed, according to court personnel.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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