Suspect in custody in Leechburg bank robbery
Leechburg police charged an Etna man with trying to rob the same bank on Friday that he allegedly held up just eight days ago.
According to police, Clifton Chapin, 50, of 32 Wilson St., Etna confessed to entering the Farmers & Merchants Bank at 160 Market Street at about 1 p.m. Friday with the intent to rob it.
He was wearing the same type of blue ball cap he allegedly wore in surveillance photos from the July 31 robbery.
In July, he allegedly passed a note to a teller that suggested he had a gun.
On Friday, he didn't get that far.
Police Chief Mike Diebold said an armed security guard was in the bank lobby when he saw Chapin walk in. When the guard approached Chapin, he immediately fled through the double glass doors and ran down Market Street, Diebold said.
Witnesses told police the man ran onto Bridge Street and onto River Avenue before getting into a van parked nearby.
Police said he was seen getting inside a white box van with a license plate of YMT 9534. The van had the name “Hite Electric” on it.
Police gave Armstrong County 911 the van's description and said it probably was heading to Etna, where, according to its website, The Hite Co. has an office at 450 Butler St.
Just before 2 p.m., state troopers saw the van along Route 28 near the Fox Chapel exit.
The van was pulled over and Chapin was taken into custody as a suspect.
Meanwhile, police asked witnesses to look at numerous surveillance photos and a photo array.
Diebold said the man was identified by witnesses and both the July 31 and Friday bank surveillance photos.
An official for The Hite Co. told police that Chapin was an employee but had no reason to be in Leechburg.
Chapin was arraigned on Friday night by District Judge James Andring in Leechburg and ordered held in the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Many customers who tried to enter the F&M Bank branch on Friday afternoon were thunderstruck.
“This is pretty bizarre,” said Traci Rattay, of Gilpin.
“I think this is pretty sad,” added Lisa Sydorick, also of Gilpin, minutes later.
“He didn't think they'd get him,” said Joe Enrico, who said he lived much of his life in Leechburg. “People today are crazy,” said his wife, Cha Enrico.
According to court records, Chapin was sentenced to 12 months of probation for unauthorized use of a vehicle and receiving stolen property in 2013. He was ordered to pay almost $1,000 in restitution in that case.
Staff writer Mary Ann Thomas contributed. Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or email@example.com.
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.
- 2,200 union employees of ATI lose coverage
- Regoli won’t seek recount in Westmoreland County judge election
- Mentor takes young Brackenridge hunter under his wing
- British labor organizers show solidarity with ATI workers locked out in Harrison
- Driver fined almost $700 in fatal Apollo pedestrian accident
- New Kensington man killed in North Buffalo crash