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Greenock man charged with White Oak heist

| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 5:01 a.m.

An Elizabeth Township man has been charged by White Oak police in one of three armed robberies of Mon-Yough convenience stores earlier this week.

Charges were filed with White Oak Magisterial District Judge Thomas Miller Jr. against Jeffrey Thomas Betters, 45, of Greenock for robbery, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats and two firearms violations.

“At this point he is only being charged by the White Oak Police Department with the robbery at the Sunoco at 2904 Fifth Ave.,” police Chief Lou Bender said on Thursday.

That holdup occurred Monday at 8 p.m. There was a robbery shortly before 11 p.m. at the American Natural station in Elizabeth Township's Boston neighborhood.

Then on Tuesday at 1:30 a.m. there was a holdup at the Sunoco along Walnut Street near the Fifteenth Avenue Bridge in McKeesport.

“As for the other two robberies, to my knowledge they are still being investigated,” Bender said. “We have shared our information with the Elizabeth Township Police Department and the McKeesport Police Department.”

That includes surveillance video and witness accounts that were used when Betters was arrested on a parole violation as the result of an extended police chase on Tuesday.

Betters is awaiting a preliminary hearing on Aug. 12 on two counts of aggravated assault, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude police officers and reckless driving.

The chase began nine hours after the third robbery.

Several police departments got involved when a state parole agent tried to apprehend Betters for a violation along the 3600 block of Walnut in McKeesport. The subsequent chase went through McKeesport, White Oak, North Versailles Township and East McKeesport and ended in Wall.

Betters remains in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.

“After Mr. Betters was taken into custody, we observed he had various tattoos on his arm,” Bender said. “We were able to match the tattoos on his arms to the tattoos (on the suspect) on the surveillance video.”

That suspect's face was covered, but a witness picked Betters from a photo array, Bender said.

“We had a witness who observed him remove the mask,” Bender said. “The witness saw him within the vehicle (used in the getaway from the White Oak Sunoco).”

Bender credited arresting officer Kenneth B. Wehrli from his department and assistance from McKeesport detectives Christopher Halaszynski and Adam Alfer.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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