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Munhall man waives 1st robbery hearing

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 3:46 a.m.

On Monday, a Munhall man waived the first of a series of preliminary hearings before him this week in Allegheny County.

Richard P. Thomas Jr., 38, is charged in White Oak with robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property in the June 17 holdup of a Sunoco gas station along E. Fifth and Pennsylvania avenues.

He was returned to Allegheny County Jail on Monday after waiving a hearing before White Oak Magisterial District Judge Thomas G. Miller Jr.

Miller set formal arraignment for Aug. 20 at 11:30 a.m. in Pittsburgh.

White Oak Detective Mark Bushik, who wrote the affidavit in the case, said Thomas was arrested 10 years ago for robbing the same Sunoco.

On June 17, Thomas allegedly showed a clerk “what appeared to be a knife sticking out” of a bag, then removed all the paper money from the cash drawer and reportedly used the proceeds to buy crack cocaine in Duquesne.

According to Bushik's affadavit, Thomas said he told the clerk twice he was being robbed because the clerk did not understand him. “He had a razor knife in his left hand covered by a brown bag,” Bushik quoted Thomas as admitting.

Thomas was arrested in connection with the White Oak robbery on June 18 in North Huntingdon Township. In addition to the White Oak robbery, Thomas allegedly held up banks in Glassport and North Huntingdon Township and is accused of stealing a car in Clairton.

Hearings are scheduled on Tuesday before Glassport Magisterial District Judge Armand Martin for the Glassport Huntington Bank holdup on June 16 and the Clairton incident.

Charges of robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property were filed against Thomas in Glassport while charges of robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle, recklessly endangering another person and receiving stolen property were filed in Clairton.

Miller said a court order was needed last week to transfer Thomas from Westmoreland County Prison in Hempfield Township to the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh.

Thomas is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond in Westmoreland County, while he would have to post $150,000 to be released from Allegheny County custody.

He's charged with the June 14 robbery of First National Bank in the Circleville area of North Huntingdon. His preliminary hearing in that case was postponed by Magisterial District Judge Douglas R. Weimer Jr. until Sept. 10 at 1:45 p.m.

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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