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Police: Charleroi liquor store crook strikes again

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Richard Heinzelman 5-21-13

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
 

Richard Heinzelman walked into the Charleroi Wine and Spirits Store on Veteran's Day 2004, grabbed a bottle and used it to commit a strong-arm robbery.

He was convicted of robbery.

After serving time on that conviction, Heinzelman was released from a halfway house May 11.

On Friday, Heinzelman walked into the same store at 105 Third St. and used the same method to commit a strong-arm robbery, police said.

“I've never seen anything like this; someone committed the same crime in the same fashion in the same town,” Charleroi Regional Police Detective Eric Porter said.

“He didn't even contest it. He said, ‘I did it.'”

Porter said Charleroi Regional Officer Chad Zelinsky assisted in the arrest of Heinzelman – both in 2004 and on Friday.

Heinzelman, 48, most recently living in Charleroi with family members, was charged with three counts of robbery and one count of theft by unlawful taking.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins in Charleroi and placed in the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $250,000 straight cash bond.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled 11 a.m. June 3 before Hopkins.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Heinzelman bought a bottle of wine, giving the cashier his Visa card and Pennsylvania driver's license for identification.

While the cashier was completing the sale, Heizelman reportedly walked behind the counter, grabbed a bottle of Rumple Minze liquor and said, “This is Hold Up.”

The suspect allegedly went into the store office where the manager, Jon Tegge, was counting money and held the bottle up like he was going to strike him. Heinzelman took the cash drawer and left on foot, according to the affidavit.

During the investigation, Zelinsky told Porter the suspect's description matched Heinzelman, whom the officer knew from the 2004 robbery, according to the affidavit.

Porter called state parole agent Tim Murphy, who told police Heinzelman had recently been released from prison and was living in Charleroi, according to the affidavit.

Interviewed by police, Heinzelman admitted to robbing the liquor store, saying he used the money to buy crack cocaine, according to the affidavit.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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