ShareThis Page

Police: Charleroi liquor store crook strikes again

| Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 12:21 a.m.
Richard Heinzelman 5-21-13
Richard Heinzelman 5-21-13

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.

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.