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Cal police 'skeptical' of armed robbery report

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Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 12:11 a.m.
 

California Borough police are investigating a purported robbery Monday night that resulted in the arrest of the alleged victim.

Rashad Gass, 20, of Coatsville, Pa., called police 9:43 p.m. claiming he was robbed at gunpoint in his Plum Way residence. Gass told police the gunman took $2,500 in cash that had been lying on a kitchen table.

The residence is six blocks away from California University of Pennsylvania's main campus. The university issued an alert at 11:08 p.m. Monday advising students to remain indoors with their doors and windows locked. Cal U spokeswoman Christine Kindl confirmed Gass is currently enrolled as a student.

While police were investigating the alleged robbery, they discovered Gass was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Montgomery County in southeastern Pa.

Police transferred Gass to the Washington County Correctional Facility on Monday night on a retainer out of the Montgomery County Sheriff's office.

California police Chief Rick Encapera confirmed Gass was expected to be transported Tuesday to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Lower Providence Township.

Encapera said he was “skeptical” about the alleged incident, but because a gun was reportedly involved, borough and Cal U police had to err on the side of caution.

Gass had been living with two roommates, Encapera said.

“The question you have to ask is: ‘What gunman would randomly pick the one house in the borough with $2,500 lying around on a table?' That's one heck of a coincidence,” Encapera said Tuesday evening.

“We still have his roommates to interview and get their stories and see what else we can come up with. … If there is a gunman or robber, then I believe there's an association with him and the victim.”

Police said Gass described the robber as a light-skinned black male with scruffy facial hair, approximately 5-foot-7 feet tall.

On March 18, Gass pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy - retail theft, disorderly conduct and harassment in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. According to court records, a bench warrant was issued for Gass on Aug. 1 for violating his probation.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2635 or rbruni@tribweb.com.

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