Cops: Cal U student used toy gun in robbery
By Rick Bruni Jr.
Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
A California University of Pennsylvania freshman is behind bars after allegedly using a plastic toy gun to rob two fellow students Wednesday morning inside their campus residence.
Khari Hicks, 18, of Pittsburgh was arrested an hour after the purported incident, arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Joshua Kanalis in Centerville and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility.
Kanalis denied bail, listing the reason as “violent crime” on a criminal docket.
According to university spokeswoman Christine Kindl, Hicks allegedly entered a dorm room in Residence Hall B, threatened one of the students with a weapon and took between $200 and $300 before fleeing the scene.
Kindl said Hicks gave police permission to search his room in Johnson Hall, where they found the black toy gun they believe Hicks used to pull off the alleged robbery.
“The victims obviously didn't know they gun was plastic,” Kindl said. “They thought it was very real.”
Kindl said campus police apprehended Hicks on Third Street near the student union. Cal U police Chief Ed McSheffery did not return a call seeking details Wednesday afternoon.
However, police confirmed four stamp bags of suspected heroin were discovered in Hicks' room.
“The important thing is this incident was resolved very quickly on the part of our campus police,” Kindl said.
Initially the alert asked students and employees to lock their doors and stay where they were while they searched for the suspect.
Hicks was charged with three felony counts of robbery, two felony counts of terroristic threats, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of simple assault, and single counts of theft by unlawful taking, reckless endangerment and possession of a weapon.
He faces a preliminary hearing in Washington County Central Court.
Hicks, a former standout quarterback at Imani Christian High School, was listed on the Cal U football team's preseason roster. But Kindle said he was not currently on the football team because of eligibility issues.
Hicks was not listed Wednesday on the football team's online roster.
Kindl said a separate “disciplinary process” by the university was in progress.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635.
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