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Police join forces to track down robbery suspect

| Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
The Sunoco in North Belle Vernon was robbed on Sunday morning at 3 AM , November 3,2013.

North Belle Vernon wasn't spared in a string of weekend robberies that police believe could have been committed by the same man.

North Belle Vernon police were notified of a robbery in progress at the Sunoco station at 15 Fayette Ave. shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday.

“Our officer was there within a minute,” police Chief Jim Bedsworth said. “It happened quick, and sounds like the methods are the same as the other robberies throughout the area.”

Bedsworth said the suspect, a white male approximately 6-feet tall, 150 to 170 pounds, wearing a high-visibility green jumpsuit with a hood covering his head and a white bandana with black tear drops covering his face from his nose down, entered the door and told the clerk to give him money.

The suspect allegedly threw something in the door to prevent it from closing and picked up the item on his way out of the store.

The clerk told police the man started walking southbound on Fayette Avenue.

Bedsworth said the description of the suspect matches the description of a man who committed other robberies in the Mon Valley Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, Rostraver Township police responded to a reported robbery at the Marathon/BFS gas station along Route 51. A male wearing a jump suit with a white bandana covering his face entered the business and demanded money from the cashier. He got away with an undetermined amount of cash, police said.

Approximately 8 p.m. Sunday, the Sunoco station in the Westgate section of Monessen was robbed. The suspect allegedly put a rock in the doorway during that robbery to prevent the door from locking behind him. He was described as being 5-feet-8.

“The difference between 5-8, and 6-feet isn't all that much,” Bedsworth said. “We're all pretty confident they're all related.”

The CoGo's in Perryopolis was robbed at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Perryopolis police Chief Roger Beadling said a weapon was brandished in that robbery. The suspect was described as having a “very thin build” and estimated to weigh between 150 and 160 pounds.

Beadling said it was possible the suspect got into a vehicle parked behind a building nearby.

Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said his department just received the surveillance video from Sunoco.

“The investigating officer is going to take a look at it and I'll also take a look at it Tuesday morning,” Mandarino said. “We're hoping that we can get a description of a vehicle or possibly another person who may be involved. Hopefully, (Tuesday) we'll have the name of a suspect.”

Bedsworth said he is waiting on video surveillance from Sunoco and Dairy Queen, which is next door to the Sunoco station on Fayette Avenue.

“We're all going to work together on this,” Bedsworth said of the various police departments. “We'll compare notes and hopefully find the guy.”

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

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