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Rostraver man ordered to face trial for convenience store heists

| Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, 12:02 a.m.

A man accused of holding up at least three area gas station-convenience stores was ordered to stand trial.

John Vincent Edmundson, 23, of 1050 Fells Church Road, Rostraver Township, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday in Monessen before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso.

Edmundson faces three counts each of robbery, criminal conspiracy-robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property for his alleged role in robberies at the BFS/Marathon convenience store on Route 51 in Rostraver on Oct. 21 and Nov. 2.

Monessen police charged Edmundson with one count each of the same charges for an alleged Nov. 3 robbery at the Sunoco station along Donner Avenue.

Edmundson was arrested Dec. 24 in Lake Worth, Fla., by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department on two warrants obtained by the Rostraver police.

Following extradition, Edmundson was returned to Pennsylvania on Jan. 10, Rostraver police Sgt. Kerry August said.

North Belle Vernon and Perryopolis police are investigating similar robberies in their boroughs.

North Belle Vernon Chief Jim Bedsworth said his department was eagerly awaiting an opportunity to talk to Edmundson.

“From what I know, he's not saying anything about it,” Bedsworth said Friday.

In the Rostraver robberies, Edmundson allegedly wore Tervita company coveralls with a hooded sweatshirt, bandana over his face, and rubber surgical gloves.

According to the criminal complaint, suspect John Alan Morrison, 29, of 246 Donner Ave., Monessen, told police Edmundson ditched the coveralls in a resident's garbage that had been out for pickup along the side streets they traveled back to Morrison's residence.

Morrison allegedly admitted to casing the businesses before Edmundson committed the robberies.

In the first BFS robbery, $149 allegedly was taken. The Nov. 2 incident allegedly yielded $301.

Edmundson allegedly took $150 from the Sunoco robbery in Monessen.

Police identified Morrison through a surveillance video from the business.

Morrison allegedly entered the store and purchased a pack of gum. Police said he returned to a vehicle and drove away, then returned and dropped off Edmundson on Schoonmaker Avenue.

Edmundson placed a rock in the door at the station to prevent it from locking, charged the counter, took money from the top of the register, then reached inside and grabbed more, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Morrison told police he received money from Edmundson after the robberies, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Morrison – lodged in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $25,000 cash bond for each of the three alleged robberies – was present Friday in case he was called to testify.

Edmundson will next appear for a hearing in Westmoreland County Plea Court on March 21. He is being held in the county prison in lieu of $25,000 bond on each of the cases.

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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