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Former Pitt football player to be charged in Greenfield bank robbery

| Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, 12:42 p.m.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh police take Jovani Chappel away in handcuffs near the scene where the SWAT team had surrounded a home on Blair Street in Hazelwood on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Pittsburgh police SWAT team members roll down the street hanging from the 'Bear' tactical vehicle while searching homes on Blair Street in Hazelwood on Aug. 26, 2013 for an alleged bank robber.
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Police SWAT surround a home on Blair Street in Hazelwood August 26, 2013.
James Knox | Trib Total Media
Pittsburgh police SWAT team members surround a home on Blair Street in Hazelwood on Aug. 26, 2013.
Jovani Chappel, former Pitt football player accused of robbing bank

A former University of Pittsburgh football player is accused of vaulting a counter and repeatedly threatening to kill a half-dozen tellers and employees during a brazen bank robbery on Monday.

Jovani Lynel Chappel, 25, of Hazelwood was the masked man who repeatedly shouted, “I will kill everyone in here,” during the holdup at 10:44 a.m. at the PNC Bank branch along Murray Avenue in Greenfield, according to a criminal complaint.

Chappel said he had a gun, but no weapon was seen, Pittsburgh police Lt. Kevin Kraus said.

He was carrying a knife when he was taken into custody about 1:30 p.m. on the front porch of a home on Lytle Street in Hazelwood, police said.

Detectives said they believe Chappel — who confessed to the crime, according to the criminal complaint — robbed the bank because he was having money problems.

Chappel, a four-year letterman who graduated from Pitt in 2009, was awaiting arraignment in Night Court on robbery charges.

According to the complaint:

Chappel was wearing a blue University of Pittsburgh baseball cap and a white mask with holes for the eyes when he entered the bank carrying a camouflage backpack.

He immediately vaulted the bank counter and yelled things such as: “Give me all the money!” “I will kill everyone in here!” “No silent alarms!” “I used to work here. No dye packs!”

Police do not know whether Chappel ever worked at the bank.

The robber held the bag open as he proceeded to each of three tellers and demanded money from the cash drawers. There were three customers inside, at least one of whom tried to hide behind the bank's office door.

One of the customers followed Chappel outside and saw him driving away in a light blue vehicle. The customer got the license number and gave it to police.

Police tracked the vehicle to Chappel's girlfriend, who lives on Blair Street in Hazelwood, Kraus said.

The SWAT team surrounded and searched the home and nearby residences before Chappel was found a few blocks away.

Chappel, a native of Dayton, Ohio, played cornerback for Pitt from 2006 to 2009.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com. Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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