Uniontown PNC Bank robbery suspects surrender

| Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, 11:40 a.m.

Uniontown police Friday arrested a homeless couple in connection with the robbery of a PNC Bank in Uniontown and one of its patrons.

City police Lt. Tom Kolencik identified the suspects as Kendall Wayne Johnson, 32, and Alice Jane Bechtol, 31, both of whom have been living in various locations in and around Uniontown.

Kolencik said the suspects surrendered to police late Friday afternoon at the Caroline Motel in Uniontown without incident.

“Alice (Bechtol) received a number of phone calls and text messages” that her pictures and Johnson's had been posted on social media, Kolencik said. Realizing she and Johnson could not get out of the area with being recognized, “They made the decision to turn themselves in.”

Kolencik said Bechtol called police and informed them of their location. Police went to the motel and took the pair into custody.

“They came out (of the motel) with their hands up,” Kolencik said. “They have been cooperative from the start.”

Police Chief Jason Cox said the pair entered the bank on Morgantown Road in the Uniontown Shopping Center just after 9 a.m. Friday and approached a female teller.

“The female handed the teller a bag and demanded she fill the bag with money,” Cox said.

Cox said the teller filled the bag with an unknown amount of cash. Bechtol then turned to a female bank patron and demanded her wallet, Cox said.

The patron gave the woman her wallet, Cox said, and the two suspects ran away in an unknown direction. Johnson's role in the robbery, Kolencik said, was that of a “lookout. He never said a word.”

Kolencik said the suspects called a friend for a ride away from the bank. Police determined the unnamed friend “didn't even know about the robbery,” Kolencik said.

Kolencik said no weapons were shown during the robbery, which he said netted an estimated $2,000.

Kolencik said Johnson and Bechtol were arraigned before duty magistrate Wendy Dennis and lodged in Fayette County jail. They face multiple counts of robbery, criminal conspiracy, receiving stolen property and simple assault.

In addition to the bank, the L-shaped, strip-mall type shopping center contains various businesses, including a freestanding McDonald's restaurant and a Tractor Supply store.

Uniontown police and state police are investigating. Cox said the FBI has been notified.

Liz Zemba and Chuck Brittain are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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