Police use toilet paper roll to link Uniontown man to pizza shop robbery
A threatening note penned on toilet paper helped unravel a robbery attempt at a Uniontown pizza shop, according to police.
Eric W. Frey, 29, of Uniontown is charged with walking into Michael Maria's Pizza on East Fayette Street shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday and handing an employee a note handwritten in black ink on a scrap of toilet paper, police said.
The note read, “I have a gun. Give me $300,” according to court documents.
Frey told the employee that another man had “a gun on me right now, and if I don't come out of here with the money, I'm going to get shot,” police said.
When the employee hit a panic button, police responded to find Frey still in the shop.
He told officers that a large, bearded man put a gun to his back in a nearby alley and forced him to take the note to the pizza shop, warning that he would shoot him if he left the business without cash, court documents indicate.
When police Lt. Tom Kolencik told Frey that he didn't believe his story, Kolencik asked to visit his apartment “to see if his toilet paper matched that of the one used in the robbery attempt,” documents show.
Frey said, “Let's go. I don't have anything to hide,” according to those documents.
In Frey's bathroom, police found a recently opened package of toilet paper on a table. One of the rolls had “writing engraved in it that matched the exact wording on the piece of toilet paper that Frey handed” to the pizza shop employee, Kolencik said.
Police found a black pen next to the roll matching the color of ink used to write the threatening note, Kolencik said.
At one point, Frey told officers that the man who had put the gun to his back was in the apartment, but “then noticed three males walking down the street, and stated, ‘That's them.' ”
Police said they spoke to the three men and determined they were not involved.
While in the apartment, officers saw a pop can on a kitchen counter they said had been altered to be used in smoking marijuana.
Once they obtained a search warrant for the apartment, police said they found 91 grams of marijuana, syringes and spoons containing burned drug residue.
Frey, who has four unrelated drug cases pending, was arraigned before District Judge Wendy Dennis of North Union and placed in the Fayette County Prison on $25,000 bail.
He faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 7 before Uniontown District Judge Michael Metros on attempted robbery, theft and drug charges.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or email@example.com.