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Pittsburgh man pleads guilty to robbing bank with sex toy bomb

| Thursday, March 3, 2016, 3:15 p.m.

Aaron Stein's wedding was just days away, his honeymoon booked, when he got word that $9,000 he'd invested in foreign currency markets to pay for the trip was gone.

In a move of desperation, his attorney Bruce Carsia said, Stein made a fake bomb out of what police would later identify as phone wires, duct tape and a sex toy, and he used it to threaten tellers and rob a PNC Bank on June 15 in Crafton. He wore an Iron Man mask to hide his identity.

Stein, 36, of Elliott pleaded guilty Thursday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to robbery, aggravated assault, making bomb threats, making a fake bomb and four counts of reckless endangerment.

“This was completely out of character for Mr. Stein,” Carsia said. “He just panicked.”

Soon after the robbery, police from nearby Robinson found Stein pulled over on Campbells Run Road. When they ordered him to get out of his car, he admitted that he'd robbed the bank and told them the bomb was a fake. Nevertheless, Crafton police Chief Mark Sumpter called in the county's bomb squad to detonate it as a precaution, according to a criminal complaint.

Portions of Campbells Run Road, Interstate 376 and Interstate 79 were shut down for nearly three hours, police said.

Stein spent about 18 days in the Allegheny County Jail until his bail was reduced and his father was able to post it.

He then had his belated wedding, Carsia said.

Judge Anthony Mariani revoked Stein's bond pending his sentencing May 31.

“I'm stunned that he's standing here as a free person,” Mariani said during the plea hearing. “This was outrageously dangerous behavior.”

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412 391 0927 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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