Share This Page

West Newton man charged in East Huntingdon Rite Aid robbery

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A West Newton man is under arrest after he allegedly robbed a drug store and led multiple police departments on a car chase through several municipalities.

Zachary Allan Clausner, 32, of 136 Parker Road was charged with robbery, theft by unlawful taking, terroristic threats, fleeing or attempting to elude police, recklessly endangering another person, tampering with/fabricating physical evidence and reckless driving at District Judge Charles Moore's office.

About 8:20 p.m. Monday, the robber walked into the Rite Aid Store/Pharmacy in Mt. Pleasant Township, took a shopping cart and walked to the pharmacy section.

He handed a pharmacist a note which read: “I have a gun ... stay calm. Don't make me hurt you. Give me all your Oxycodone in 15mg, 30mg and any Vic's (Vicodin).”

The pharmacist complied and handed the robber several bottles of Oxycodone. One of the bottles was a decoy that emits a signal.

The robber went to his vehicle to head to West Newton. Rite Aid officials contacted Westmoreland 911 and gave a location through the decoy. State police as well as police from Mt. Pleasant and Scottdale chased a car through East Huntingdon and South Huntingdon and West Newton where the driver exited his vehicle near his residence and fled on foot. Police thought he went into a wooded area or inside his residence, but the decoy bottle pointed police to Clausner hiding in his residence.

Clausner's wife returned home and was able to call him on his cell phone and have him surrender peacefully to police and hand over the pill bottles.

He told police that he took a handful of pills. He was transported to Excela Westmoreland to be checked by a physician. Police said he admitted to robbing the Rite Aid and also admitted he robbed the same Rite Aid two times in the past as well as the Rite Aid in Greensburg two times in December and the new Walgreens twice this year.

Clausner was lodged in the Westmoreland County Prison with bail set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled at 10:30 a.m. April 24 at Moore's office.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.