Suspects sought in ATM heist
When Candi Overly arrived for her morning shift at Speedy Meedy's on Wednesday, she didn't immediately see the damage from an ATM machine theft less than an hour before.
“There were two state cops out in the parking lot,” said Overly, 49, of Champion. “I asked them what the problem was, and I didn't even notice that the doors were outside of the building.”
Surveillance footage shows that about 3:24 a.m., two suspects drove a dark-colored, short-bed pickup to the front doors of the gas station on Three Mile Hill Road. They chained the ATM to the back of the truck and drove the vehicle forward to yank open the glass doors, shattering them, and pull the machine out of the store. The force dented and spun around an ice cream freezer and split the cash register countertop.
The lottery machines and cash registers crashed to the floor, and the gas pumps went offline.
The burglars quickly loaded the ATM onto the truck bed and drove off.
It all happened in about three minutes.
“I was really surprised,” said Philip Luccioni, 48, of Uniontown, who oversees operations at the company's three stores. “They didn't come for cigarettes or anything else. They came for that ATM.”
Luccioni, the son-in-law of Speedy Meedy's owner Emidio Crocetti, received a phone call from Guardian Protection Services alerting him of a “true break-in” at the gas station. He arrived there about 3:45 a.m.
After viewing the surveillance video, Luccioni said he has no inkling of the suspects' identity. The video showed they were wearing masks, gloves, jeans and hooded, long-sleeve shirts.
“I would guess they have been in the store, looking and scoping it out,” Luccioni aid.
Surveillance footage showed that as the suspects' truck turned onto Route 982 South, another car pulled up behind it and turned onto Route 982 North. Luccioni hopes that driver hears about the incident and comes forward with any information they might have.
Though the suspects left behind a mess, Luccioni said the store is insured, and his employees cleaned up quickly. The store, which usually opens around 4:30 a.m., was up and running by 6 a.m. A new ATM was delivered the same day, and doors were installed by 9, he said.
Casey Martin, 20, of Connellsville, a manager at Speedy Meedy's, was alerted to the burglary by a co-worker who called. She said she came to work immediately to assist in the cleanup.
“I was scared to walk out of the house,” Martin said.
Martin said she feels nervous coming to work, but Luccioni said he has been staying until evening to give employees some peace of mind.
The gas station had one previous break-in, about 12 years ago.
“There was not this much destruction,” Luccioni said. “They climbed through the roof, and they tried to get in the safe, and they couldn't.”
Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 724-439-7111.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.