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Hempfield 'clown robber' arrested

| Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Matthew Randall Goodwin, 36, of Grapeville, Hempfield Township, is accused of wearing a clown mask when he stole a cash register from a restaurant

A Grapeville man with a lengthy criminal history is accused of wearing a clown mask and taking a cash register from a Hempfield restaurant and $2 from a teenage patron, police said.

Hours later, Matthew Randall Goodwin, 36, overdosed on drugs at a mobile home in Hempfield Highlands Trailer Park, where investigators found an empty, destroyed cash register, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Goodwin was arraigned on robbery and related charges Wednesday in the incident, in which investigators allege he brandished a toy pistol.

About 6:45 p.m. Saturday, a man wearing a clown mask, a long black jacket and tan pants, and carrying a gun, entered a Subway sandwich shop on Margaret Avenue.

The man took the cash register, containing about $200, from the store clerk and $2 from a juvenile female customer, police said. Investigators later learned the weapon was a toy, according to court documents.

A friend with whom Goodwin had been staying at the trailer court told police that they were “dope sick,” according to court documents.

“The defendant didn't want to be ‘dope sick' and told (the friend) that he was going to rob someone or a business on (Route) 30 to get money for drugs,” Trooper Patrick Ciriello wrote in the affidavit.

Goodwin had found the clown mask and toy pistol in the mobile home, Ciriello wrote.

Later, state police responded to two drug overdoses at the trailer court involving Goodwin and his roommate, according to the affidavit. On Sunday, the cash register from the robbery was found near their mobile home, police said.

Goodwin faces two counts each of robbery, terroristic threats and theft and a single count of receiving stolen property. He is being held on $50,000 bail at the Westmoreland County Prison. A preliminary hearing before District Judge Mark Mansour is scheduled Jan. 16.

Goodwin has faced a long list of charges since the 1990s, including drug possession, assault, driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, theft and burglary.

He held up a Shell Gas Station on Route 30 in Hempfield Township using a fork as a weapon in January 2010. Goodwin served 11 months and 15 days to 23 months in the Westmoreland County Prison. He has not made payments toward $776 in fines, costs and restitution in that case, according to online court records.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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