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Robbers use adult bookstore's handcuffs to restrain employee

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A clerk in an adult bookstore in Murrysville was restrained by handcuffs taken from the shelves by two masked robbers toting handguns early Monday morning.

Murrysville police Chief Thomas Seefeld said the two men entered Murrysville Video News on Route 22 at about 2:15 a.m. as the male clerk was closing for the night.

"The clerk was walking through the shop, and a man appears wearing a mask and gloves and displaying a handgun," Seefeld said. "Another male appears dressed the same way, also showing a handgun."

Police were contacted when the clerk's female friend arrived to pick him up and saw two men rushing out of the store to a pickup and driving west on Route 22. When she found the door locked, she called police.

Officers arrived at the bookstore and shattered the glass door to get into the building. The clerk was found in a utility room cuffed to a metal section of the wall, Seefeld said.

"Using handcuffs from the business, they secured (the clerk) to a stationary object," Seefeld said. "They ended up getting an undetermined amount of cash, some of the clerk's personal belongings, including his wallet, and a couple of items from the shop. The (bookstore) had some video surveillance. We don't know if it will be any benefit to us."

Westmoreland County Detectives are assisting with the investigation.

The bookstore, which opened in 1975 under the name Adult World, has a colorful and sometimes violent history marked by two slayings.

• On Nov. 25, 1992, clerk James Scott Swoyer, 23, was shot four times and stabbed once while working the overnight shift. Swoyer's wallet and car keys were not taken; about $80 remained in the cash register. The slaying of the Westmoreland County Community College student remains unsolved.

• In April 1992, the bookstore was raided as part of a statewide crackdown on pornography.

• In 1986, Richard "Rick" Drylie was sentenced to eight to 20 years for the stabbing death of Daryl G. "Larry" Vincent. According to court records, Vincent made a homosexual advance toward Drylie after asking him if he wanted to smoke marijuana. Vincent was stabbed more than 30 times, and his throat was slashed. His body was discovered in a wooded area behind the store.

• On Jan. 13, 1977, a war over the business between two factions escalated into a shootout. William Birdseye, the notorious owner of area pornography dens, and another bookstore operator, John VanEmburg, were in a turf war with Adult World operator Allen Morrow of eastern Pennsylvania. Birdseye was the building's legal owner at the time. He and VanEmburg barricaded themselves in the building with a small arsenal. Morrow, at least five other men, and a Doberman stormed the building. Two of Morrow's cronies were struck by shotgun fire.

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