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Valley News Dispatch

Man accused of trying to rob pharmacy is out of jail because of medical condition

Madasyn Czebiniak
| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, 6:54 p.m.

An Arnold man accused of trying to rob a New Kensington pharmacy by claiming he had explosives on him was released from jail Wednesday on unsecured bond because of a severe medical condition, court records show.

Police said Nathan James Chavez, 43, tried to rob the Town and Country Pharmacy on Freeport Road early Monday afternoon.

Chavez told employees he had explosives on him and demanded Percocet, an opioid prescription painkiller, according to police.

Police said store owner Anthony Roperti and employee Terry Kelly chased Chavez out of the store and through the parking lot, but lost sight of him as he ran toward the George Street Apartments.

A motorist flagged down New Kensington police Officer Michael Krahe and reported seeing a man with a tan hooded sweatshirt, dark sweatpants and a backpack run from the direction of Town and Country and hide in bushes in front of an abandoned house on Earl Avenue. Police found Chavez there and arrested him without incident.

Police said they took Chavez back to the store, where Kelly positively identified him. Kelly told police that Chavez took off a mask as he ran away, so he was able to see Chavez’s face, police said.

Video obtained by police also showed Chavez running from the store as Kelly and Roperti chased him.

Chavez was placed in the Westmoreland County Prison on Monday after failing to post $75,000 bail, according to online court records.

He had a bail hearing Wednesday morning before District Judge Frank Pallone Jr. in New Kensington, where his bail status was changed to a $75,000 unsecured bond because of a severe medical condition and he was released from jail, court documents show.

Pallone was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon. An office staffer reached by phone did not say what medical condition led to Chavez’s bail status being changed.

A preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 13 before Pallone was canceled, court records show. A new date has not been set.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com, or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

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