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Cops: Tire store robbery falls flat for 2 in Derry Township

Paul Peirce
| Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 10:39 a.m.
Two men who brought a flat tire into a Derry Township shop to be repaired Thursday tried to steal the garage’s cash box, but were foiled by workers, police said.
Paul Peirce | Tribune-Review
Two men who brought a flat tire into a Derry Township shop to be repaired Thursday tried to steal the garage’s cash box, but were foiled by workers, police said.

Two men who brought a flat tire into a Derry Township shop to be repaired Thursday are accused of stealing money from the garage’s cash box before workers foiled their escape, police said.

State police arrested Joshua D. Onusko, 27, formerly of the Mt. Pleasant area, and Jeffrey S. Reese, 28, of Latrobe and charged them with robbery and theft. They also are charged with receiving stolen property and drug-related offenses after troopers discovered several stamp bags of suspected heroin and hypodermic needles on them after the incident at Beaver Tire Service, along Route 22 east of New Alexandria.

A sign at the garage Friday stated that the business is closed until Monday while employees attend work-related training.

Onusko also is charged with simple assault and harassment after he allegedly scuffled with two garage employees who detained him until troopers arrived.

Employees Greg Beaver and David Simms apprehended Onusko before he was able to flee the garage and “tied him up with an extension cord,” Trooper Keith Sobecki reported. Reese was apprehended a short time later.

Onusko and Reese were arraigned before Derry District Judge Mark Bilik and ordered held in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post $25,000 bail each.

The pair allegedly entered the garage about 11 a.m. seeking to have a flat tire repaired, Sobecki reported. According to court documents, Onusko then asked to use the restroom in the lobby, where Beaver saw him lean over the counter and open the cash box with a small pen knife.

“Beaver stated that Onusko handed approximately $200 over the counter to Reese, who ran out of the garage in an unknown direction,” Sobecki said.

Beaver wrestled Onusko to the ground in the lobby, but Onusko broke free. He ran into the garage, where he struck Simms with a wrench, Sobecki reported. Beaver and Simms then detained Onusko until troopers arrived.

State police said Onusko also was wanted for a robbery and theft of $15 from a relative who lives in the Holiday Acres housing complex in Derry Township. He allegedly assaulted and threatened the woman.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Oct. 19 before Bilik.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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