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'Pillowcase bandit' suspect arrested

| Friday, Nov. 8, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

A teenager from Mt. Washington believed to be the so-called pillowcase bandit responsible for a string of convenience store holdups in Pittsburgh over the weekend was arrested Thursday, city robbery detectives said.

Also, city detectives charged a second man arrested previously for one convenience store holdup with robbing the same store a second time.

The 15-year-old, whose identity was not released, is accused of robbing one CoGo's Co. store and is suspected of holding up two others over the weekend. He also is a suspect in the botched holdup of a BP gas station, city detectives said.

The robber was described as a man wearing a pillowcase over his head and tube socks on his hands. In at least some cases, detectives said, store personnel were more amused than scared because no weapon was shown and the pillowcase kept falling down over the robber's eyes, temporarily blinding him.

The teen, who already is facing truancy proceedings for skipping classes at McNaughter Education Center on the North Side, is charged with Sunday morning's holdup of the CoGo's store on Brookline Boulevard in Brookline, detectives said.

A man in a pillowcase botched a holdup a short time later at the BP station on the South Side, but later made off with cash and cigarettes from a CoGo's on Virginia Avenue on Mt. Washington. Early Monday, a man fitting the same description stole cash and cigarettes from the CoGo's on the South Side.

Investigators also described the 15-year-old as a friend of Albert Estes, 20, of Mt. Washington, who was arrested last week in connection with the Oct. 23 holdup of the CoGo's on Bailey Avenue on Mt. Washington.

Estes, whom police have described as a suspect in several other convenience store holdups in the city, was charged yesterday with robbing the same CoGo's on Oct. 15.

However, detectives have not said they suspect Estes and the 15-year-old of working together. They also said they do not believe Estes is a suspect in the holdups of CoGo's stores in Dormont and Carnegie.

CoGo's has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers. CoGo's management could not be reached yesterday to determine if any of the reward money will be paid for the arrests of Estes and the 15-year-old.

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