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Fugitive sought for robberies caught in W. Va.

| Friday, June 21, 2002

A man wanted for robberies in Washington and Fayette counties was captured Thursday after stealing a sport utility vehicle at gunpoint and leading police on a high-speed pursuit in West Virginia.

Timothy Michael Green, 37, surrendered to police in Preston County, W.Va., after the vehicle he allegedly stole Wednesday from a McClellandtown man became stuck in a ditch.

"He walked out with his hands in the air," said the arresting officer, Deputy Charles Treft of the Preston County Sheriff's Department. "He said he was tired of running."

Green, who is wanted in at least five robberies, also faces possible kidnapping charges for forcing a McClellandtown man to drive to a bank machine and withdraw money.

Green is suspected of holding up the Jackson Farm Dairy store on Route 40 in Redstone Township Tuesday, then fleeing to a Second Street residence in Filbert. He left the house just before it was surrounded and eventually stormed by police.

Trooper John D. Mosser of state police at Uniontown said Green went to McClellandtown by unknown means and broke into the residence of 53-year-old John Joseph Sismondo at 303 College Ave. When Sismondo returned between 8 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, he was greeted by a rifle-wielding Green.

Green forced Sismondo at gunpoint to drive to an ATM machine and withdraw an undetermined amount of cash, Mosser said. Once back at the College Avenue home, Green bound Sismondo's arms, wrists and ankles with duct tape and fled in Sismondo's Jeep.

Sismondo freed himself, Mosser said, and called to report the robbery. After an all-points bulletin was issued for the Jeep, two state troopers from the Uniontown barracks spotted Green on Route 40 east and gave chase.

West Virginia authorities were notified at 5:25 a.m. as Green neared the West Virginia state line. Treft said the low-speed chase escalated once Green crossed the state line onto Route 26, reaching speeds of up to 80 mph.

Green eventually turned off the highway onto Sugar Valley Road. Treft said Green continued on the narrow country road another two to three miles before stopping suddenly and backing onto a dirt lane that leads to a house and barn.

Treft said Green got out of the Jeep when it became lodged in a ditch and ran toward the barn.

A woman who lives in the house called police after noticing Green near the barn, Treft said. As police were awaiting the arrival of bloodhounds and a helicopter to aid in the search, Green walked out from behind the barn just after 6 a.m. and gave himself up.

"He said he wasn't armed," Treft said. "I told him to get on the ground."

Treft said several Pennsylvania state troopers assisted with the arrest. Mosser said West Virginia state troopers also were on the scene.

Green offered no resistance and wasn't carrying a weapon, but Treft said a loaded deer rifle was found in the stolen vehicle.

Green, who is believed to be homeless, was arraigned before a Preston County magistrate and is being held at the Preston County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond on a fugitive from justice warrant. He faces an extradition hearing.

In addition to the Jackson Farm Dairy robbery, Green is wanted for robberies in Washington County — at the Interstate 70 plaza near Bentleyville, the National City bank branch office inside the Canonsburg Shop 'n Save, and two others at Northwest Savings Bank in the Wal-Mart Supercenter at Trinity Point in South Strabane Township.

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