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West Newton bank robbery suspect indicted

| Thursday, April 26, 2012, 11:50 p.m.

A West Newton man has been indicted for a December bank robbery that netted nearly $5,000, most of which later was mailed back to the bank.

Mark Zabielski was indicted in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh for the Dec. 9 robbery of the PNC bank on East Main Street in West Newton.

According to a five-page indictment, Zabielski, 33, walked into the bank and gave a teller a note demanding $10,000. The teller, who misunderstood Zabielski and thought he wanted to withdraw money from his account, told FBI investigators Zabielski replied: "You don't understand, I need the money now. You have two minutes."

The teller said Zabielski left the bank after he was handed $4,767 from a cash drawer.

Three days after the robbery, the West Newton Post Office received a "suspicious package" and turned it over to police, who said it contained $3,790 in cash, $977 less than what was taken in the robbery.

A witness who knows Zabielski identified him from a bank security video image taken during the robbery and contacted the FBI.

According to the indictment, filed earlier this month, a witness said Zabielski -- who lives a block from the bank -- confessed to the crime. The witness said Zabielski admitted making little attempt to disguise his identity and did not think he would be recognized because he "used make-up on his face, shaved and squinted to look angry."

West Newton police Chief Gary Indolf said Zabielski denied being involved in the robbery, telling him during an interview that he was "decorating his house for Christmas" during the time of the heist and that he even offered to take a polygraph test.

Zabielski is free on $50,000 unsecured bond while awaiting trial on the robbery charge.

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