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Toilet Paper Links Man to Pennsylvania Robbery

The police often investigate and solve offenses like robbery, assault, and burglary by using scientific evidence such as DNA and fingerprint analysis, video surveillance, and even monitoring of social media sites. In other situations, cases are solved through good old fashioned detective work. In a recent Pittsburgh area robbery attempt, a man handed a Pizza shop employee the typical demand document that said "I have a gun, Give me $300.00." The note  was written on a piece of toilet paper. The would-be robber did throw a curve ball into the typical robbery situation by claiming that he was being forced to commit the theft by another unknown man who had threatened the robber with the gun. Basically, the robber was claiming that he was being forced to commit the criminal act because he was being threatened by an unknown man with a gun.

After receiving the demand note written on toilet paper, an employee hit a panic button and waited for the police to arrive. The police arrived at the Unionville restaurant, found the robber still standing at the restaurant, and the robber told the police that the unknown man had threatened the robber with a gun outside the restaurant in an alley. In order to seek corroboration of the robber's story, the police requested consent to search his apartment. During the subsequent search, the police found a roll of toilet paper on the man's kitchen table, and the roll had an imprint with the language "I have a gun, Give me $300.00," so it matched the language on the robbery note.

After being confronted with the fact that the note had been written in the apartment, the robber changed his story to say that he had actually been confronted by the armed man in the robber's apartment and not in an alley outside the restaurant. The police obtained a search warrant for the entire apartment, and the search led to the discovery of 91 grams of marijuana as well related drug paraphernalia such as syringes and spoons

Pennsylvania Felony Criminal Charges

The man in this case is facing a lengthy prison sentence based upon the attempted robbery and the drugs found in his apartment. Obviously, the man would be charged with Robbery under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3701. A charge of robbery is basically a theft offense that is committed with force or just the threat of force. While the man did not actually point a gun or physically harm the pizza shop employees, he clearly threatened them and put them in fear of immediate bodily or serious bodily injury. The charge would be a felony offense, and the actual severity could hinge on whether the prosecution could prove that the man threatened the employees with immediate "bodily injury" or "serious bodily injury." A charge of threatening serious bodily injury is a first-degree felony whereas threatening bodily injury is a slightly less severe charge and classified as a second-degree felony.

Based upon almost 3 ounces of marijuana being found in the man's apartment, he is likely to be charged with an ungraded felony offense of Possession With Intent to Deliver Marijuana under 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(30). Because the drug involved is marijuana and not something more severe like heroin or crack cocaine, this charge would probably not add a substantial amount of time to the man's sentence. The man's criminal defense attorney will focus the majority of his efforts on trying to either defeat the robbery charge or mitigate its sentencing damage as it clearly carries the most severe punishment.

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