The man suspected of robbing as many as 5 convenience stores at gunpoint in southern Schuylkill County and northern Berks County was busted Tuesday.
We got him!
State Police in Schuylkill Haven say 32-year-old John Bennett, of Cressona, crashed his Mercedes Benz into an unoccupied State Police cruiser along Panther Valley Road in Wayne Township. At that point, police were able to take Bennett into custody.
Suspected Convenience Store Robber Caught Following Crash
Just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Bennett approached a stop sign at the intersection of Beckville Road and Panther Valley Road in Wayne Township.
Here’s a Google map of the nearby area:
And here are the places Bennett is suspected of robbing at gunpoint in Schuylkill County between April 25 and the early morning hours of April 26:
State Police also believe Bennett may be behind another armed robbery at a Strausstown convenience store in Berks County on April 27. The armed robbery described in information available from police matches the description and M.O. of the Schuylkill County heists.
In that, the U.S. Gas Station was robbed. The suspect fled the scene and was described as being about 6′-2″ wearing a dark zip-up hoodie and light blue jeans.
So, just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Bennett pulled up to this stop sign in Wayne Township. He failed to come to a stop in his 1993 Mercedes Benz 190 sedan. That’s when police began pursuit.
While tracking down Bennett’s rogue Benz, the suspected thief crashed into an unoccupied State Police cruiser. Bennett tried to dash from the scene but was soon apprehended by troopers responding to the scene.
The 1993 Mercedes Benz 190
Now, before you say … “Oh this guy’s driving a Benz, what’s he doing holding up convenience stores?” … consider that if you can find one of these 27-year-old vehicles in decent shape, you can get it for $2,000 or less if you know how to haggle.
This vehicles doesn’t qualify you for Baller status, by any stretch.
Charges Filed Against Bennett
Bennett got hauled in front of District Judge David Plachko on Tuesday evening and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 7 in Port Carbon.
He was denied bail and sent to Schuylkill County Prison.
No charges in connection with the convenience store robberies are filed against Bennett right now but he was sent to prison considered a flight risk.
He does face a laundry list of charges in connection with Tuesday’s incident in Wayne Township, however. They include:
- Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police (Felony 3)
- 4 counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person (Misdemeanor 2)
- Failing to Keep Right (Summary)
- Disregarding Traffic Lanes (Summary)
- 2 counts of Duties at a Stop Sign (Summary)
- Speeding (Summary)
- Careless Driving (Summary)
- Reckless Driving (Summary)
Operation Red Dawn
REFERENCE: Video clip above is from the press conference led by Paul Bremer, then the head of the US occupation of Iraq. It followed Operation Red Dawn, successfully executed on December 13, 2003 near Tikrit, Iraq. The operation led to the capture and imprisonment of deposed Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein.