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Schuylkill County News

Cressona Man Faces Felony Charges on 9 Convenience Store Armed Robberies

Police have charged a Cressona man with committing a string of armed robberies at convenience stores in Schuylkill and Berks counties earlier this year.

According to information provided by State Police in Schuylkill Haven, 32-year-old John James Bennett Jr. faces multiple felony charges after he held up 9 convenience stores back in April. One of the stores he robbed twice.

Bennett’s spree finally came to an end on April 28 when Bennett was spotted in a Mercedes Benz near Panther Valley Rd. outside Cressona. The suspect eventually crashed his car into an unoccupied State Police cruiser after he led police on a chase.

At the time, Bennett was charged for crimes committed during the chase and for 4 armed robberies. Earlier this week, State Police say Bennett was responsible for 5 more armed robberies back in April.

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In each incident, Bennett walked into a convenience store wearing a mask, flashed a gun, and demanded cash and cigarettes from cashiers.

These are the convenience stores police say Bennett robbed:

  • April 8: Mobil, Cressona
  • April 18: Bethel Food Shop, Bethel Township (Berks County)
  • April 20: Uni-Mart, West Mahanoy Township
  • April 21: Turkey Hill, Butler Township
  • April 25: Mobil, Cressona
  • April 26: Fast Fill, Schuylkill Haven
  • April 26: Speedway, Pine Grove Township
  • April 26: Auburn Food Mart, West Brunswick Township
  • April 27: Power Gas and Food Mart, Strausstown (Berks County)

On Thursday, Bennett was arraigned before District Judge James Ferrier in Orwigsburg and sent back to Schuylkill County Prison on $500,000 straight cash bail.

Bennett faces the following charges in connection with the robberies:

  • 9 counts of robbery (Felony 1)
  • 9 counts of robbery (Felony 3)
  • 1 count of receiving stolen property (Felony 3)
  • 9 counts of theft by unlawful taking (Misdemeanor)
  • 9 counts of terroristic threats (Misdemeanor)
  • 9 counts of simple assault (Misdemeanor)
  • 9 counts of reckless endangerment (Misdemeanor)

In total, police say Bennett made away with nearly $4,600 in cash and smokes during his month-long spree.


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