Two charged in January robbery at Canton store

April 10, 2013
Michael G. Stienstraw Jr., at left, is jailed in connection with a January robbery at an Isaly’s store in Canton Township. Also charged in the robbery is Shayne Charles Coffield, at right.

One man is in custody and an arrest warrant has been issued for a second suspect in the robbery of a Canton Township convenience store this year.

Michael G. Stienstraw Jr., 26, of 2229 Jefferson Ave., Canton, turned himself in to state police Tuesday in the Jan. 21 holdup of Isaly’s, 2400 Jefferson Ave. Trooper Thomas Kress, who filed the charges, said police had been looking for Steinstraw earlier that day.

Police obtained a warrant from District Judge David Mark for the arrest of Stienstraw’s stepbrother, Shayne Charles Coffield, 23, of 247 W. Hallam Ave., Washington. A second arrest warrant was issued for Coffield Tuesday in the March 27 armed robbery of Uni-Mart on East Maiden Street in Washington.

The clerk at Isaly’s told police that two men dressed all in black entered the store just before 10 p.m. One of the men, holding a knife, jumped on and over the counter. He pushed her and demanded money. The other robber reportedly had a baseball bat.

The robbers then stole $730 from the lottery drawer. The one robber again went behind the counter and pushed the clerk, demanding to know the location of the money and safe.

Another clerk told police she saw one robber push the other clerk and demand money.

Police said a witness came forward who told police that Coffield and Stienstraw had discussed robbing the store, as well as the best time to do it and what clothing to wear. The witness reportedly saw the two men with a knife and baseball bat. Police later recovered the bat.

According to police, Coffield later told the witness that he jumped over the counter with the knife and that Stienstraw had put the money in his pants.

In the Uni-Mart robbery, Coffield was charged by city police with attempted homicide, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault and a firearm violation as he was identified as the robber who shot a clerk, John Helfrich, in the leg during the robbery.

Kress said Coffield is believed to still be in the Washington area. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call state police at 724-223-5200 or 911.

Stienstraw was arraigned Tuesday night before District Judge Joshua Kanalis on the state police charges of robbery, terroristic threats, theft and simple assault. He was placed in the Washington County jail on $100,000 bond. Coffield’s alleged accomplice in the Uni-Mart robbery, Christopher Pitzarella, 23, of Washington, was arraigned Tuesday on charges including robbery and theft. He was placed in jail on $100,000 bond.

Preliminary hearings on both robberies are scheduled for Wednesday in Central Court.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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