Three charged in armed robbery of pizza deliveryman

May 31, 2013

Three men, already facing charges for armed holdups earlier this year, were arraigned Friday in connection with robbing a pizza deliveryman at gunpoint in South Strabane Township.

Michael G. Stienstraw Jr., 26, of 88 Rock Hollow Road, Claysville; Shayne Charles Coffield, 23, of 247 W. Hallam Ave., Washington; and Christopher Pitzarella, 23, of 43 W. Hallam Ave., Washington, are charged with robbing the Four Star deliveryman March 9 in the 2000 block of East Maiden Street.

Coffield and Pitzarella already face charges filed by Washington police in the March 27 robbery at the Uni-Mart on East Maiden Street. Coffield is also accused of shooting the clerk in the leg. Coffield and Stienstraw are charged by state police in the Jan. 21 holdup at Isaly’s, Jefferson Avenue, Canton Township.

South Strabane Detective Ken Torboli said cooperation among the investigators, as well as information, aided in making the arrests.

Kenneth Hesse had just finished making a delivery and was going back to his car when he noticed two men approaching him from the road. As the two men, later identified as Stienstraw and Coffield, started to run, Hesse tried to get into his vehicle. Stienstraw reportedly pointed a gun at the deliveryman’s chest.

The two took Hesse’s bank bag containing about $100 along with the pizza warming bag. They fled in a silver car. Pitzarella, the owner of the car, was with them but Coffield was the driver. The car went west on East Maiden before turning on to Sanitarium Road.

Earlier this month, Pitzarella gave a statement indicating that they followed the Four Star employee as he made his delivery after spotting the shop’s sign on top of the vehicle. Pitzarella also told police Stienstraw threatened the driver with a gun he and Coffield allegedly stole from a vehicle in Washington. Pitzarella also told police they threw the warming bag out of the car while on Sanitarium. Police recovered the bag where Pitzarella told them they would find it.

Torboli said police received other information that Coffield and Stienstraw had been talking about stealing a gun four days before the delivery driver was robbed.

All three were arraigned before District Judge Jay Weller. Steinstraw and Coffield are charged with robbery, conspiracy, theft, terroristic threats and person not to posses a firearm. Stienstraw, who is on house arrest, was placed on $25,000 unsecured bond with orders to have no contact with anyone involved in the case. Coffield, who is in the Washington County jail on $225,000 bond, had an additional $25,000 bond placed by Weller.

Pitzarella, who is in jail on $100,000 bond, is charged with robbery, conspiracy, theft and terroristic threats. Weller also placed an additional $25,000 bond on him.

All three are scheduled for a preliminary hearing 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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