Wanted man walks away from hospital

August 23, 2013
Police took this photo of Dustin Riley in a hospital bed before he went on the lam.

Life on the lam did not last long for a Kentucky man wanted for his role in a robbery earlier this week at a South Strabane Township grocery store.

Dustin Riley was taken into custody at Walmart, Trinity Point, Friday afternoon only hours after he was discovered missing from his Washington Hospital room that morning.

Township police Sgt. Michael Manfredi said one of the witnesses in the case saw him in the store and called police.

“No one else was with him,” Manfredi said. “He claims he had called his mother in Kentucky and she was coming to get him.”

Riley, 21, and Justin Parrett, 22, both of Annville, were apprehended Wednesday for allegedly robbing a Canonsburg woman the previous afternoon at Giant Eagle in Strabane Square. Riley was taken to the hospital shortly after he was caught for treatment of a medical condition.

Township police Chief Don Zofchak said that hospital officials discovered that Riley was gone from his room about 7:50 a.m.

“He just walked out. He still had the intravenous port in his arm,” Zofchak said.

Police were checking to see when Riley was going to be discharged so they could take him into custody.

Riley and Parrett are suspected of robbing Cheryl Dipippa as she unloaded groceries from a shopping cart into her vehicle. Parrett grabbed her wallet and ran. Riley, who told Dipippa he was not with Parrett, continued walking toward Giant Eagle.

The two later used one of Dipippa’s credit cards at Old Trails restaurant on Route 40, South Strabane. The owner of the restaurant, Ralph Moore Jr., saw them leave in a Dodge Ram with a custom paint job. Moore spotted the truck the following morning on East Maiden Street and alerted police, who apprehended the pair.

Both men are charged with robbery, conspiracy, theft, receiving stolen property, forgery and access device fraud. Riley is also charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia after he was found with the suspected drug.

Parrett was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Jay Weller and placed in Washington County jail on $50,000 bond. Riley was arraigned Friday before Weller and placed in jail on $100,000 bond. Both men are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 5.

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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