Man accused of robbing Canton hot dog shop

December 12, 2013
Thomas Currie

A former Washington man already serving time in a state correctional facility for burglarizing Washington businesses earlier this year was arraigned Thursday for robbing a Canton Township hot dog shop.

Thomas E. Currie, 39, was arraigned before District Judge David Mark via video from the State Correctional Institution-Somerset, where he is incarcerated. He was charged by Trooper Thomas Schuster with robbery, terroristic threats, simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.

Currie is accused of robbing Shorty’s, 2301 Jefferson Ave., Canton, Feb. 13. But Currie apparently did not get away with any money, police said.

The manager had closed the restaurant about 9 p.m. after sending the other employees home. After locking the door, he walked to his vehicle, and when he turned around the corner of the building, he was confronted by a man wearing a black, hooded shirt who pointed what appeared to be a handgun at him.

The gunman told the manager that they were going back inside the building, and he demanded all the money. The manager opened the front door, and the robber followed him inside the restaurant. They went to the safe, and the manager told the man that he did not have the combination and could not open it. The robber then demanded the manager’s wallet. The manager told the man he had no money, but handed over the wallet. The robber checked the wallet and then left, telling the manager not to contact police because he knew where the manager lived.

Currie was arrested Feb. 15 by city police in connection with burglaries at the Shorty’s on West Chestnut Street and two other businesses. When officers were checking Currie’s vehicle, they said they found a pellet gun, a dark sweatshirt and tennis shoes. The shoes matched an impression taken at the scene of the Canton robbery, police said.

Currie allegedly admitted to the Canton robbery but would not give police a statement.

On April 30, Currie pleaded guilty to the city burglaries and was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in a state correctional facility.

This is not Currie’s first stint in a state prison. He did time for twice burglarizing the Braughler’s Dairy Queen in Washington in 1986, and for burglarizing a North Franklin Township home in 1994 and again in 1998.

He also was sentenced to 3 to 6 years for his role with two others in a 2003 Amwell Township home invasion. Currie was identified after his DNA was found in a mask like the one from the movie “Scream” worn during the burglary. The homeowner was slightly injured when he was shot with a pellet gun.

Mark set bond at $50,000. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 9 before Mark.

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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