Charleroi man arrested in robberies

April 7, 2014

CHARLEROI – A Charleroi auto parts store clerk who was the victim of an attempted robbery Saturday snapped a photo of the vehicle the suspect was driving and provided police with the clue to solve a similar crime at a Wine and Spirits Store in the borough.

Charleroi Regional police recognized the tan vehicle in the photo taken by the clerk at Frank’s Auto Supermarket as belonging to a local resident, went to his address and apprehended the suspect, Stephen L. Purcell, 50, who was staying there after recently being released from a state prison, court documents state.

Purcell, of 711 Rear McKean Ave., allegedly confessed to police that he also robbed a clerk at the liquor store at 232 McKean Ave about 2:30 p.m. March 26, the affidavit indicates.

He also matched the description of the suspect who robbed a different clerk at Frank’s of $560 about 3:25 p.m. March 25.

In all three cases, police said, Purcell held his hand in a pocket to suggest he had a gun and threatened to shoot employees.

Purcell is charged with robbery, making terroristic threats, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal attempt to commit robbery, aggravated assault and harassment.

He is in Washington County Jail on $35,000 bond set by District Judge Mark Wilson.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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