Former McDonald man waives bank robbery hearing

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The former McDonald man accused of robbing a bank in the borough last month waived his case to court Tuesday after the prosecution agreed to allow his bond to be changed to unsecured so he could get out of Washington County jail.


Richard Allen Watters, 51, is charged with robbery, robbery of a financial institution, theft, receiving stolen property, simple assault and harassment for allegedly robbing the bank across the street from his former apartment March 31.


He had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday before Senior District Judge Jay Dutton.


Watters is accused of entering Huntingdon Bank, 100 W. Lincoln Ave., and handing the teller a note stating, “I am desperate fill this with cash fast.” Police said the robber, later identified as Watters, also acted as if he had a weapon but was not carrying one.


Two days after the robbery, McDonald police received a tip identifying Watters as the robber.


When they went to his apartment, Watters allegedly admitted to the robbery and told police he knew what he did was wrong, but he was deeply in debt and needed money.


Police said Watters told them he used the money stolen in the robbery to pay his rent and electric bill, and buy food.


Police later found $28 hidden in a box of crackers in his apartment. Police said they also found the note he had given the teller in a trash can outside a store, and the clothing he wore during the robbery was in his vehicle.


While being transported for arraignment, Watters reportedly told police he returned to Western Pennsylvania from Kansas several years ago to care for his elderly parents, who have since passed away, and he had been living in their home but was recently evicted by his sister.


He told police he had been a professor of Chinese art.


Officer Bradley Resnik, who filed the charges against Watters, told Assistant District Attorney Joseph Zupancic some McDonald residents felt compassion for the suspect and were collecting money to help him.


Watters was released on $40,000 unsecured bond Tuesday afternoon.


He will be staying with a family member in South Fayette Township.


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