Canonsburg man arrested on robbery charges

April 18, 2014
Damen Ryan Gamble

Canonsburg police said an apparent drug deal gone bad last month led them to arrest a borough man and obtain a warrant for his friend.

Damen Ryan Gamble, 22, of 416 Giffin Ave., was taken into custody Friday on charges of robbery, conspiracy, theft and simple assault. Police also have a warrant for Natalie McCloskey, 22, also of 416 Giffin, on identical charges.

Police were called to the parking lot of a convenience store at 368 Euclid Ave. about 10 p.m. March 27 for a report of a man who had been assaulted. When Sgt. James Spingola and Officer James Eckels arrived, the participants in the incident were gone.

A passing motorist then told police two men were pulling a woman out of a vehicle on First Street. Police responded and said they spotted McCloskey and two men walking hurriedly. McCloskey told police she had been jumped after she and her friend, Gamble, had walked to the store to buy cigarettes. Police say she claimed two younger men had jumped her and wanted to take her small purse, expecting to get Suboxone and money.

One of the men with McCloskey, Geoffrey Staley, 23, of McMurray, reportedly told police that he and another man were driving past when they saw McCloskey get jumped, and that when he got out to help, he was kicked in the groin and punched in the face. The two alleged attackers then ran down Euclid in different directions, Staley said. While talking with the two men, police said they found a Suboxone strip in the alley. Staley was taken to the police station, where he reportedly showed officers text messages sent by McCloskey offering to sell him Suboxone and Xanax, and inquiring about the price he was willing to pay. The messages indicated they settled on a price of $66.

Staley then allegedly admitted the statements he and McCloskey had given to police were false, telling the officers it actually was a bad drug deal and a planned robbery on the part of Gamble and McCloskey. Police said Staley told them he had been waiting at a nearby coin laundry for McCloskey to deliver the drugs, and when she arrived, she repeatedly told Staley to “show me the money, show me the money.” Staley told police he had the money in his hand and McCloskey tried to grab it. He said that as McCloskey was attempting to snatch his money, she kicked him and Gamble punched him in the face. Gamble also allegedly threw a brick at Staley before fleeing.

Gamble was arraigned before District Judge David Mark and placed in Washington County jail on $50,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for May 7 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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