Five suspects waive hearings for robbery
All five people involved in the alleged Aug. 28 armed robbery of the Turkey Hill Minit Mart in Lansford waived their rights to preliminary hearings Wednesday.
District Judge Casimir Kosciolek of Lansford bound charges against Ray Ziegenfuss III, 19, of 206 W. Front St., Lansford; Nicole Christman, 19, of 220 W. Front St., Lansford; Alyssa Gryzik, 18, of 303 Lansford Court, Summit Hill; John A. Simonson, 19, of 220 W. Front St., Lansford; and Scott Heffelfinger, 26, whose last known address was in Lehighton, to Carbon County Court.
According to court documents, Heffelfinger and Simonson were in the store at about 2:52 a.m. Aug. 28, and asked the clerk, Robert Clifford II, how much money was in a bank bag that was in plain view. Clifford, not realizing the men's plans, told them about $150.
Heffelfinger allegedly pulled a knife and demanded the money. The men took the bag (Simonson also grabbed several packs of Marlboro menthol cigarettes) and fled, but were caught by police a short time later.
Upon further investigation, police learned that the robbery was planned out by Heffelfinger, Simonson, Ziegenfuss, Christman, and Gryzik.
All of the defendants admitted to their roles in the planning and preparation of the crime. While Heffelfinger and Simonson robbed the store, Ziegenfuss, Christman, and Gryzik hung around at 220 W. Front St., Lansford, to await their return.
After robbing the store, Heffelfinger and Simonson ran to 220 W. Front St., throwing the hoodies they wore during the robbery into the woods along West Snyder Avenue as they ran.
Once at 220 W. Front St., the group divvied up the money, and Ziegenfuss got other clothing for Heffelfinger to change into to avoid matching the description given to police by the clerk.
Heffelfinger told Christman to toss the money bag into a nearby neighbor's yard, as he figured police would first look for it in the woods. Christman obeyed, throwing the bag into the yard at 238 W. Front St. She then hid two knives inside the 220 W. Front St. house, until Ziegenfuss advised her otherwise.
The group instructed Gryzik to be a lookout, and warn them if she spotted police, which she did. She told police she knew about how much money would be in the bag because she worked in the store.
Once the word got out that Heffelfinger and Simonson had been arrested, Ziegenfuss, Christman, Gryzik began concealing and discarding all evidence connected to the robbery. All three took part in getting rid of the money, clothes, and weapons, throwing them into the woods along West Front Street.
The money went missing, however, and none of the group would admit to having gotten their share.