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Second defendant in Lehighton robbery enters guilty plea

The second of two defendants involved in an armed robbery in which the victim was stabbed entered a guilty plea in Carbon County court Monday afternoon and was sentenced to a prison term.

Anthony Richard Rush, 26, who is an inmate in the county prison and said he has no current address, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy - robbery, a felony 3. He also entered a guilty plea in a second pending case to one count of possession of drug paraphernalia for an incident on April 26, 2019, filed by Nesquehoning police.

The incident occurred on May 25, 2019, in the area of Dunbar Bottling along Main Lane in Lehighton.

According to Detective Matthew Arner, he responded to a report of a man who was robbed and stabbed in the area of Dunbar Bottling. The victim told police that he had made arrangements with a man named Anthony Rush to purchase THC vape cartridges from him.

One witness told police she saw three men speeding away in a black Nissan Rogue, and that she took a photograph of the vehicle and the license plate as it left the parking lot. The other witness said he saw two men running from the D&L Trail to a small black SUV parked in the Dunbar Bottling parking lot. The witness described the driver as being bald, with facial hair and wearing glasses.

Police confirmed that the license plate from the photo came back to a Nissan Rogue SUV and the driver was identified as Nathan Gilman.

The victim told police he had previous contact with Rush and was able to positively identify him. He said that Rush offered to buy $300 worth of cartridges from him and they agreed to meet at the parking lot of the D&L Trail in the borough for this transaction.

He said that afternoon he parked his vehicle on the parking lot north of the D&L pavilion. Rush and another man, identified as Bobby Hamman of Scranton, approached the vehicle. Rush entered his vehicle from the front passenger door and the other man entered from the rear passenger door.

He said the other man immediately slid behind him on the driver’s side and that Rush looked at him and said, “You know you are getting robbed.” He added that the man behind him said that he had a “piece,” and that Rush grabbed the cartridges.

The victim said that he had a small Adidas duffel bag in his center console, which contained his keys, driver’s license and $400. The men wanted the bag, but the victim said no and grabbed the bag.

The victim said that he was stabbed in the shoulder at that time by the man in the back and that the man then stabbed his hand and took the bag from him. He said that he last saw them running toward Dunbar Bottling.

A print found on the rear passenger door handle was matched with Hamman.

Defense attorney Paul J. Levy, of the public defender’s office, said the commonwealth agreed not to impose the deadly weapon enhancement in the case and to the plea deal because his client cooperated after his arrest and that he did not injure the victim. He also said Rush was willing to testify against Hamman if his case went to trial.

Hamman previously pleaded guilty to his part in the robbery and was sentenced in September of 2020 by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve 24 to 60 months in a state prison on charges of aggravated assault and robbery.

Rush told Nanovic, “I do apologize. I do have a drug habit.”

Nanovic sentenced him to serve nine to one day less 24 months in prison, ordered he make restitution of $685.50, his share, supply a DNA sample, get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, have no contact with the victim, pay court costs of about $1,000 and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole.

On the drug count he was placed on probation for a year, concurrent with the robbery charge.

He was given credit for 657 days spent in prison to date on the charge and paroled.

Driver charged

Nathan Gilman was given a break by the commonwealth on Tuesday and allowed to plead to a summary offense.

Gilman, 36, of Scranton, appeared before Judge Steven R. Serfass to plead to one count of disorderly conduct.

Gilman was the driver of a vehicle involved in the robbery that occurred on May 25, 2019, in the area of Dunbar Bottling along Main Lane in Lehighton.

Gilman was later arrested and told police he didn’t know about the stabbing or robbery, only that he was doing a friend a favor and driving to the scene.

Defense attorney Joseph V. Sebelin Jr., court-appointed, said the commonwealth agreed that Gilman’s part in the robbery was very minor and he had not been part of the stabbing. He said that was the reason the district attorney’s office agreed to the reduced charge. Gilman was facing 17 criminal counts of robbery, theft, conspiracy and simple assault, all of which were dropped. The conduct charge was added to the original complaint.

Serfass accepted the plea and imposed a fine of $300 and court costs of about $1,000.