A local man was jailed on Thursday after Richland Township police accused him of robbing a man at knifepoint near the township’s busy Scalp Avenue shopping district.
Anthony Thomas Hockensmith, 20, briefly got away with $12 in cash after committing the robbery at 8:10 a.m. Thursday, but was detained and identified as the perpetrator just 15 minutes later, according to the police department's account of the incident.
“As the victim was walking on Frances Street near the area of Wolf Furniture,” Detective Thomas Keirn said during a press conference on Friday morning, “the subject came up behind him, pulled out a knife and demanded money.”
According to an affidavit of probable cause written by Keirn, the victim reported that the robber grabbed him by the shoulder and said: “Don’t turn around. Give me your money or I will stab you.” Despite that threat, the victim said, he turned around to face the robber and recognized him as a man he had walked past near Valley Dairy Restaurant a few minutes earlier, according to the affidavit.
The victim refused to give up his wallet, but took out $12 in cash and gave it to the robber, who then “took off running in the area, between the houses down there,” Keirn said.
Within 15 minutes of the robbery, a police officer spotted Hockensmith walking along Scalp Avenue, about two blocks away from the spot where the robbery took place, Keirn said.
Hockensmith was detained, and the victim was brought to the spot, where he “immediately made a positive ID of (Hockensmith) of the person who threatened him at knifepoint,” according to the affidavit. While Hockensmith had discarded his sweatshirt, the victim was still able to identify his black shorts and black shoes as those worn by the robber, according to the affidavit.
“I think it was basically a crime of opportunity,” Keirn said. “He saw this elderly gentleman, he passed by him and just figured that he would go up and get some money off him. … The suspect watched (the victim) walk out Frances Street, which is a quiet street. There’s not a lot of homes in the area this happened. You’ve got the bowling alley (Richland Lanes) on one side of the street and you have Wolf Furniture on the other, so it was kind of a boxed-in area. Nobody was going to see what he did in the exact area that he actually committed the offense.”
At some point between the robbery and his arrest, Hockensmith discarded the knife and the hooded sweatshirt he was wearing during the robbery, Keirn said. The stolen cash was not recovered when Hockensmith was arrested, the detective added.
Court documents indicate that Hockensmith has been charged with robbery, a second-degree felony, as well as misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, prohibited offensive weapons, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. His address is listed as “homeless” in court documents, but Keirn said on Friday that he resides in the 100 block of Kinamrok Street.
Hockensmith was arraigned on Thursday afternoon and remains confined at Cambria County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $30,000 bail, court documents indicate. His preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Aug. 21 before District Judge Susan M. Gindlesperger, of Stonycreek Township.