Robbery Suspects Were Looking for Money, Thrills
Four Bethlehem area teens arrested for string of convenience store robberies. All will face multiple felony counts as adults.
Four teenagers are in Northampton County Prison, charged with pulling off a string of five armed robberies at city 7-Elevens and a Rudy’s Car Wash & Mart in Palmer Township over a four-day span beginning Saturday.
The fourth suspect, Isaiah Barker, 17, of 725A Ramblewood Lane, Freemansburg, was apprehended Wednesday evening by Allentown police during a “rooftop foot chase,” according to the Bethlehem Police Department’s Twitter feed.
Asked why, Ashley Horning, 17, of 1345 Beverly Ave., Bethlehem, told police: “It was for the money and the thrill,” according to court papers.
Also arrested were Luis Enrique Ortiz, 19, of 618 Atlantic St., Bethlehem, and Ashley Eskaff, 17, of 1919 Catasauqua Road, Bethlehem.
According to court papers, Horning and Eskaff admitted to police that they would go into the targeted stores before the robberies to scout them for customers and the location of video surveillance cameras, then bring the information back to Barker and Ortiz, who would hold up store clerks for cash and cigarettes.
Usually, the girls would buy some candy and walk out before the stickup, they told police. However, in one case – a 2 a.m. Sunday robbery of the 7-Eleven at 1362 Catasauqua Road – Eskaff and Horning remained inside and pretended to be victims and ran screaming out of the store, Eskaff told police.
That was the fourth robbery alleged to have been committed by the group of teens.
The group is also accused of robbing the 7-Eleven at 2930 Linden St at a little before 4 a.m. Saturday; the 7-Eleven at 1426 W. Broad St. at a little before 10 p.m. Saturday, and again at a little after midnight on Tuesday.
Eskaff told detectives that they didn’t believe they would get caught, the arrest affidavit says. “After we got away with the first robbery, we wanted to do more robberies,” Eskaff said during the interview.
The first robbery took place at the Rudy’s at 2500 Northampton St. in Palmer Township late Friday night.
Horning told police that they were out late at night driving, were bored and decided they needed money, the court papers say. Horning and Eskaff went inside to find the video camera locations, determine how many customers were inside, bought some candy and left.
A few moments later, Barker and Ortiz charged inside brandishing BB pellet guns and demanding cash and cigarettes.
All four teens are charged with five counts of robbery, six counts of criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, five counts of theft and five counts of receiving stolen property.
Barker and Ortiz are also charged with five counts each of simple assault, terroristic threats and possessing the instruments of a crime.
Though three of the defendants are minors, all are being charged as adults. The case is also being consolidated under the jurisdiction of Northampton County Court even though three of the robberies took place in West Bethlehem in Lehigh County.
Eskaff, Horning and Ortiz were arraigned before District Judge Roy Manwaring of Bethlehem, who set bail at $100,000 for each of them.
Barker was likely to be arraigned before night duty District Judge James Narlesky following his evening capture.