Gunman robs store, is arrested

An admitted heroin addict was jailed late Sunday night on charges of allegedly robbing a female clerk hours earlier at Puff’s Discount Tobacco, 937 Arch St., city police said.

Taken into custody with minutes after the 3:07 p.m. holdup, Dakota James Taylor, 18, later confessed to committing the robbery, according to an affidavit filed by Patrolman Brian J. McGee.

During an interview at police headquarters, Taylor “began to sob and stated that his motive for robbing the store was because his family was poor and that he was addicted to heroin,” McGee said in the court document.

Wearing all black clothing and a face mask, a man walked into the business, pointed a gun at a clerk and told her, “Give me all the money. Open the register now,” McGee said police were told.

After removing cash from the register, the gunman demanded a money bag that he spotted in a drawer behind the counter, McGee said.

“The clerk removed the money bag from the drawer and handed the suspect all the money in the bag. The man then threw the gun in a garbage can inside the store,” McGee said.

The robber then bolted from the store.

It turned out the gun was a BB gun, McGee said. However, the clerk told police, “I thought it was a real gun.”

Witnesses reported seeing a man dressed all in black remove his clothing and ditch the articles into a garbage can at the back of a house in the 2100 block of West Fourth Street.

Patrolman Joseph Ananea, one of a team of officers to swarm to the area, spotted the suspect walk from between two homes and detained him. The man, later identified as Taylor, of 912 Diamond St., had a large amount of cash in his right front pants pocket.

In addition to the stolen cash, police also recovered the black clothing from the garbage can as well as the gun inside the store.

Taylor was arraigned about 10 p.m. before District Judge Jon E. Kemp on charges of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, simple assault, possession of instruments of crime, tampering with physical evidence and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“We can’t have people going into establishments and threatening to use firearms,” Kemp told Taylor when he set bail at $250,000.

Unable to post it, Taylor was committed to the Lycoming County Prison.