Police arrest would-be armed robber

HUGHESVILLE – A knife-wielding robber who bolted from the Uni-Mart on Main Street Wednesday morning after inadvertently removing his mask during the holdup soon was nabbed at his home on Lime Bluff Road, just west of the borough, according to state police.

Nearly a half dozen police officers converged at 127 Lime Bluff Road to take Jason Randall Spoeri into custody at his home just before 8 a.m.

Spoeri, 29, walked into the convenience store about 7:20 a.m., pulled out a large knife and demanded money from a female clerk,” Trooper Paul McGee alleged in an affidavit.

“Give me the money or I’ll kill you,” the robber told the clerk, who refused to cooperate and quickly shoved some bills in a safe, McGee said.

The bandit took a few steps forward and “took off the his hood and the cold-weather mask that was covering his face,” McGee said.

“I see your face. I can identify you,” the clerk told the man, who turned and bolted out the store, McGee said.

Another store employee who was outside shoveling snow “realized a robbery was in progress and followed the man in a foot pursuit. The employee saw the man get in a white Subaru Outback,” about a block from the store, McGee said. The employee also took note of the car’s registration, which McGee said came back to a resident at the Lime Bluff Road address.

Upon his arrest, Spoeri denied committing the holdup, but the store employee behind the counter positively identified him as the one who allegedly robbed her, McGee said. The second employee also identified Spoeri as the one he saw exit the store and get in an Outback.

After obtaining a search warrant for Spoeri’s home, police spent much of the day looking for evidence at the property. Police recovered some drug paraphernalia, including 10 syringes, McGee said.

Spoeri was arraigned before District Judge Jon E. Kemp on charges of robbery, terroristic threats, possession of an instrument of crime, prohibited offensive weapon, simple assault and theft. Although nothing was taken in the holdup, the last charge stem from his attempt to take money from the store, McGee said.

Spoeri was committed to Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Wednesday’s holdup was the fourth robbery at the business in almost as many months. The first one occurred on Oct. 12. A 20-year-old admitted heroin addict from the borough was arrested days later and charged with the robbery. He remains locked up at the county prison.

The two other robberies occurred on Dec. 4 and Jan. 22. No one has yet been charged in those cases.