After allegedly committing three armed robberies in the region during a six-day period last month, admitted heroin addict Jess David Keck slipped up during his fourth robbery by leaving his cellphone at the crime scene, state police said.
Jailed since Oct. 15 when he was charged with robbing the Uni-Mart at 1944 W. Fourth St. on Oct. 12, Keck, of 43 Scouten Hill Road, Wellsboro, was arraigned Tuesday at the Lycoming County Prison on charges of committing the other holdups.
Keck made no remarks as District Judge Gary A. Whiteman read the latest set of charges that state police filed against him.
In court documents, police said Keck committed his first holdup on Oct. 7 when he walked into the Nittany Minit Mart at 1450 E. Third St., demanded cash from the clerk and fled with $232.
Three days later, the 28-year-old man allegedly held up a clerk at the Cigarettes Outlet - Smokes to Go store at 1930 Lycoming Creek Road and fled with just over $1,000, according to an affidavit. Theholdup was investigated by Old Lycoming Township police, but they are consolidating their charges with the state police.
Investigators allege that on Oct. 12, two days after the robbery in Old Lycoming Township, Keck committed the holdup at the Uni-Mart in the city's Newberry neighborhood, fleeing with cash and lottery tickets.
On the afternoon of Oct. 14, a man, later identified as Keck, pulled a gun on a clerk at another Cigarettes Outlet - Smokes to Go store, this one at 1725 E. Third St. In addition to selling tobacco, the store also is a check-cashing business.
The bandit put a gun to the clerk's head and said, "Hand over the money. If you don't, I'm going to shoot you in the head," a trooper wrote in an affidavit.
The robber fled with just over $2,100, police said. However, one piece of evidence was left behind - a cellphone.
As police were questioning the clerk and gathering evidence at the store, a man pulled into the parking lot in a pickup truck, got out and tried to recover a cell phone at the store. The driver, identified as Keck, told police he had left it in the store when he purchased cigarettes hours earlier.
A cellphone was indeed on the counter, but the store clerk said it was not there before the robbery, police said.
Unable to get his cellphone, Keck started to leave. He got back in his truck, but before he could pull away, officers stopped him and placed him in "investigatory detention" by handcuffing him and putting him in the back seat of a police cruiser.
Employees at Pizza Hut, located just next door, also came forward and told officers that the same man had spent considerable time hours earlier sitting in his pickup truck in an adjoining parking lot. The employees said the man was seen earlier dumping items in a nearby Dumpster, police said.
Police recovered from the Dumpster lottery tickets that were stolen from the Uni-Mart. From Keck's truck, officers found a hat, a coat and a pair of gloves. Investigators said the clerk in the last holdup believed those articles were used in the store robbery.
Heck was arraigned on additional charges of robbery, terroristic threats, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault, theft, receiving stolen property and carrying a firearm without a license. Already incarcerated in lieu of $500,000 bail, he was recommitted in lieu of an additional $250,000 bail.