When Gaylene Reynolds headed off to her job at the Family Dollar on Lycoming Creek Road Monday morning, she never anticipated what awaited her. Just minutes after Reynolds opened the doors, an armed gunman entered the store and demanded money. The man later would say that he committed the crime for money because of his addiction to opiate pain killers.
Chadwic Timothy Moriarty, 25, of 497 Tombs Run Road, Jersey Shore, has been charged with robbery, possessing instruments of crime, theft, receiving stolen property, simple assault, false imprisonment, harassment, criminal mischief and possessing a small amount of marijuana.
According to police, Moriarty entered the store just a few moments after Reynolds opened for business. He was wearing a camo sweatshirt, tan cargo pants, a knit hat, sunglasses and a blue bandanna to conceal his face, records state.
As he entered, he locked the doors behind him, trapping Reynolds inside, according to police.
Moriarty allegedly displayed a gun and demanded Reynolds give him money. However, the sight of the weapon scared the woman so badly, she was unable to open the doors to the registers, according to police.
Moriarty became frustrated and set his gun down on the counter, records state, then allegedly opened the drawers himself and collected the $297 inside.
While the alleged gunman was distracted, Reynolds managed to grab the weapon off the counter. Once Moriarty realized what had taken place, the pair began to struggle for control of the weapon, records state.
"When he saw that she had the gun, a struggle ensued, and they began to fight over it. She got knocked to the ground. At the same time, she's got her cellphone in her hand and she's trying to call 911," said Sergeant Christopher Kriner, of Old Lycoming Township police.
Police say that Moriarty managed to break the cellphone, preventing Reynolds from contacting help. Soon after, he fled out the back door of the business, records state.
Police dogs followed Moriarty's scent to a nearby creek. About an hour after the alleged robbery, deputies from the Lycoming County Sheriff's Office found Moriarty roaming in Wildwood Cemetery.
He had the $279 on him at the time of his arrest, records state.
Once in custody, Moriarty readily admitted his crime, Kriner said.
During Moriarty's afternoon arraignment before District Judge Gary Whiteman, Kriner mentioned that Moriarty had cooperated with police after his arrest and even lead officers to where he had hidden his weapon and the clothes he was wearing during the robbery.
The gun itself turned out to be a replica. According to Kriner, it was a Walther CP99 compact 4.5 mm air gun. While an air gun may not be as dangerous as an ordinary compact handgun, Kriner said it could easily be mistaken for a more dangerous weapon due to its black paint job.
"It looked just like a real weapon," Kriner said.
Moriarty allegedly told police he needed to money to purchase more Percosets, a prescription opiate pain killer.
"He said he has a problem with pills and that's why he did it," Kriner said.
Kriner noted that many addicts begin their opiate addictions with prescription pills, before turning to harder substances like heroin
"He's one of the ones that hasn't made the jump yet," Kriner said.
During his arraignment, Moriarty again blamed his actions on his addiction, and tearfully admitted he is hoping to find treatment for his problems.
"That [treatment] may very well be a by-product of this, but this is kind of a poor way to get started," Whiteman said.
"I wish you the best of luck in your treatment and hope that you get the help you need. However, I also hope you understand the consequences of your actions this morning," Whiteman added.
Moriarty is incarcerated in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Reynolds, who suffered injuries to her head and arms, was taken to the Williamsport Regional Medical Center where she has been treated and released.