After state police made arrests in one of a string of five armed robberies in the area, a sixth holdup occurred Wednesday morning, this one at the Uni-Mart on North Main Street in Hughesville.
A knife-wielding man, believed to have a mask over his face, held up a clerk at the convenience store just before 8 a.m. and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, police were told.
"We are following up on investigative leads," Trooper Paul McGee said.
No one was injured and no other details were released.
Among the six robberies was a holdup at the Econo Lodge in Loyalsock Township, where a guest was robbed at gunpoint in his motel room early Sunday morning, police reported Wednesday afternoon.
The holdup in Hughesville comes on the heels of state and city police taking Marcus Walker, 20, of 2344 W. Fourth St., and 17-year-old Casey Nathaniel Wilson, of 158 S. Broad St., Hughesville, into custody at Walker's home and charging them with allegedly robbing the night manager of the Pizza Hut on East Third Street on Friday night.
The holdup began when night manager Justice Leidhecker "heard some rattling" on the back door about 11:20 p.m., shortly after the last employee had left the Loyalsock Township business, Trooper Tyson Havens said.
When he went to investigate, Leidhecker opened the door and was "met with a masked man who held two handguns to his face," Havens said in an affidavit.
The manager, alone at the restaurant, attempted to slam and lock the door, but the gunman "blocked the door (from closing) with his right arm," Havens said investigators were told.
Leidhecker then confronted the man face-to-face and started wrestling with him in the parking lot, Havens said.
The manager "tackled" the bandit in an attempt to "incapacitate him," Havens said, but a second masked man suddenly appeared in the parking lot and put a gun to Leidhecker's head, forcing him to let go of the man.
The gunmen then stole the manager's cellphone and the cash out of his wallet before they "forced him back into the restaurant and threatened to kill him if he didn't comply," Haven said.
The two men fled with cash from the business, and Leidhecker suffered only scratches to his knees and elbows, Havens said.
Store video recorded the robbery, and investigators received a tip that led them to believe that Walker may have been involved in the holdup, Havens said.
Walker, who is on probation and has prior drug and shoplifting arrests, was taken into custody early Tuesday afternoon and automatically jailed on the probation violation of failing to report to his probation officer, Havens said.
After getting a search warrant, police seized from Walker's home items they believe were used in the holdup or taken during the robbery, including stolen bank bags, restaurant receipts, clothing worn in the robbery and three replica handguns.
Police also interviewed at length Walker's wife, Kristina Houseweart, who told investigators that, in July, she was present when her husband and a second male talked about robbing the Pizza Hut at 1729 E. Third St.
The two males planned to "wait until the employees had left the store and rob the night manager when he left with the night deposit," the woman told police.
Houseweart also told police that about four hours after the holdup, Walker and Wilson came to the couple's West Fourth Street apartment and "removed a large amount of cash from their pants pockets, and Walker allowed his wife to count the money," Havens said.
Houseweart asked her husband if he robbed Pizza Hut and he said no, Havens said.
Shortly after Walker was taken into custody, Wilson showed up at the apartment and also was arrested. He was arraigned before District Judge James C. Carn on charges of robbery, aggravated and simple assault, burglary, felony trespassing, theft, receiving stolen property and possession of heroin.
Police said the teen had in his possession 11 bags of heroin. He was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $350,000 bail.
Walker was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Gary A. Whiteman on similar charges, minus the drug offense, and recommitted in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Concerning the robbery at the Econo Lodge at 2019 E. Third St., a 36-year-old Camden, N.J., man reported three masked gunmen entered his guest room and stole about $900 from him, fleeing in a dark blue Nissan about 7:15 a.m. Sunday.
Locations of other robberies police are trying to solve include:
Domino's Pizza, 1851 Route 405, Muncy Creek Township, where a masked man armed with two knives held up a 26-year-old female clerk and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash about 10 p.m. Monday.
Uni-Mart, Market Street and Southern Avenue, South Williamsport, where a masked gunman fled about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14.
GameStop at Lycoming Crossing near Pennsdale, where a masked man armed with a knife fled about 9 p.m. Jan. 13.