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Jersey Shore man allegedly robbed store

JERSEY SHORE – A Jersey Shore man is facing charges for allegedly robbing a store in the borough and leading police on a chase throughout wintery conditions, according to Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police.

Jess Lee Rauch, 44, allegedly stole around $150 from Smokers’ Express at 350 Allegheny St. at around 7:15 a.m. Thursday morning, according to Justin Segura, a Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police patrolman.

No one was injured in the robbery, according to Segura.

An employee at Smoker’s Express told police Rauch allegedly had his hand in his sweatshirt pocket and acted as if he had a gun when he demanded money, according to Segura.

When the employee asked if he Rauch was serious, Rauch allegedly told her, “Yes, give me all the money,” according to Segura.

The employee allegedly handed Rauch all the money in the register; a combination of one-, five- and ten-dollar bills that totaled around $150, according to Segura.

Afterward, the employee said Rauch allegedly fled onto Tomb Avenue before turning onto McClintock Alley.

A man matching the description of the robber was seen allegedly getting into a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked two blocks west of the store, according to Segura.

Segura said a volunteer firefighter who had heard the clothing description of the bandit over a police radio stopped an officer on the street and pointed to the SUV, telling the cop he just saw the suspect get in the vehicle.

“Officers yelled for Rauch to exit his vehicle but Rauch failed to comply with officers’ orders. Rauch then started his vehicle and took off,” Segura said.

Rauch allegedly led police west onto McClintock Alley. Segura allegedly parked his car on Depot Street with his emergency lights and sirens on, however Rauch allegedly blew past him–and a stop sign–at the intersection of Depot Street and Allegheny Street.

“[At a high rate of speed], Rauch passed several vehicles and pedestrians walking on Allegheny Street,” Segura said.

Segura also noted school had been canceled due to winter conditions, and the roads were covered in snow. He also said officers had a hard time pursuing due to slippery conditions on the road.

After allegedly failing to stop at the intersection of Mount Pleasant Avenue and Thompson Street, Rauch turned east onto Locust Street and continued at a high rate of speed, according to Segura.

Rauch then allegedly crossed over Wilson Street, South Broad Street and South Main Street, once more failing to stop at the intersections, before turning south onto Front Street and east onto Arch Street.

Rauch allegedly fled on foot after leaving his vehicle onto Arch Street before police apprehended him under a foldout table behind a residence on the 400 block of South Main Street.

As the officer approached the Jeep, the driver sped off. A second officer joined in the vehicle pursuit, which eventually ended in the 100 block of Arch Street.

On Arch Street, the driver, later identified as Rauch, jumped out and took off on foot, but he was soon caught hiding under a table in a nearby yard.

Rauch allegedly ditched the cash he allegedly stole from the store, but it was recovered near him, Segura said.

Segura said Rauch had been apprehended within 15 minutes of the alleged holdup.

District Judge Jerry Lepley arraigned Rauch on charges of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property, fleeing police, recklessly endangering a person, simple assault, possession of drug paraphernalia, not driving at a safe speed and failing to observe a stop sign.

Lepley set bail to $150,000, and unable to post, Rauch will remain in the Lycoming County Prison until his preliminary hearing before Lepley on March 3.

Sun-Gazette reporter Philip A. Holmes contributed to this story.

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