CLEARFIELD – A 28-year-old Philipsburg man will spend up to 20 years in state prison for two local robberies.
Christopher Eric Gerald, 118 Verbeck Ln., Philipsburg, has pleaded guilty in Clearfield County Court to robbery and terroristic threats for crimes at the Nittany Minit Mart in Bigler and the Kwik Fill in Chester Hill, both in January. He was sentenced by Judge Paul E. Cherry to eight to 20 years in state prison. He was fined $4 plus costs and must pay restitution of $612.
Prior to his sentencing, he apologized.
According to testimony at the preliminary hearing in the Minit Mart case, the clerk said a man came up behind her while she was getting in the cooler. The man pressed something into her back and pushed her to the registers. He told her to open them and to give him all the money. Between the two registers, he received about $250.
She described the man as tall, wearing a puffy coat, a hood with skulls on it, dark jeans and a ninja turtle bandana around the lower part of his face. His eyes “looked like drug addict eyes”, she said.
He ordered her not to tell anyone or he would come back for her.
She was able to identify Gerald as the robber from a police photo line-up because his eyes stood out, she said. Gerald was also identified by others who saw photos taken from the surveillance camera footage. They all mentioned the sneakers worn by the robber were the same as ones Gerald always wore. When an officer talked to Gerald at his place of employment, he was wearing those same sneakers.
In the other case, during a preliminary hearing in February, the clerk testified that a man entered the station put “something into my side” and ordered him to give him all the money or he’d shoot him. He was told not to call anyone or the thief would come back and shoot him. The clerk admitted he was scared but he pushed a panic button and once the robber left, he called 911.
The thief, who was wearing a black coat, a hoodie with the hood up, jeans and a red bandana over the lower part of his face, got away with about $360. He had a white cloth over what appeared to be a gun.
These robberies were not Gerald’s first crimes. In January 2003 when he was only 19 years old, he pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 30 months to five years in state prison.