From left: Damon Gergely, Lindsay Vasko and Bennie Carter. (Photos courtesy McKeesport and West Mifflin police.)
Three people face charges in connection with convenience store robberies in Dravosburg and West Mifflin.
And police say at least seven similar holdups in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties are being investigated.
"We anticipate additional robbery charges will be filed," West Mifflin police Chief Kenneth Davies said in a prepared statement.
Damon M. Gergely, 24, of North Huntingdon Twp. is charged by McKeesport police with robbery, theft by unlawful taking, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy in connection with the Oct. 22 holdup at the Spee-D Mart on Richland Avenue, police said.
In a prepared statement, McKeesport police said Lindsay S. Vasko, 25, of Duquesne also faces charges of criminal conspiracy in connection with the Dravosburg robbery.
Jail records indicate that Vasko was arrested Thursday afternoon. Court records also list an address for Vasko in North Huntingdon. According to her posts on Facebook, she is Gergely's cousin.
In their release, McKeesport police said the other robberies in the Mon-Yough area are being investigated by their department in cooperation with West Mifflin, North Huntingdon and Delmont police and the Westmoreland County District Attorney's Office.
Davies said that Gergely are Vasko are considered possible suspects in those robberies, along with a third person, Bennie Carter, 52, of West Mifflin.
West Mifflin police said that on Oct. 13, someone robbed the R&M Variety Store on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Gergely is charged by West Mifflin police in connection with that incident with two counts each of robbery and theft by unlawful taking and one count of criminal conspiracy; also charged are Vasko, with robbery, theft by unlawful taking and criminal conspiracy; and Carter, with two counts of robbery and one count each of theft by unlawful taking and criminal conspiracy.
All three face preliminary hearings on the West Mifflin charges Nov. 16 before Magisterial District Judge Richard D. Olasz Jr., while a preliminary hearing on the Dravosburg charges is scheduled for the same day at Olasz's office.
The investigation "was greatly enhanced by the cooperation of the media (and) the public," Davies said.
Court records indicate Vasko was arraigned Thursday night and is currently being held in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bond. Gergely was arraigned early Friday morning and is being held in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $30,000 cash bond.
Carter was arrested by West Mifflin police Wednesday night and faces additional charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, driving with a suspended license, possession of controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, aggravated assault, reckless endangement, hindering apprehension or prosecution, resisting arrest and an open-container violation.
He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bond, according to court records.
Originally published November 10, 2017.