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Cameron County Man Charged with Carjacking and Use of a Firearm During Crime of Violence

September 5, 2012

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania today announced the return of a two-count indictment against Thomas Edward Smith, age 58, of Emporium, Pennsylvania. The indictment charges Smith with taking a motor vehicle by force and violence and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the indictment alleges that on August 8, 2012 Smith pretended to be working on a car parked along a street in Emporium and flagged down an employee of Citizens & Northern Bank. He entered the vehicle and pulled out a handgun. The indictment alleges that Smith then directed the victim to drive to the Citizens & Northern Bank branch in Emporium. Smith allegedly told the victim this would be “the worst day of her life,” that the victim and the bank had taken his house away from him in a bank foreclosure, and that the victim and another bank employee were now “going to pay for it,” or words to that effect. According to the indictment, the victim jumped out of the vehicle to escape from Smith, who then fled from the vehicle.

     On September 4, 2012, a federal complaint and arrest warrant issued charging Smith with taking a motor vehicle by force and violence and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and the federal warrant has been lodged as a detainer to keep Smith in custody pending his appearance in federal court. Smith is presently in custody on other, related state criminal violations filed in Cameron County following his arrest on September 3, 2012 in Emporium. The federal charges have been assigned to Judge Christopher C. Conner for trial.

     If convicted of all the charges alleged in the indictment, Smith faces a mandatory prison term of seven years and a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $500,000 fine.

     The case was investigated by the Emporium Borough Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Prosecution of this matter has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.

An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the Grand Jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged Defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

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