Armed Robber Sentenced to Over 14 Years in Prison for Committing Two February 2020 Armed Robberies of Bethlehem-Area Businesses
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Joshua Obed Altruz, 26, of Bethlehem, PA, was sentenced to 14 years and one month in prison, five years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and restitution by United States District Judge Edward G. Smith for committing two armed robberies on February 6, 2020.
In July 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to an Indictment charging him with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and two counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The charges stemmed from two incidents on the same afternoon last February: a robbery of the Taylor Family Fuel and Mini Mart, followed by a robbery of a Rite Aid pharmacy a few hours later. Each of the crimes were captured on surveillance, which ultimately enabled law enforcement to link the robberies back to the same assailant. In both videos, the defendant was seen wearing the same clothing, brandishing a distinctive two-tone black and brown semi-automatic Glock pistol, and fleeing the scene in a gold Honda Civic with tinted windows and an indentation on the driver side door.
Immediately after the second robbery at the pharmacy, Bethlehem Police Department officers responded to a call and conducted a traffic stop on a car matching the description above. The defendant was found in possession of the distinctive handgun, which was fully loaded with ten rounds of ammunition.
“This defendant brazenly robbed two neighborhood businesses, and for that he will now spend over fourteen years in prison,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Hopefully others will learn from the example set here -- if you rob a business in our District with a firearm, you are going to face serious federal prison time as a result. Our Office is committed to being ‘All Hands On Deck’ working with our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice.”
“Determined to score money and pills, Joshua Altruz committed two armed robberies in less than four hours,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He did so toting a fully loaded gun, which he pointedly showed his victims. Fortunately, Bethlehem police officers quickly saw and stopped Altruz’s vehicle, taking him into custody before he could target any other businesses. Getting violent criminals like this off the street is a priority for the FBI and our local law enforcement partners, as we all work our hardest to keep the public safe.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the City of Bethlehem Police Department and the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelly A. Lewis Fallenstein.