New Castle Man Pleads Guilty in Lawrence and Mercer County Robbery Spree
PITTSBURGH – A former resident of New Castle, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to robbery charges, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Eric Barbati, age 32, pleaded guilty to four counts of Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of bank robbery before United States District Judge David Cercone.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Eric Barbati robbed four convenience stores and two banks over a three-week period across Lawrence County, PA. Barbati committed the following convenience store robberies:
- August 26, 2017 – BFS Foods Convenience Store, New Castle, PA
- August 31, 2017 – Red Apple Convenience Store, New Castle, PA
- September 4, 2017 – Market 24 Convenience Store, New Castle, PA
- September 17, 2017 – Market 24 Convenience Store, New Castle, PA
In each robbery, Barbati approached the teller at the store while holding a Mountain Dew bottle. When the teller went to give Barbati change for his purchase, Barbati would forcefully take money from the drawer or the entire cash drawer and flee from the store.
Barbati also robbed the PNC Bank in Hermitage, PA on September 5, 2017 and the Huntington Bank in New Wilmington, PA on September 11, 2017. At the PNC Bank robbery, Barbati approached the teller and stated, "This is a robbery, place all your money on the counter," and then received approximately $2,702 in U.S. currency before fleeing the bank. At the Huntington Bank robbery, Barbati passed a note to the teller stating, "This is a robbery, put all your money on the counter," then received approximately $1,641 in U.S. currency before fleeing the bank.
Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for July 23, 2018. The law provides for a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior record, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Timothy M. Lanni is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hermitage Police Department, the New Wilmington Borough Police Department, the New Castle Police Department, and the Neshannock Township Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the guilty plea in this case.