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Teens Charged with Robbing Drug Store
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Chgarged as Adults


            Three local teenagers were arrested for Friday holding up a Pennsburg drug store at gunpoint two months ago. Two of the teens are juveniles, but will be tried as adults for their alleged roles in the robbery of the Rite Aid Pharmacy, located at 350 Main Street, Sept. 30.

            On Nov. 10, Jamie Lavin, a corporal with the Upper Perk Police Department, filed criminal charges against John Moran, 19 of Main Street in East Greenville, Noah Christopher Fresa, 17, of Geryville Pike in Marlborough, and Noah Alexandar Sankar, 15, of East Buck Road in Upper Hanover, over the weekend.

            Fresa is accused of using a black, Berretta BB gun to steal $172.72 from the store around 7:36 p.m. Sept. 30, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Police said he fled the scene with Moran and Sankar in his Acura CL, which was parked in the 200 block of West Side Alley in the borough behind Chiaro's Pizza.

            Earlier that day, the trio decided to rob the drug store because they needed money, law enforcement officials said. Sankar was directed to case the store, to make sure the coast was clear. Moran, who does not have a driver's license, was designated as the getaway driver.

            Sankar entered the store around 7:30 p.m., walked around for about five minutes and purchased candy before leaving. He can be seen on video surveillance using his cellphone. Fresa later admitted that Sankar was using Snapchat to communicate with him, according to court documents.

            One minute after Sankar left, Fresa entered the store with his face covered, pointed the gun at the cashier and demanded money. He removed the entire tray from the cash register and ran to the getaway car, court records state.

            After fleeing the scene and parking in the Upper Perkiomen Middle School parking lot, in East Greenville, they walked to a nearby house to purchase a half-ounce of marijuana with the money they stole, according to law enforcement officials.

            Later, they went to a wooded area near the intersection of Mill Hill and Ziegler roads in Upper Hanover where they burned the plaid shirt Fresa was wearing with gasoline and a lighter. Detectives who went with Fresa to the scene later found evidence of a fire and a water bottle partially filled with gasoline, according to court paperwork.

            During an investigation, police determined Fresa to be a suspect. Video surveillance set up by Lavin of Fresa, walking from the Upper Perkiomen High School to his car in the parking lot, displayed a distinct gait similar to the gun-wielding suspect, according to law enforcement officials.

            On Nov. 9, local and Montgomery County law enforcement officials seized the gun used in the robbery and Sankar's cell phone during a search of his residence. A similar search of Fresa's residence turned up his cell phone, as well as the black shirt and sunglasses he wore during the robbery, according to court records.

            Fresa faces 30 counts from the incident, including eight felony robbery counts, and 22 misdemeanor charges for theft, terroristic threats, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit simple assault, reckless engagement, possession of an instrument of crime, tampering with physical evidence and related conspiracy charges.

            Moran and Sankar are each charged with 28 criminal counts, including eight felony robbery charges and additional misdemeanor charges of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, making terroristic threats, simple assault, reckless endangerment, possession of an instrument of crime, evidence tampering and related conspiracy charges.

            Fresa and Sankar were arraigned Nov. 10 by District Judge Francis J. Bernhardt III and are being held in Chester County Jail, according to Kaitlyn Foti, Montgomery County's press secretary. She said juveniles who are awaiting adult court procedures are held in the neighboring county.

            "We do not house juveniles at Montgomery County Correctional Facility," she wrote in a Nov. 13 email.

            The judge set Fresa's bail at $25,000 monetary and Sankar's bail at $20,000 monetary.

            Moran was arraigned Nov. 11 by District Judge Harry J. Nesbitt III, who set his bail at $100,000 monetary, according to legal paperwork posted on the same website. The defendant was remanded to Montgomery County Jail.

            A preliminary hearing for Fresa and Sankar, before Hummel-Fried, is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 20. A hearing for Moran, before the same judge, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 28.

            The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office decided to charge the two juveniles as adults, according to legal documents filed by Lavin at the Red Hill court of District Judge Catherine Hummel-Fried.

            Pennsylvania's direct file law allows certain offenses, which do not come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for perpetrators 15 years of age or older – such as murder, aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter and attempt, conspiracy or solicitation to commit the above crimes – to be referred directly to criminal court for prosecution.





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