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One Robbery Suspect Headed to Rehab; Other Hopes to be Tried as Minor
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            A District Justice added several non-monetary conditions to the bail for two of the three teens accused of holding up a Pennsburg drug store during a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

            John Moran, 19, of Main Street in East Greenville and Noah Christopher Fresa, 17, of Geryville Pike in Marlborough waived their rights to a hearing before District Judge Catherine Hummel Fried.

            The judge changed the financial condition of Moran's bail from $100,000 secured to $100,000 unsecured in order to allow him to seek treatment for drug addiction.

            "My client is going into a rehab (today)," Harleysville attorney Erik Peterson said after the hearing.

            A ruling by the judge will require Moran to wear a monitoring device upon his release from rehabilitation for the duration of the trial.

            Hummel Fried, at the request of the prosecutor, also ordered both defendants to have no contact with any victims or witnesses related to the Sept. 30 incident; to stay away from the Rite Aid Pharmacy at 350 Main St. and the Dunkin Donuts at 400 Main St.; and to make no contact with co-defendants during the pre-trial proceeding.

            Fresa faces 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 is charged with eight felony robbery charges and 20 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.

            The prosecution has agreed to charge the third defendant, a 15-year-old boy from Upper Hanover, as a juvenile, according to Bridget Gallagher, an assistant district attorney with the Montgomery County DA's Office. Gallagher only identified the suspect, who did not attend the hearing, by his initials and date of birth.

            Fresa – who was released from jail after posting a $25,000 monetary bail on Nov. 13 – will file a motion in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court to decertify the charges and be charged as a juvenile in approximately 60 days, according to attorney David H. Knight. The lawyer said it shouldn't be a "hard sell" since his client has no previous criminal history and is remorseful for his actions.

            "[Fresa] feels terrible," said Knight, a Pennsburg attorney.

            According to Gallagher, the prosecution will oppose the motion since Fresa is the person most responsible for the robbery.

            "He was the one holding the gun," she said.

            Fresa is accused of using a black, Berretta BB gun to steal $172.72 from the Rite Aid Pharmacy around 7:36 p.m. Sept. 30, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Police said he fled the scene with Moran and the 15-year-old 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. The 15-year-old 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.

            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.

            The three then purchased a half-ounce of marijuana with the money they stole, according to law enforcement officials.

            During the hearing Gallagher described Moran – handcuffed and shackled, wearing a red prison jumpsuit and accompanied by two Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputies – as the least culpable of the three defendants.

            After the hearing, she stated that Moran has cooperated with the police. Gallagher also said some his actions have been fueled by a drug addiction.

            "I believe you could say the same things for the other two defendants," the prosecutor said.

            A formal arraignment for Moran and Fresa in Norristown has been scheduled for Jan. 17.





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