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ELLWOOD CITY, PA. Robbery suspects arrested



Published: Fri, May 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Wednesday.

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. -- Police say they have arrested and charged two people accused of holding an Ellwood City family at gunpoint and taking their money.

Mitchell Clayton Coulter, 17, of Ellwood City has been charged as an adult with one count of burglary, three counts each of robbery and terroristic threats and four counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault. Police had no street address for him.

Shawn Paul Lapenta, 28, of Sewickley Street, Ellwood City, faces charges of burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats, receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful disposition, criminal conspiracy to commit burglary and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. He is in the Beaver County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Police said Coulter has been in the Allencrest Juvenile Detention Center in Beaver County on unrelated charges. He was sent back to Allencrest on $100,000 bond after his arraignment in this matter Wednesday.

Allegation: Police said Coulter, LaPenta and a third person who has not been arrested went into a Franklin Avenue home and robbed a family a gunpoint April 21. The people living in the home waited about a week to report it to police because they recognized the men and feared retaliation.

According to police, a 44-year-old man, awakened by noises at 3 a.m., found three masked gunmen in his house. One of the gunmen pistol whipped him as the other gunmen approached three other people, who were sleeping, and demanded money.

They took a 19-year-old man to the basement and demanded he open a safe. An 86-year-old woman and 17-year-old were also in the house. Police did not specify the gender of the 17-year-old.

The family members told police the gunmen threatened them and took them into the living room where they again demanded cash and other items.

Police said the gunmen took the 86-year-old woman's purse. The purse was found a few days later near railroad tracks on Second Street with most of its contents gone.

Lt. David Kingston said police are still investigating the third person believed to be involved in the robbery. That person has not been arrested or charged, he said.

Preliminary hearings for LaPenta and Coulter are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at District Justice Samuel Battaglia's office in Ellwood City.




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