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SHARON Man suspected in 2 robberies dies in cop chase



Published: Mon, May 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Sharon police spotted the suspect's car just six minutes after the donut shop robbery.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- Police said the man who was killed fleeing police after robbing the Dunkin' Donuts shop in Hermitage on Sunday also had robbed McQuaid's Sunoco in Farrell on Friday.

William E. Mathews, 31, whose last known address was on Malleable Street, died after the car he was driving slammed into a metal utility pole at Cedar Avenue and George Street shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Police Chief Raymond Greene said Mathews was identified as the man who walked into the Dunkin' Donuts shop, 3860 E. State St., at 2:58 a.m. and demanded money.

Hermitage police said the robber told clerks that he had a gun and would shoot them. They gave him a small amount of cash from the register and he fled the scene in a light-blue Honda.

Spotted by police: Sharon police spotted the car six minutes later sitting in the parking lot at McQuaid's Sunoco at 1050 Division St. on the Sharon-Farrell border, Greene said.

The car had its parking lights on but, when a Sharon cruiser pulled into the lot, the car turned on its lights and drove out, headed west on Division Street, Greene said.

The Sharon officer followed and was able to read the first three letters of the license plate -- DAA-- which matched that of a car reported taken from an Ellis Avenue, Hermitage, residence without permission earlier in the evening.

Greene said the officer tried to stop the car by turning on his overhead lights, but the driver refused to stop. The car went west on French Street, running a stop sign at Stambaugh Avenue at a speed of about 35 or 40 mph and then went north on Cedar Avenue.

It began to accelerate and failed to make a left turn at George Street, slamming into a utility pole, Greene said, noting the Sharon cruiser was at least 100 feet behind it at the time.

The impact demolished the car, and Sharon firefighters had to be called to the scene to free Mathews from the wreckage, he said.

Mathews was pronounced dead at Sharon Regional Health System. An autopsy was to be done today to determine the cause of death, Greene said.

Identified in earlier robbery: He said a photo from the robbery at McQuaid' s on Friday matched Mathews, as did the physical description of the robber and the words, "Don't make me shoot you," which were used in both the McQuaid's and Dunkin' Donuts robberies, Greene said.

The money found in his pocket matched the amount taken from Dunkin' Donuts, Hermitage police said.

Mathews also matched the description of a would-be carjacker who unsuccessfully confronted a Sharon motorist at Cedar Avenue and French Street on Thursday, Greene said.

Convictions: Mathews was no stranger to local law enforcement.

In 1991, he pleaded guilty to robbing the Dairy Mart store on Division Street and pleaded guilty last year to a strong-arm robbery at State Street and Oakland Avenue, Greene said. Police did not have information about the sentencing in the latter robbery conviction.




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