Meadville Tribune

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December 18, 2012

Man gets five to 10 for $36 robbery

CONNEAUT LAKE — A September daylight armed robbery of $36 has sent a Conneaut Lake man to state prison for the next five to 15 years.

Billy Joe Rash, 32, of 335 N. Second St., Conneaut Lake, was sentenced recently in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas by Judge John Spataro to five to 15 years in state prison for robbing a woman at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Conneaut Lake area restaurant.

However, Rash is scheduled to serve a total of six to 20 years in state prison as his robbery sentence begins after completion of a state-level sentence for driving under the influence.

Conneaut Lake Regional Police initially had charged Rash with robbery, simple assault, reckless endangerment and theft by unlawful taking for robbing the woman of $36 in the parking lot of the Silver Shores restaurant in Sadsbury Township.

Rash robbed the woman at gunpoint in the restaurant’s parking lot around 1:15 p.m. Sept. 4, and fled the area on foot while being chased by employees of the restaurant.

Conneaut Lake Regional Police officers along with restaurant employees and Pennsylvania State Police troopers located Rash in the 200 block of North Second Street of the borough about 15 minutes later.

On Nov. 1, Rash pleaded guilty in county court to one count of robbery in a plea deal with the Crawford County District Attorney’s Office.

Also on Nov. 1, Rash pleaded guilty to a DUI charge and resisting arrest charge filed by Meadville police for a separate incident July 17 in the city of Meadville.

Rash was given a state prison sentence of one to five years in jail on the DUI charge with a concurrent nine months to two year sentence on the resisting arrest charge. Rash also was ordered to pay $2,700 fines and court costs.

Rash received a state sentence on the DUI count because of two previous DUI convictions, both from 2002, according to court records. Under Pennsylvania law, DUI penalties increase with subsequent convictions.

Rash’s robbery sentence of five to 15 years in jail runs consecutive to his DUI sentence, according to county court records. He also was ordered to pay a $500 fine, court costs and $36 in restitution, according to court records.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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