Robert L. Watkins III

Robert L. Watkins III

A Meadville man was arrested at a Rockdale Township home on a warrant from Allegheny County in connection with a Thanksgiving robbery of a convenience store and gas station.

Robert L. Watkins III, 32, was taken into custody by Pennsylvania State Police at Meadville around 9:20 p.m. Sunday at a home on Cherry Hill Road in Rockdale Township where troopers were serving an arrest warrant on Watkins from the Bridgeville Police Department.

Watkins is charged by Bridgeville Police Department with robbery, attempted robbery with threat of immediate serious bodily injury, terroristic threats, simple assault, attempted theft by unlawful taking and retail theft for the Nov. 24 holdup of a 7-Eleven convenience store at 449 Railroad St., Bridgeville, which is south of Pittsburgh.

Bridgeville Police Department had posted requests for information on Watkins' whereabouts on the internet, including on the department's own page on Facebook. The posting even had a request from the Bridgeville Police Department's chief that taunted Watkins.

"If one of his 'friends' would be kind enough to pass this on we'd appreciate it," the post read in part. "Note to Robert: you will probably be reading this post within a few hours after it is released. The same way you did with the original armed robbery post, as you were holed up, hiding, in that apartment with people that you thought were your friends."

"We have the video of you changing your clothes before, and after, the robbery," the Facebook post continued. "We have you stashing your clothes, your fingerprints were on the counter you slammed and, best of all, your hat is full of your DNA. You have the option to turn yourself in. Contact us as listed above. It's only a matter of time before we find you. Make it easier on yourself now, because we WILL find you."

Watkins was in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas on Monday to enter guilty pleas to two counts and be sentenced Judge John Spataro in connection with a burglary case filed by state police at Meadville for an incident Aug. 1. Watkins pleaded guilty to summary counts of criminal mischief damaged property and public drunkenness for an incident that took place in Vernon Township. Watkins also had been charged with burglary and criminal trespass, but those charges were dropped by the Crawford County District Attorney's Office in exchange for the guilty pleas.

Watkins was sentenced to serve three months probation with 15 days jail credit, pay $200 in fines plus court costs.

Watkins was then transferred to Allegheny County Monday afternoon to be arraigned on the charges filed by Bridgeville Police Department.

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

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