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Updated 45 minutes ago
A pair of armed robberies in Carnegie have borough leaders concerned, as crime statistics fell throughout the previous year in the community.
On Feb. 1 at approximately 9:30 p.m., a man entered the BP gas station, 365 E. Main St., and demanded an undisclosed amount of cash.
Just three days later, the same gas station was robbed in the evening.
“It is uncharacteristic,” Mayor Jack Kobistek said. “The pattern has been, for the past four years, that crime in our community has dropped dramatically by double digits.”
The last armed robbery occurred three years ago at the Family Dollar store, Kobistek said.
There is an arrest warrant out for George Seaton, the suspect in the first BP robbery, police Chief Jeffrey Kennedy said.
“We identified him (through) a picture ... and a detective came out with some other evidence against him,” Kennedy said. “We were familiar with him.”
The effort to solve the second robbery has been a little more complicated. Kennedy called the crime a gutsy move by the offender.
The robbery occurred on Feb. 4, a Saturday, around 7:30 p.m. The gas station was busy, and a large number of customers were entering and exiting. A police unit was parked a block away.
Every Saturday night, the department has three cars patrolling the borough, with a focus on the business district, Kennedy said.
“We got some bad information from a witness who said the guy had entered a car, so we were looking for a car,” Kennedy said. “We found later on cameras that he had walked past a car, so we were looking for the wrong thing at first.”
That investigation is ongoing. So is the borough's plan to make the community safer.
“We ask all the businesses to review their security measures and make sure they are doing everything to protect their business,” Kobistek said. “We'd be more than happy to sit down with any business owner, or any concerned citizen. Our door is always open.
“When you see anything strange or out of the ordinary, alert authorities. We'll be there quickly. After these two (robberies), we are personally committed to making sure our downtown is as safe as it always has been.”
Kennedy said Seaton was seen pacing outside the BP for 20 minutes before carrying out the robbery.
Kennedy said robberies oftentimes are related to drugs.
“The heroin epidemic is the catalyst for 80 to 90 percent of these armed robberies,” Kobistek said. “It's because people want to get quick money and a quick fix for their drug habit.”
In 2016, Kobistek said burglaries were down 29 percent and thefts were down 33 percent.
There were seven overdose deaths last year.
“It's way too high, but when you compare our community to others, we're blessed in the big picture,” Kobistek said.
Measures to keep all residents protected can be simple, Kennedy and Kobistek agreed. Something as easy as locking car doors can prevent crimes anywhere.
“If you're parking your vehicle, lock it,” Kobistek said. “People aren't doing smash-and-grabs because it's too easy to find unlocked vehicles. We always need people to be vigilant.”
Matthew Peaslee is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.
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