The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 13, 2013

Bank robbery suspect held

Patrick Buchnowski
pbuchnowski@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — The Ebensburg man accused of robbing a bank in Armagh on Tuesday said he did it because he needed money to feed his kids, authorities said.

State police in Indiana charged Jeffrey Pellegrino, 45, of the 100 block of Clara Street, with robbery, aggravated assault and theft.

In a criminal complaint, troopers said a heavyset man wearing a mask entered the S&T Bank branch in Armagh around 10:30 a.m., pulled out a knife and demanded money.

Tellers placed “bait” money and a dye pack in a bag and the robber fled.

Troopers said a man fitting the description robbed First National Bank in Cresson on Wednesday.

Investigators were able to identify Pellegrino after a witness saw the license plate number of a black Nissan fleeing the Cresson bank.

Investigators traced the plate number to Pellegrino’s mother.

Pellegrino was being interviewed at the state police barracks in Ebensburg Thursday when he confessed to robbing the bank in Armagh, troopers said.

“I was desperate. I had no money for food for my kids,” Pellegrino said, according to the complaint. “I thought about killing myself Monday night. I had a hose hooked up to my exhaust but I just could not do it.”

Pellegrino said he targeted the Armagh bank because it was small.

“I felt so bad. The one lady was crying,” he said.

“I told her that I wouldn’t hurt her. “I even cried on the way home.”

Troopers at the Indiana barracks said they found the money bag near the bank and recovered the money after the dye pack had exploded.

Charges were filed Thursday before District Judge Guy Haberl of Indiana. Pellegrino is being held in the Indiana County Jail.

He is expected to be charged in the Cresson bank robbery. Borough police, state police and the FBI are investigating.



Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.