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Robbery suspects heading to trial

Following preliminary hearings for Eric. M. Sager Sr. of Hollidaysburg and James P. Schaltenbrand, 20, of Pittsburgh, District Magistrate Fred Miller felt the commonwealth showed sufficient evidence to schedule both men for trial on robbery and conspiracy charges.
A third defendant, Jay Andrew Szramowski, 25, of Pittsburgh, waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
The trio is accused of robbing a number of Blair County convenience stores in the late part of November and early part of December.
A trial date has not yet been set.
According to police, the robbery spree came to an abrupt halt on Dec. 9 when Blair Township police officer Jeremy Hetrick was conducting late evening surveillance at a Uni-Mart store located in Duncansville.
According to the criminal police complaint, a male later identified as Szramowki, was observed entering the store and approaching the counter. Police said a short time later, he was observed running from the store and getting in a vehicle which was fleeing the scene.
Hetrick radioed fellow officers who eventually conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle. Inside were the three defendants. In their possession, police found drug paraphernalia and a toy handgun.
Each were interviewed at the Hollidaysburg barracks of the state police and gave verbal, recorded statements concerning their involvement in four recent robberies.
On Nov. 30, an armed robbery occurred at Martin’s General Store on Glimcher Drive in Blair Township. During this robbery, the defendants handed the clerk a note stating they had a gun and demanded money. They made off with $60.
Then on Dec. 2 and Dec. 4, Mielnik’s Town and Country Store located along state Route 22 in Frankstown Township was robbed. Both times, the defendants threatened the clerk with statements about having a gun.