Armed robbery suspects arrested

Police say pair might be connected to other robberies in area since Sept. 17

Two people are in custody after an armed robbery in Bellwood.

Michael Rupert, 28, and Carli Aungst, 26, were arrested at the Station Medical Center McDonald’s Wednesday night after their red and gray Ford Escape was spotted by Altoona police following the armed robbery of the Puff Super Value in Bellwood, according to Altoona police Detective Lt. Ben Jones.

“Physical evidence located tonight leads us to believe the subjects may be involved in the previous robberies,” Jones said of the four armed robberies in Altoona since Sept. 17 and the holdup of a Duncansville tobacco store, as well as one in Cresson Township over the weekend.

The latest robbery — the seventh — was just after 7 p.m. Wednesday, and the clerk was able to provide state police with a description of the SUV used in the caper. The description of the SUV was then broadcast to Blair County police.

“One of our detectives heard it and recognized it as being connected to a burglary investigation he was involved in,” Jones said.

While the detective headed to Rupert’s residence in Altoona, patrol units began looking for the red and gray Escape, Jones said. Patrol officers ultimately spotted the vehicle at the Station Medical Center McDonald’s, and Rupert and Aungst were arrested.

“An initial search of the SUV turned up a BB gun that bore a striking resemblance to a handgun and a large amount of cash,” Jones said.

State police will conduct a further search of the Ford Escape to look

for more evidence, he added.

Jones said the department is pleased arrests have been made, and he thanked the state police for their cooperation in investigating the string of robberies.

Jones said he looks forward to working together with the various departments involved as the investigation and prosecution goes forward.

Rupert and Aungst remained at the Altoona Police Department late Wednesday and are expected to held for arraignment this morning.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.