Police: Suspect admits to role in robberies
Aungst, Rupert only facing charges in Bellwood robbery
Two people arrested Wednesday night for allegedly robbing a Bellwood tobacco shop are believed to be connected to a string of recent holdups, according to charges filed by state police.
Michael P. Rupert II, 28, and Carli A. Aungst, 26, both of 2310 14th Ave., remain in Blair County Prison on robbery, theft and related charges stemming from the armed robbery of the Puff-N-Snuff at 24 Main St., Bellwood, Wednesday night.
When questioned about 10 p.m. after their arrest in Altoona earlier in the evening, Aungst allegedly told investigators that Rupert was involved in about six other robberies in the past month and that she took part in other robberies apart from the Puff-N-Snuff holdup, as well.
Aungst allegedly said she was the getaway driver during Wednesday’s robbery in which Aungst walked into the Puff-N-Snuff about 7 p.m. and emerged a few minutes later with about $500 in cash.
Police noted the clerk at the store told investigators that Rupert was wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt, a bandanna over his face, dark-colored jeans and black shoes when he followed her into the store after she had been outside to deal with the store’s trash cans. The clerk told police that Rupert walked in the store behind her with his gun out, held at waist level as another customer pulled in to the parking lot.
“Don’t let him know I am here,” Rupert allegedly said to the clerk as he hid in the office situated just to the left of the clerk’s register. The clerk handled the customer and then handed Rupert a bag of cash in a white plastic bag with the words “Thank You” written on it, police said.
When the clerk told Rupert the customer was gone from the parking lot, he fled, but the clerk grabbed a phone and ran to the door in time to see Rupert leaving in a red or maroon SUV with gray along the bottom of the vehicle.
The couple was spotted by Altoona police in the parking lot of the Station Medical Center McDonald’s where police said they had gone after picking up their child after the robbery. The pair had gone there to use heroin, police noted.
Altoona police Detective Lt. Ben Jones said the state police and Altoona police will continue to investigate the pair’s roles in the six other robberies that have plagued the area since Sept. 17.
Four of those robberies occurred in Altoona, including the ARC Federal Credit Union in Juniata.
One robbery the pair are suspected of pulling off was in Cresson Township over the weekend, and the sixth being investigated was in Duncansville on
Duncansville Police Chief Jim Ott said there is a meeting between the departments where the robberies occurred, as well as the Blair County District Attorney’s Office, next week to go over the cases
and to discuss the investigations. Both Rupert and Aungst are charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor counts that include simple assault, terroristic threats and theft.
Those charges are in connection with only the Bellwood robbery.
Bail was set for both Rupert and Aungst at $50,000 cash by Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson on Thursday morning, and a preliminary hearing on the charges is slated for Tuesday in Tyrone District Court before Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.