Officials announced today that two men have been arrested and accused of robbing a Circle K convenience store on the North Side of Pittsburgh.
Accused are Steven Goldstein, 52, and Andrew Bickus, 49. Each faces charges of criminal conspiracy, robbery, and receiving stolen property. The store they reportedly robbed is located on Brighton Road in the Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood.
Neither Goldstein nor Bickus posted bail, and they remained in the Allegheny County Jail Thursday night. They will go to court for a preliminary hearing on Monday, April 16th.
Robbery is considered a violent crime in Pennsylvania, so these two gentlemen are facing some serious consequences. As with all violent crimes, there are three degrees of robbery. A third-degree charge is considered to be a lesser charge than first or second-degree, and a first-degree charge is the highest charge.
Even though it’s a lesser charge, third-degree robbery comes with a prison sentence of up to seven years. A robbery charge becomes a second-degree charge when the robber causes bodily injury or makes someone fear bodily injury. The prison sentence that a conviction for this charge triggers is up to ten years.
A robbery charge is considered first-degree if the accused has either caused serious bodily harm to someone, threatened someone with serious bodily injury or intentionally made them fear it, or has committed or threatened to commit any other first or second-degree felony while in the commission of the robbery. A conviction for first-degree robbery triggers a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Robbery goes hand in hand with theft charges, so the men will be facing those, as well.
Theft is not as serious a charge as far as criminal consequences go, but it has the same long-term results. In both cases, a conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. Places, meaning potential employers and housing managers, do criminal background checks nowadays. Having convictions like robbery and theft on one’s record will cause many people to refuse to hire or rent to an individual. No one likes a thief, and they don’t want someone around who potentially could steal from them. These guys are not spring chickens, so the closing of career options might not be such a big deal, but everyone needs housing. And, they could find themselves fired from their current employment if they’re convicted.
The attorneys in this case have several things they can use to defend their clients. For one, if they can prove that no theft was committed, there can have been no robbery, and the charges must be dismissed.
We don’t have details about injuries in this case, but in certain circumstances, if it can be proven that there were no injuries, some charges can be lowered or dismissed. At the least, these gentlemen’s attorneys can try to prove that the accused did not make the victim fear being injured. This can get the robbery case lowered to simple theft.
The final three defense options are used in many criminal cases, and are not limited to robbery charges. If one or both of the attorneys can prove that his client was intoxicated, entrapped, or forced under duress to participate, it can be proven that he was not guilty.
As I said before, the defendants’ lawyers will be working to get their clients’ charges reduced or dismissed. If they can get the robbery charges reduced to simple theft, the penalties are lowered. Depending on the value of the items taken, a conviction for theft can come with fines of between $25 and $1,500 and up to 90 days in jail for a theft of items less than $50 in value, to up to seven years in prison for major thefts, like cars, boats, and airplanes.
Even with lowered charges, these two men face jail time for their actions. I have to wonder if they still think it was worth it.