The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 22, 2010

Police: Suspect thwarted in holdup

They say he robbed store half-hour later


Staff reports

SUNBURY — Half an hour before a gas station was robbed by a knife-wielding suspect, a robbery at another convenience store was thwarted when the cashier refused to hand over any cash, authorities said.

Police said in court documents that they believe the same man is responsible for both crimes, but David Harding Holtzapple, 39, of Masser Street, has only been charged with the failed robbery at the Turkey Hill Minit Market, 900 N. Fourth St.

The cashier at the Turkey Hill told police he recognized the would-be robber, but he did not report the crime until after he heard about the robbery at the A-Plus Sunoco.

State police at Stonington said Holtzapple entered the Turkey Hill store at 1:32 a.m. Friday wearing a Woodlands camouflage jacket with the hood pulled tightly around his face. They said he approached cashier Ashley J. Pepper with a knife.

Pepper allegedly told Holtzapple the register couldn't be opened unless he bought something. During their interaction, Pepper told police he recognized the man as a regular customer and confronted him.

Holtzapple asked Pepper to hand over $100 from the register, and when he said he couldn't, the would-be robber uncovered his face and left the store, court documents said.

Pepper didn't report the incident until he learned about the A-Plus robbery later that morning.

It was at 2:09 a.m. Friday when a man brandishing a large kitchen knife and wearing a Woodlands camo jacket and a hood pulled tightly around his face walked into the A-Plus Sunoco on Route 890 in Upper Augusta Township, Northumberland County. The robber got away with an undetermined amount of cash.

Police believe Holtzapple is responsible for the attempted holdup at Turkey Hill in Sunbury and the robbery at the A-Plus, court documents said.

Holtzapple admits he tried to rob the Turkey Hill, but denies he robbed the other store, police said.

Holtzapple is being held in lieu of $65,000 bail in the Northumberland County Prison following his arraignment by on-call District Judge Robert J. Bolton on felony robbery, misdemeanor terroristic threats and disorderly conduct charges.

Court records show that Holtzapple has been arrested seven other times in the last 10 years, including a drug case in 2008 and a 2009 incident in which he pleaded guilty to harassment.