By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
BEAVER SPRINGS - The suspect in three recent bank robberies, including the Nov. 5 heist in Beaver Springs, allegedly confessed to committing the crimes to support a $1,000-a-day drug habit.
An anonymous tip from a “concerned family member” led state police at Juniata to Richard Lloyd Lockett, 37, 1843 Tennis Park Road, McAlisterville, who was arrested Friday and charged with robbing three banks of more than $20,000 between Oct. 22 and Nov. 5, court records said.
Lockett allegedly stole $6,058 from First National Bank in Thompsontown, Juniata County, on Oct. 22 and took $6,926 during a robbery five days later at Juniata Valley Bank in Port Royal, Juniata County.
The suspect in the Oct. 27 robbery was seen fleeing the scene in a Ford Escort stolen earlier that morning from Lewistown, court records said.
On the morning of Nov. 5, a man wearing a camouflage coat and face mask similar to the suspect in the first robbery was thwarted from entering a locked door at Mifflin County Savings Bank in McClure.
A short time later, Swineford National Bank in Beaver Springs was robbed by a man matching the description of the suspect who attempted to get inside the McClure bank.
This time the robber got away with $8,660. He was seen leaving in a Ford Escort, which was recovered five hours later parked on Arch Rock Road in Juniata County a few hours later, court records said.
During the early stages of the investigation, police said, Lockett’s probation officer, Abby Krepps, of Juniata County, reported receiving an anonymous tip from a concerned family member of Lockett’s.
The caller said Lockett admitted spending $1,000 a day on drugs, bragged about stealing cars and said he was getting the money to support his drug use through illegal means.
Lockett allegedly also bragged about having a gun, but said he wasn’t hurting anyone, court records said.
He was arrested Friday on a probation violation at the Lewistown home of Rebecca Powell.
Powell told police that Lockett had a large amount of money and gave her $1,000 in cash to hold. She also said he’d been using heroin and was acting strangely.
Police obtained a search warrant for Powell’s home and found a camouflage coat in a garbage can that appeared similar to clothing worn by the suspect, court records said.
Under questioning, Lockett confessed to robbing the three banks and stealing the Ford Escort used in the crime. He said he committed the crimes to support his drug habit and because he suffers from mental illness, court records said.
Two days before Lockett’s arrest, Jesse Michalchic came forward to report to police his suspicions that his uncle was involved in the bank robberies.
Michalchic said the day of the Oct. 27 robbery, Lockett asked for a ride to Harrisburg and was in possession of “stacks of cash, thousands of dollars.”
He also turned over to police a tool set Lockett gave him that was similar to one that had been in the stolen Ford Escort.
Lockett was arraigned Monday before Juniata County District Judge Barbara Lyter on three counts of felony robbery; criminal attempted robbery; theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property and is being held in lieu of $300,000 bail.