Robbery reported in Mifflinville

Last updated: December 29, 2015 - 8:49pm

Police and ambulance crews gather at the Liberty Travel Plaza after a robbery was reported in the plaza's parking lot. (Press Enterprise/Jimmy May)

MIFFLINVILLE — A thief grabbed a bag of cash from a truck-stop manager as she was getting into her car here Tuesday afternoon, hopping into a waiting vehicle that sped off toward the interstate on-ramp, police said.

The female manager of the Liberty Travel Plaza was taking the bag, which contained the day shift's cash receipts, to the bank for deposit just after 4 p.m. When she reached her red Hyundai Accent parked at the edge of the parking lot, she opened her door and leaned in, putting her boots and some other items into the car, police said.

That's when she felt a tug and the scrape of a something sharp against the arm that was holding the money bag. She let go and turned to see who she described as a tall black man getting into the passenger seat of a small silver Audi sedan, police said.

The car drove through the lot and out to Route 339, then made a left toward the Interstate 80 exchanges. Police believe the car turned onto Interstate 80 and headed east toward Hazleton, but they had not ruled out the possibility that it kept going on Route 339.

Police said the cash that was stolen was an amount in the thousands, but did not want to provide a more specific amount. The travel center has a convenience store, Subway sandwich shop and a Burger King, as well as a fueling station.

Police were looking into whether the man was carrying a knife or other weapon. The woman was scraped across the arm near her wrist, but it wasn't clear it had come from a weapon. It could have been from a watch or even a fingernail as the man grabbed at the bag, Chief Richendrfer said. She did not require medical treatment.

The middle-aged manager was distraught after the robbery, police said. Even more than a half-hour afterward, she was crying as she stood outside co-workers taking a cigarette break. She told a reporter she was not allowed to talk about what had happened. 

Police described the suspect as a black man, roughly 6 feet 5 inches tall and dressed in a black jacket or hoodie, jogging pants and sneakers. The silver Audi appeared to have tinted windows.

The driver of the car appeared to be a woman, police said. But they had no other description. They were also unsure if there was anyone else in the car.

It was not clear if the car had pulled up next to the store manager or behind her car. It was photographed by surveillance cameras shortly before, entering the Burger King drive-through on the opposite side of the parking lot.

Officers searched the brush along the end of the parking lot near the manager's car, but it did not appear they turned up any additional evidence. The travel stop remained open after the robbery.

Police are looking for anyone with information about the man, or who might have seen what happened outside the store. They can reach police by calling Columbia County Communications at 570-784-6300.



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