Charleroi man charged in bank robbery
CHARLEROI – A borough man with a long history of arrests for summary offenses allegedly stepped up to bank robbery Monday afternoon.
And he was nabbed moments later as a red dye pack planted with money stolen from the Charleroi branch of Citizens Bank exploded in his hands.
Kurt D. Fritzel, 50, of 412 Fallowfield Ave., was lodged in the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $750,000 bond after being charged yesterday in the robbery of the 501 Fallowfield Ave. bank branch.
The bank was robbed approximately 3:20 p.m. by a masked man, Charleroi police Superintendent Mike Matyas said. Matyas did not say if a weapon was used in the crime.
While heading back to his apartment, Fritzel allegedly became covered with the dye as a packet exploded in his hands.
“Witnesses said they saw the cloud of red dust and (Fritzel) running from it into his apartment,” Matyas said.
Matyas said police obtained a key to the apartment building and found Fritzel inside.
Fritzel was detained at his apartment for several hours as police and FBI agents investigated there.
A small amount of money reportedly was taken from the bank, though police did not say how much was stolen.
Fritzel was charged with robbery and a threat of immediate serious injury. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Joshua Kanalis, of Centerville, and lodged in the county jail.
Matyas said Charleroi police charged him locally so he could be arraigned, adding that the FBI has taken over the investigation and is expected to file federal charges soon.
“Once federal charges are filed, we will drop our charges,” Matyas said.
Fritzel’s preliminary hearing before Charleroi-based Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins is scheduled 9:30 a.m. Nov. 10.
According to Washington County records, Fritzel has a history of arrests dating as far back as 2001.
His most recent arrest came Oct. 24, when he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct before Hopkins.
“We’ve seen him before for this and that,” Matyas said of Fritzel.