Bellefonte man takes plea deal in fall crime spree

From CDT staff reportsApril 8, 2014 

A Bellefonte man faces up to 30 years behind bars after taking a plea deal for knocking off three central Pennsylvania businesses in September for just over $500, according to the Centre County District Attorney’s Office.

Jonathan Tenalio, 26, of Bellefonte, pleaded guilty Monday to robbing The Cove New York Style Pizzeria in College Township and Nittany Budget Motel in Ferguson Township, as well as burglarizing Doan’s Bones Barbecue in Huntingdon County.

He pleaded in front of Judge Jonathan D. Grine to two counts of robbery and one count of burglary, as well as two counts of persons not to possess a firearm, all felonies.

His sentence, which is expected to be from 12 to 30 years in a state correctional facility, will be decided June 6.

According to the District Attorney’s Office:

•  On Sept 23, Tenalio walked into Cove Pizzeria in a hooded sweatshirt and a bandana, pointed a pellet gun at two employees and made off with $226 in cash.

•  On Sept. 24, Tenalio used a baseball bat to smash his way into Doan’s Bones and stole $200.

•  On Sept. 25, hours before police arrested him, Tenalio, clad in a military-style coat and bandana, pointed the pellet gun at an employee at the Cato Drive motel and fled with $99 from the safe.

Tenalio’s arrest came after an informant tipped off police to a text message he sent to the informant admitting to the crimes, according to police at the time of his arrest.

Police said Tenalio told them he was using the money to buy heroin and “Molly,” a more pure form of the club drug Ecstasy. He told police he planned on continuing his crime spree in Snow Shoe and Port Matilda, according to his criminal complaint.

Tenalio was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a 2010 burglary conviction, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“This defendant’s brazen crime spree presented a real danger to our community,” said District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller in a news release. “Law enforcement responded quickly and ended this before he could inflict any more damage or someone was seriously injured.”

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