Crime

Did the alleged Dam Donuts burglar intend to commit a crime when he entered the store?

This is one of the Facebook photos Dam Donuts used to help find its alleged thief.
This is one of the Facebook photos Dam Donuts used to help find its alleged thief. Surveillance photo provided

A 46-year-old man was bound over for trial on Thursday after allegedly burglarizing Dam Donuts in June.

State police at Rockview said Robert Moser entered through the front door of the business, slept on a couch in the store and stole about $200, flavored syrups and sodas.

Owner Traci Beck testified that the store's video surveillance captured footage of the alleged theft, and state Trooper Michael Harris testified that the footage was some of the best he has seen in his career.

He also commended Beck for her meticulous and thorough knowledge of the store.

"She was very cognizant of her store," Harris testified. "Traci was able to point out the things that were stolen without even looking at the video."

Harris also testified that Moser told him that he went into the store at about 1 a.m because he is homeless and was looking for a place to stay. He told the trooper he woke up at about 4:20 a.m., removed the items and threw the store's modem into a bush to disconnect the surveillance system.

The interview, however, was not the first time Moser spoke with police.

Harris testified that Moser called a dispatcher a day or two before the alleged burglary and asked if there was a place for him to stay. The dispatcher arranged for Moser to stay at a church and gave him food, water and money for a hotel room.

Harris further testified that the dispatcher was the one who made the arrangements and not a supervisor. It was not clear where the money came from.

Public defender Elizabeth Ramos argued two felony counts should be dismissed because there was no evidence that Moser broke into the store and entered with an intent to commit a crime.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Bower disagreed.

"The commonwealth has presented evidence that Dam Donuts was broken into with intent to steal cash from the safe," Bower said. "This is not a case where a homeless person was looking for a place to sleep."

District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker bound Moser over for trial on all eight counts — two felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, two felony counts of criminal trespassing, one felony count of burglary and one felony count of receiving stolen property, one misdemeanor count of theft by unlawful taking and a summary count of criminal mischief.

She originally set monetary bail at $100,000, but District Judge Steven Lachman reduced monetary bail to $30,000. Moser did not post bail and is being detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility.

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