Clearfield man guilty in tobacco store robbery

A Clearfield County man who prosecutors said planned the armed robbery of a Philipsburg tobacco store to score money for heroin has been found guilty for his role in the plot.

A Centre County jury found Jason McGonigal, 27, guilty Monday of conspiracy to commit robbery, a felony, and several misdemeanor counts stemming from a December holdup of the Puff Super Value Tobacco store on South Front Street.

McGonigal, however, was acquitted on other charges, including robbery, a felony, and theft, a misdemeanor.

Prosecutors said McGonigal, of Woodland, devised the plan to rob the store near closing time and waited outside, keeping watch while a co-conspirator went in to confront the clerk.

Police have identified the second defendant as Monroe Bell, 28, of Grassflat. Bell allegedly brandished a knife and stole more than $800 in cash and two cartons of cigarettes from the store.

Prosecutor said McGonigal and Bell split up the money from the robbery and used it to buy drugs.

Bell is awaiting trial in the case, and is scheduled for a pretrial conference Thursday, according to court documents.

McGonigal is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

“We are pleased with the jury’s verdict,” District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said of the McGonigal trial. “Despite the defendant’s best efforts to get away with this and use another to do his dirty work, he will be held accountable for his crime.”