|Malcom Shields (L) and Christine Speciale|
Monday, March 3, 2014
Morrisville couple accused of using stolen car to rob store
Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014
A Morrisville couple is accused of leaving a 2-year-old alone beside a space heater in a locked bedroom of a powerless apartment so they could steal an idling car and rob a 7-Eleven.
Police say the couple’s road trip started around midnight Thursday in Morrisville when Malcom Shields, 21, and girlfriend Christine Speciale, 22, hatched a plot to rob the store where Speciale once worked. It ended two hours later in Bristol Township when a man looking for his friend’s stolen car allegedly found the couple driving it and confronted them.
Police believe the couple stole the car that was parked outside a 7-Eleven on South Pennsylvania Avenue in the borough. The customer reported that he left it running while he was inside, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Less than an hour later, Falls police were called to another 7-Eleven on West Trenton Avenue to investigate a report of a robbery. An employee said a man and woman — later identified as Shields and Speciale — entered the store with clothes concealing their faces and hands.
Shields announced the robbery was taking place and Speciale removed a purple tote bag from her jacket and demanded the clerk fill it with cash, police said. When the employee said he couldn’t open the register without making a sale, Speciale told Shields several times “just shoot him already,” according to the affidavit. Court documents do not indicate whether the couple had a weapon.
Shields then reached over the counter and took numerous instant lottery tickets and directed the clerk to hand over several boxes and cartons of cigarettes and his cellphone, police said.
When the man refused, Shield allegedly assaulted him and removed the phone from the man’s pants pocket. The couple then ran off with the employee chasing after them until he lost them on West Trenton Avenue, police said.
What the couple didn’t realize is that the man looking for his friend’s stolen car noticed the couple in it after the robbery, court documents show. The man pursued the car into Bristol Township and confronted the couple inside a gas station on Route 413 shortly after 2 a.m., police said.
During the confrontation, the car owner’s friend took a purple bag from Shields. Inside the bag, he found the stolen cellphone and 59 unused lottery tickets, according to court documents.
A clerk at the gas station flagged down police, who said they found the stolen car unoccupied and abandoned a short distance from the gas station.
Shields and Speciale were taken into police custody. Speciale allegedly said they planned to rob the 7-Eleven where she once worked because she knew the building layout.
The store clerk did not know either Speciale or Shields, police said.
Speciale also admitted leaving her son in a locked bedroom they rent in a Morrisville home while they were committing the crimes, police said.
A Falls police officer went to the home to check on the toddler and found him alone wearing a soiled diaper near an “active” space heater, court records show. The apartment had no electricity at the time and the bedroom was locked, police said. The officer spoke with Speciale’s roommates who said they didn’t know the boy was alone in the bedroom and they weren’t asked to baby-sit, police said.
Speciale and Shields were arraigned before Falls District Judge Jan Vislosky on charges of robbery, theft and endangering the welfare of children. Shield faces an additional simple assault charge. They were both sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $250,000 bail apiece.