Monday, October 20, 2014

Bensalem cops: Bar Louie robbery an inside job; 2 charged

Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Within hours of last Friday’s invasion-style armed robbery at a popular Bensalem bar and restaurant, police said they had an idea it might be an inside job.
What tipped off police is that two of the seven Bar Louie employees who were rounded up, robbed and stuck in a walk-in freezer claimed that one suspect’s voice sounded like someone they worked with — Randy Sanchez, 27, of Philadelphia, who had worked at the restaurant since August.
The employees told police the robber also used the same catchphrases as Sanchez including “shorty” and “you big as (expletive) for nothing,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Patrick McElheney (l) and Randy Sanchez
On Tuesday, police talked to Sanchez’s live-in girlfriend who allegedly admitted that Sanchez confessed to robbing Bar Louie and using the money to buy a car.
Sanchez and accomplice Patrick McElheney, 27, no fixed address, were arrested Wednesday morning, but Bensalem police are continuing their investigation into the robbery, which occurred at 2:45 a.m. last Friday as the business was closing.
A cook was taking the trash out the back door of the Rockhill Drive restaurant when he was confronted by three or four men in dark clothes and masks and at least one armed with a firearm, police said.
The suspects forced the man to the ground, held the gun to his head and patted him down asking how many more employees were in the bar, police said. The man was then tied up with clear tape and black string. A short time later, another employee came outside and he was overtaken by the men.
The suspects took both men’s cellphones and car keys. The second employee’s bright yellow Mustang is the one the suspects used as a getaway car, police said; it was found around 4:30 a.m. in the 3000 block of Derry Road in Philadelphia.
Next, the restaurant manager went looking for her two missing employees and found them outside tied up on the ground. She was then confronted by a suspect who held a knife to her throat. He forced her to reveal the password for the safe inside the manager’s office.
After the suspects failed to open the safe, two of them made the manager open it and place all the money inside in a bag. The affidavit didn’t say how much money was taken.
While the manager was in the office, the other robbers confronted the remaining employees in the restaurant.
One worker said she saw a suspicious parked car in front of the bar around 2:45 a.m.
After she noticed the manager hadn’t been seen for a while, she started walking to the back of the bar to check on her and saw the vehicle started moving. While looking for the manager, the worker was struck on the back of her head with a stun gun and pushed to the ground, the affidavit said. The woman suffered a minor facial injury.
The robbers made the employees crawl to the walk-in freezer and took their cellphones and car keys, according to court documents.
On Tuesday, Bensalem Detectives Michael Moretti and David Nieves spoke with Sanchez’s live-in girlfriend who told police that he was home when she went to bed Thursday night but he wasn’t in bed when she woke up early Friday morning, the affidavit said. At that time she also noticed her Toyota Corolla and its keys were missing.
The woman went back to sleep, and when she woke up later, Sanchez was back in bed with her, according to police. That morning, the girlfriend’s mother reported that Bar Louie had been robbed and Sanchez appeared “extremely interested” in the TV news story about it, according to the affidavit.
Throughout Friday morning, the girlfriend said, Sanchez was acting weird and having “discreet” conversations on his phone. When she confronted him about his behavior, Sanchez allegedly admitted he robbed Bar Louie, and that McElheney drove her Corolla to the robbery.
He also used the stolen cash to buy a vehicle later Friday.
Later Tuesday police found Sanchez and McElheney in front of Sanchez’s Pine Road home and they were taken into custody.
During the police interview Tuesday evening, McElheney allegedly admitted that he drove the Corolla to Bensalem early Friday morning and was communicating with Sanchez over the phone.
McElheney and Sanchez are charged with 42 counts of robbery, 16 counts of simple assault, 14 counts each of unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, theft and receiving stolen property and related charges. They were arraigned before District Judge Robert Wagner Jr. and sent to Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $250,000 bail each.


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