PLAINS TWP. — Needing money to take his girlfriend on vacation, township police allege Dametrius Cefus Laws used a cigarette lighter in the shape of a gun to rob the Turkey Hill store on South Main Street, according to charges filed.
Laws, 19, of James Street, was arraigned Tuesday by District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre on two counts of robbery and one count each of theft and terroristic threats. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000 bail.
Police allege Laws robbed the store on July 29 and got away with cash and cigarettes. It was the 14th robbery at a Turkey Hill store in Luzerne County since Jan. 1, according to police reports and The Times Leader archives.
Court records say Laws when he allegedly robbed the store was free without bail on charges filed by Plymouth police on Dec. 21. Laws was among a group of people who ran away when police investigated a fight on East Main Street. He was charged with resisting arrest and failing to appear in court on a juvenile probation violation, court records say.
According to the latest criminal complaint:
A store clerk told police a man who concealed his face with a scarf entered the store with what she believed was a handgun at about 2 a.m. on July 29. The man threatened to shoot the clerk ordering her to open two cash registers.
A second clerk in the store was in the back and allegedly witnessed the robbery.
Police said they found a pack of Newport cigarettes and a lighter shaped as a handgun behind dumpsters in the rear of Turkey Hill.
Surveillance video allegedly show the suspect and a male juvenile enter the store about 90 minutes before the heist. Minutes before the robbery, the juvenile was inside the store asking for matches, the complaint says.
Police in the complaint said clerks on Monday reported the suspect was inside the store and was last seen walking on West Carey Street where Laws was stopped.
Laws allegedly told police after buying a beverage in the store, he talked about robbing the store for money to go on vacation with his girlfriend, according to the complaint.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Aug. 12 before District Judge Diana Malast.