Accused bank robbers waive hearing on home invasion charges

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
Spaide, left, and Pambianco -

WILKES-BARRE — Two men accused of robbing a bank in Plains Township waived a hearing on separate home invasion charges Tuesday.

Derek Spaide, 26, and Gerald Pambianco, 29, allegedly broke into two homes, stole weapons and then used a shotgun from one of the homes to rob a branch of the Luzerne National Bank.

The incidents all occurred May 16, and culminated with the pair leading officers on a high-speed chase on the North Cross Valley Expressway, police say.

Spaide and Pambianco appeared in Luzerne County Central Court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on the home invasion-related charges. Those include burglary, theft, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and five counts of criminal conspiracy.

Both men offered up nothing at their hearing, instead opting to simply send the charges up to the county level.

Pambianco, despite not having entered a guilty plea, was asking questions about sentencing. He was hoping the sentence on the invasion charges would run at the same time as the federal sentence for bank robbery he could conceivably receive.

“I don’t want to do 15 years with the feds and then have to do more here,” he said.

Pambianco was told no deals could be made regarding sentencing at this point.

He and Spaide are accused of breaking into a home in the 2000 block of South Main Street in Hanover Township and stealing firearms that they then allegedly used in the robbery.

They are also accused of breaking into a residence in Salem Township.

Spaide, of South Main Street, Hanover Township, and Pambianco, of Crow Street, Plains Township, will appear in county court before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Aug. 16.

Their next county appearance will come just after their trial on federal bank robbery charges. Earlier this month, a federal judge set that trial to begin Aug. 6.

They’ll be tried for armed bank robbery, conspiracy to use a firearm in a crime, possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, and use of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

If found guilty, they could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Spaide, left, and Pambianco, left, and Pambianco

By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan