CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A trio is behind bars in Centre County after being accused of multiple thefts at convenience stores in four counties.
Eric Watkins, 41, Alexis Moses, 30, both of Howard and Anthony Harkinson, 34, of Philipsburg have been charged with burglary and are believed to be involved in multiple thefts that took place over the last month and a half.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Troopers from Rockview responded to the Zion Mart convenience store in Bellefonte along East College Avenue for a burglary in progress call.
When troopers arrived they found damage to the front door and both cash registers were gone with approximately $1,786 in cash missing, police noted in the complaint.
Similar thefts had been happening at closed gas stations and convenience stores in Centre County and nearby counties including Clearfield, Clinton and Mifflin, according to PSP. Troopers said these thefts had the same modus operandi, or were very characteristically similar to each other.
Troopers identified the same black Ford Taurus 4-door with damage on multiple surveillance footage recordings from the burglarized convenience stores, according to the criminal complaint. Because of this, a “be on the lookout” or BOLO was issued for the suspected vehicle.
In Clinton County, troopers from PSP Lamar saw the suspected vehicle at the Beech Creek Uni-Mart and called for troopers from PSP Rockview to assist. Troopers could see in plain view, gloves, a hammer and black clothing inside the vehicle. While surveying, officers noted in the complaint they saw a man, later identified as Harkinson leave the Uni-Mart and walk towards the Ford Taurus.
Troopers moved in and arrested Harkinson along with Moses and Watkins without issue. According to the affidavit, Moses and Watkins were inside using the Skills Machines.
State police did not say what time the arrests were made.
Around 6 a.m. troopers interviewed, Harkinson and Moses. According to the criminal complaint, Harkinson allegedly confessed to committing the burglary at the Zion Mart earlier in the morning. Harkinson allegedly told officers he used a crowbar to smash the window, then stole the cash register and a safe.
Harkinson continued to tell officers that the money that he allegedly stole from Zion Mart was being used to gamble on the Skills Machines. He also told troopers he did not know how much money they took, according to the police report.
He ended his interview with police when he told them he allegedly threw a hammer, that was used to commit other burglaries, into the Black Moshannon Lake in Centre County, troopers noted in the complaint.
While interviewing Moses, she allegedly told police that Harkinson parked the Taurus behind the Dollar General in Zion and asked her to get in the driver’s seat. According to the criminal complaint, Harkinson along with Watkins both left the vehicle and walked towards the Zion Mart and when they returned they asked her to open the trunk and put the items back there. She told police that deep down, she knew what was going on.
Bail was denied for Harkinson and Watkins, as Harkinson was already on parole for theft; had a criminal history of thefts and is the suspect of multiple burglaries. Watkin’s bail was denied as he’s the suspect in several other burglaries in four counties.
Harkinson and Watkins are facing felony burglary and criminal trespassing charges along with misdemeanor theft and criminal mischief.
Moses failed to post $50,000 bail and is charged with felony conspiracy burglary and conspiracy criminal trespassing along with misdemeanors for conspiracy theft and conspiracy criminal mischief.
The trios preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23.