Spider-Man wannabe faces robbery charge in Pittsburgh

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A University of Pittsburgh student was caught in a web of trouble Friday morning after Pittsburgh police said he tried to rob an Oakland convenience store while dressed as Spider-Man.

Jonathan N. Hewson, 21, was charged with one count of robbery and was taken to the Allegheny County Jail. A judge Friday ordered Mr. Hewson be held there in lieu of $50,000 bond and ordered a mental evaluation. An attorney was not listed in court records. His parents could not be reached.

In a criminal complaint, Pittsburgh police wrote that a clerk told them a man wearing the superhero costume and a mask came into Atwood Xpress around 1:10 a.m. and said loudly, "How much money you got."

The clerk, Bob Patel, told police he thought he was being robbed, so he pulled a stun-gun out of his pocket and tried to use it on the man. The man, who did not have a weapon, ran out of the store empty-handed, police wrote.

A short time later, the complaint continued, a University of Pittsburgh police officer and a city police sergeant saw the man standing about a block from the store, still wearing the costume.

Mr. Patel identified Mr. Hewson as the man who tried to rob the store, and police arrested him.

In an interview with KDKA-TV, Mr. Hewson's roommate described the situation as a misunderstanding.

"He's not doing anything malicious. I don't think he's ever considered robbing a store, ever," Chris Esposito said.

"He's a Spider-Man enthusiast. He's just a college kid, and college kids tend to do strange things."

Mr. Hewson, a finance major with a minor in economics, is expected to graduate in April, a Pitt spokesman said.


Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede.


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