Heroin drove ex-teacher to steal school computers, rob bank
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A former school teacher accused of stealing 22 computers from Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts high school pleaded guilty today to robbery, burglary and criminal conspiracy.
Philicia Barbieri, 25, was arrested April 15 after she and her former boyfriend, Alvin Carter III, robbed the Fifth Third Bank in East Liberty. She later confessed to also stealing 22 laptop computers from CAPA, as well as a 42-inch flat-screen television and Nintendo Wii from a neighbor in her Shadyside apartment building.
Mr. Carter also pleaded guilty today to the robbery at the bank.
Ms. Barbieri's defense attorney, Patrick J. Thomassey, said all of the crimes were driven by the couple's heroin addiction.
According to information presented, Mr. Carter, 28, entered the bank without a mask, approached a teller with whom he'd been banking for months, and handed her a note demanding cash and threatening to shoot her.
Ms. Barbieri was waiting for him outside.
They were arrested a short time later.
"That's the scourge of addiction," Mr. Thomassey said. "It's completely ruined her life."
Ms. Barbieri has been receiving in-patient treatment and is continuing that until sentencing. Mr. Carter has been in the Allegheny County Jail since his arrest but will now be released to an inpatient drug treatment program. She has surrendered her teaching certificate.
Neither defendant has a criminal record, and they will both be sentenced by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning on March 7.
First Published December 9, 2011 12:00 am