Squirrel Hill bank robbery suspect arrested
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When a man suspected in four Squirrel Hill bank robberies was arrested Tuesday morning the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force found dye-stained currency in his pocket.
Michael Baughman, chief deputy marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said Tuesday the money was believed to be associated with one of the robberies on Murray Avenue with which Joseph F. Guiney Jr. has been charged.
According to a police affidavit, during the most recent robbery -- a Citizens Bank in the 1800 block of Murray Avenue, which was robbed Saturday around 11:45 a.m. -- a teller placed a dye pack in the middle of a stack of $20 bills.
The task force arrested Mr. Guiney, 34, of Saline Street in Greenfield, about 10 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 1000 block of Milltown Road, Penn Hills.
Police said Mr. Guiney's girlfriend was staying with someone at the home and they intended to question her.
It was unclear whether she was an accomplice in any of the robberies, which stretch back to March.
Major Crimes Lt. Kevin Kraus declined to identify the woman or the exact location where the arrest occurred.
Police Tuesday were executing a search warrant for the house.
"We do expect to seize some items we believe will be evidentiary," Lt. Kraus said during a news conference.
Mr. Guiney, who was described by police as armed and dangerous after a gun was shown during the weekend robbery, is charged with robbing First National Bank on March 27, First Niagara Bank on Oct. 31 and the same Citizens Bank branch twice, on Nov. 9 and Saturday.
Investigators first identified Mr. Guiney after the Halloween robbery with the help of anonymous tips and the use of photo arrays shown to witnesses.
During that robbery, police said Mr. Guiney put a note on the First Niagara counter that said, "I have a gun, give me all the money!"
Around 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 9, police said, Mr. Guiney ordered a teller at the Citizens Bank to give him money and gave the same demand in a note. After the teller handed the robber money, the man identified by police as Mr. Guiney said, "More, more give me more!"
Then on Saturday, Mr. Guiney approached the same teller around 11:40 a.m.. pulled a 9 mm black handgun from his waist and said, "Sorry, guys, I have a problem. I will never hurt you. Give me the money."
Another teller told police he heard the man say, "Give it up. You gave it up last week, so give it up again!"
The fugitive task force Monday night began developing information on Mr. Guiney's whereabouts and were aided by tips, Lt. Kraus said.
Police are unsure why Murray Avenue was targeted during the string of robberies. Lt. Kraus said investigators "believe a drug addiction is what led him to commit our four bank robberies."
Asked about the long gap between bank robberies between March and October that police have attributed to Mr. Guiney, Lt. Kraus said investigators think he left Pittsburgh and are trying to determine where he was and whether any banks in those areas were robbed.
Police said Mr. Guiney eluded their surveillance Saturday when he robbed the Citizens Bank in the 1800 block of Murray Avenue. Detectives were in another section of the neighborhood when the robbery occurred.
Lt. Kraus said he believed the "roving surveillance detail" was "adequate."
"I felt it was just a case of good fortune, I guess, on behalf of Mr. Guiney," Lt. Kraus said. "I think it was just good luck on his side."
Another affidavit shows that city police charged Mr. Guiney with criminal trespass for breaking into the house of his mother, Catherine Miller, on Saline Street to get his cell phone.
Mr. Guiney has had numerous encounters with police. He has pleaded guilty over the years to simple assault, criminal conspiracy, driving under the influence, ethnic intimidation, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.
First Published November 21, 2012 12:00 am