HARRISBURG - The McAlisterville man facing federal bank robbery charges will still be charged locally with a felony count of receiving stolen property.
Richard L. Lockett was to have a preliminary hearing on Wednesday in Mifflintown, however, the U.S. Attorney's Office recently announced it would be prosecuting Lockett in federal court.
Juniata County District Attorney Cory Snook formally withdrew the robbery charges against Lockett on Wednesday and the receiving stolen property charge was waived into the Juniata County Court of Common Pleas.
Lockett was charged in a federal indictment for robberies that occurred on Oct. 22, at the First National Bank in Thompsontown, Oct. 27, at the Juniata Valley Bank in Port Royal and on Nov. 5, at the Swineford National Bank in Beaver Springs.
Lockett allegedly stole more than $20,000 from three different banks over a period of nearly 30 days to support a drug habit, police said.
A grand jury in Harrisburg indicted 38-year-old Lockett on three counts of bank robbery. If convicted, Lockett faces a maximum of 60 years imprisonment and fines of up to $750,000.
According to court documents, once Lockett was apprehended, he confessed to the robberies after requesting to speak with two FBI field agents.
Lockett also confessed to stealing a Ford Escort from Lewistown, which he used in the commission of two of the robberies, police said.
Police first began to zero in on Lockett as a suspect after Juniata County Probation Officer Abby Krepps told investigators she had received an anonymous phone call from someone who claimed Lockett was spending large amounts of money on drugs and bragging about stealing cars.
Shortly thereafter, Lockett's nephew, Jesse Michalchic was interviewed by police and told investigators he believed Lockett had committed the robberies, according to court documents.
Michalchic was shown surveillance photographs of the bank robberies, which reinforced his belief it was Lockett who committed the robberies, police said. The robber never displayed a weapon when he demanded cash from tellers, court documents indicate.
On the morning of Oct. 27, Lockett contacted Michalchic requesting a ride from the Newport Giant Food Store to Harrisburg. During the course of the drive, Lockett removed a large sum of cash from his pants pocket, police said.
After arriving in Harrisburg, Michalchic saw Lockett remove another large sum of cash from a purse he had been carrying around with him. Michalchic said Lockett gave him $300 for the ride to Harrisburg, court documents indicate.
Lockett was arrested on Nov. 16, at a Rebecca Powell residence in Lewistown along South Pine Road. Powell was interviewed and told investigators Lockett had been in possession of a large amount of cash and had given her $1,000 to hold, which she later wired to him while he was in Harrisburg.
Powell also told investigators Lockett had been acting strange and was using heroin, court documents state.
Lockett was then transported to Lewistown Police Department for questioning, where he was provided a Rights and Warning Waiver, which he signed and then requested to speak with field agents from the FBI.
During the course of the investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police were assisted by the FBI, Lewistown Borough Police Department, Mifflin County Regional Police and the Granville Township Police Department.
Lockett is now in the custody of the U.S. Attorney's Office at a facility in Franklin County.