School Closings And Delays

Robber Arrested, Admits to String of Holdups Near Hazleton Area

HAZELTON -- There were five holdups throughout the day on Monday, and police in Luzerne County said one man admitted to all of them.

Hazleton police arrested Raymond Bolling of Hazle Township late Tuesday morning.

They said he confessed to holding up five stores during a crime spree that started early Monday morning and continued into the evening.

Bolling told Newswatch 16 he was sorry for what he did and said he was high on meth and crack at the time.

“I'm sorry. I didn't realize what I was doing. If I did something, I don't remember,” Bolling said.

Hazleton Police arrested Bolling around 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Hazleton Motor Inn on East Broad Street.

Poll watchers outside the fire department across the street from the inn saw it all play out.

“At the time when they pulled their guns out, we all got a little nervous out here, so the fire department was nice enough to let us go inside,” Ann Marie Kaschak of Hazleton said.

“We brought them into a safe haven in our building just until the incident was secured due to the police activity up there,” Hazleton Fire Chief Donald Leshko said.

Surveillance video from Buddies' Bagels in West Hazleton shows just one of the holdups to which Bolling admitted. He showed a note demanding money and told the cashier he had a gun. He did not get any money there.

However, Bolling told police he went on to commit four other robberies. He said he robbed the Weis grocery store in West Hazelton, the Family Dollar in Plains Township, another Family Dollar near McAdoo, and Ollie’s outside Hazleton.

Police said part of the reason they were able to catch Bolling is that so many people were sharing his picture on social media and watching the news.

“You get that picture out there that you're looking for somebody and somebody sees them and then the information starts rolling,” Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale said.

“We couldn't have done it on our own. It was all the police departments together. It was state police, Hazleton Police. It was PSP Frackville, Butler, Sugarloaf. It was all of us together that made this arrest possible,” West Hazleton Police Chief Brian Buglio said.

So far, Bolling is charged with three of the holdups. Other police departments are waiting to interview him. He is currently locked up in the Luzerne County jail on a $250,000 straight cash bail.

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