Lehigh Valley

Alleged robbers point fingers at each other

Each blames the other for beating the victim

NAZARETH, Pa. - A pair of Northampton County men claim the other one was responsible for the beating that left a robbery victim with a broken upper jaw. Now they both face robbery and assault charges.

Nazareth police charged Michael A. Rivera and Christopher Barlip with aggravated assault, simple assault, robbery and harassment in connection to the alleged Dec. 6 attack of an American Hotel bar patron.

Police said the victim arrived at police headquarters shortly before 2 a.m. Dec. 6, bleeding from a large cut on his nose and swelling to his face that nearly closed his left eye. He reported being assaulted by two men under the guise of giving him a ride home.

The victim told police that he and a man later identified as Rivera walked together from the bar at 202 S. Main St. to a home in the borough, where they met a man later identified as Barlip. The three then got into a car together.

The victim alleges Rivera began punching him repeatedly in the face, demanding money, according to court records. As the victim tried to get out of the car in the 200 block of Poplar Street, Barlip allegedly pulled him out and the two men began punching him in the face, ignoring his pleas to stop, according to records.

Barlip and Rivera continued demanding money and tried to reach into the victim’s pockets. Court records don't specify whether Barlip and Rivera managed to grab any money or how much.

Police said the victim didn’t know either man’s name, but that the bar owner identified Rivera from surveillance footage as “Mike.” Another borough police officer identified him possibly as Rivera. Through a photo lineup, the victim later identified Rivera as one of his attackers.

Police managed to identify Barlip as the second alleged attacker, and he told investigators that it was Rivera who asked for help in robbing the victim. Barlip pointed to Rivera as the one who attacked the victim.

Rivera, meanwhile, told police that Barlip and the victim began arguing possibly over drugs, which escalated into a fight. He denied taking part in the assault or robbery.

The 32-year-old Barlip, of Monocacy Drive in Moore Township, was arraigned Dec. 10 and sent to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $75,000 bail. On-line records indicated that Rivera, 26, of Lincoln Avenue in Nazareth, was also in county jail at the time.

District Judge John Capobianco arraigned Rivera on the charges via video conference Tuesday morning, setting bail at $75,000. Both men are scheduled for preliminary hearings next month.

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