EASTON, Pa. | The man accused of robbing an Easton convenience store at gunpoint in his neighborhood last month told police that he wasn’t running from the robbery but rather from people chasing him.
Easton police on Tuesday arrested Elijah J. Whittingham in connection with the May 9 armed robbery of the Express Mini Market, where the 19-year-old was a regular customer. District Judge Robert Weber arraigned the Easton resident on robbery and related charges, setting bail at $150,000.
Officers were dispatched to the market in the 1000 block of Butler Street shortly before 6:30 p.m. Authorities said video surveillance showed a man enter the store and walk around before pulling a handgun on two clerks and demanding money, according to the criminal complaint filed against Whittingham.
The gunman made off with roughly $400 in $20 bills, running east on Butler Street after he left the store.
Both victims offered the same description of the robber with one employee telling police that she believed he may have been a regular because he tried to disguise his voice during the robbery.
Authorities secured surveillance footage from a source that shows the alley between Washington and Butler streets, which is close to the market, according to court records. A man, who appears to be carrying a handgun, is seen running down the alley moments after the robbery and disappearing into the shrubs at the end of the alley.
Police said he matched the description provided by the employees and the man seen in store surveillance video.
Investigators released photos to the public and someone called police to report that the suspect was “Elijah Whitt” from “up on Butler Street,” according to records. She provided photos of “Elijah Whitt” from various social media sources. Another person who saw the photos asked police whether they’d arrested Whittingham for the market robbery.
Police interviewed Whittingham on June 5. He admitted to being the person seen in the surveillance photos and to carrying a Taurus 9mm handgun. But he insisted that he was “running home” from people chasing him. Authorities said surveillance video from the area didn’t catch anyone chasing him.
Police said Whittingham noted that he frequently shopped at the Express Mini Mart.
Whittingham, of the 1200 block of Butler Street, now faces single felony counts of robbery and carrying a firearm without a license along with misdemeanor counts of theft and receiving stolen property. He failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 21.