Unionville hits mercy rule against Phantoms

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PHOENIXVILLE - One of the two Phoenixville men arrested on Sept. 6 in connection with an armed robbery at the Blockbuster Video, 520 Kimberton Road, had his day in court Thursday morning.

Ron Elliott, 24, of the 400 block of Breckenridge Street, Phoenixville, was ordered to stand trial in district court on charges of robbery; theft; receiving stolen property; possessing instruments of crime; and criminal conspiracy.

According to court documents, store employees were getting ready to close the video store for the night when a male wearing a yellow ski mask, later identified as Elliott, entered the store just before midnight.

A witness said Elliott - a former store employee - walked into the store, with his back facing the counter. He whipped around and pointed a black gun at the neck of the store manager, demanding money. Elliott walked the store manager to the back of the store, and then back to the front of the store. Ordering the two remaining employees to the ground, Elliott demanded money from the store's safe. After receiving an estimated $3,000, Elliott walked the three employees to a back room, closed them inside, and told them if they called the police, he'd be back to get them. Elliott then left through the back door of the store.

East Pikeland Police Officer Brian Quigg testified that he, along with officers from surrounding townships, stopped a silver Dodge Intrepid at Township Line Road and Route 23 before 1 a.m.

"The driver of the vehicle immediately told us, 'I know what this is about, I'll tell you everything you want to know,'" said Quigg. "We asked the driver where he came from, and he replied, 'Blockbuster.'"

The driver, Eric Vanderslice, 24, of the 200 block of Morgan Street, Phoenixville, was taken into custody that evening.

Phoenixville Police Officer Matt Clements said police received a description of Elliott and began searching for him near the 400 block of Breckenridge Street.

Clements testified that Lt. William Mossman of the Phoenixville Police Department was watching the area and spotted Elliott running down Breckenridge Street, then running towards Morgan Street. Clements said Mossman notified him of Elliott's location at Morgan Street, and both men took him into custody at 1:40 a.m. Sept. 6.

Phoenixville Police turned Elliott over to East Pikeland Police, who transported him to Schuylkill Township Police Station to be live-scanned that morning.

After hearing all of the testimony, District Justice Ted Michaels held the charges over for trial.

Noting the seriousness of the crime, Michaels raised Elliott's bail from $15,000 cash bail to $75,000 cash bail.

Elliott was remanded back to Chester County Prison, and his next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004.

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