Coal Township man who threatened to stab cashier gets from 30 months to 10 years in state prison
SUNBURY - Nicholas Birster, 29, of Bear Valley Avenue, Shamokin, who previously served a state prison sentence for burglarizing Village Towne Restaurant in Atlas, was sentenced Monday to serve 30 months to 10 years in a state correctional institution for a Shamokin robbery.
Birster's sentence, which was imposed by Northumberland County Judge William H. Wiest, runs concurrent to a 5 to 10-year prison sentence he received for a robbery in Snyder County.
Birster, who previously pleaded no contest to robbery-related offenses in the Shamokin case, was charged by Shamokin Cpl. Darwin Tobias III with robbing approximately $400 from Friendly Choice Food Mart on East Sunbury Street and threatening to stab a cashier April 11.
The business was formerly known as Uni-Mart.
Additional charges were not prosecuted and Birster was recommitted to
Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury.
Birster is accused of entering the convenience store at 9:27 p.m. with a blue bandana covering his face, threatening to stab the cashier and leaping over the counter while ordering her to open the cash register.
During the April 11 robbery, Birster allegedly ordered the cashier to "Open the (expletive deleted) register or I am going to stab you," according to court documents.
"What?" The cashier reportedly said.
"I'm going to stab you if you don't open the register," Birster allegedly said.
The cashier obeyed Birster's demands and he left the store with the cash, according to a criminal complaint.
The cashier told police that while she saw the suspect holding two lighters, his other hand was in his pocket.
A citizen gave chase and Birster was apprehended at Sunbury and Liberty streets by police officers from Shamokin and Coal Township just three minutes later and three blocks west of the store.
Birster was found in possession of a pair of lighters but not a knife, police said, and was wearing a blue bandana around his neck at the time of his apprehension.
A wad of cash was found lying in the gutter near Liberty and Dewart streets. Police also recovered a hooded sweatshirt and skull cap Birster allegedly wore during the robbery.
In 2009, Birster, a former Locust Gap resident, pleaded guilty to felony burglary and was sentenced to serve 8 to 24 months in state prison for breaking into Village Towne Restaurant earlier that year.
He had been refused parole and served the maximum sentence. He was released from SCI/Mercer on Aug. 11, 2011, according to the state probation and parole office.