by Jonathan Weaver
A Ford City man charged with armed robbery, simple assault and theft at a Manor Township gas station/convenience store will wait to have his day in court until after the holiday season.
Michael Zilla, 37 of Fifth Avenue, allegedly stole $400 from Sheetz and attempted to physically menace a cashier with a gun early Christmas Eve. However, his preliminary hearing scheduled for yesterday before District Magisterial Judge Gary DeComo was postponed until January 12 since Zilla did not have legal counsel.
According to the criminal affidavit filed by Pennsylvania State Police troopers, Troopers Andryka and Rowe were responding to the 9-1-1 radio dispatch at about 12:20AM when Manor Township Police Officer Steven Cippel alerted emergency responders to a truck traveling at a high rate of speed east on Route 85.
Police troopers found the truck – a 2004 grey Ford F150 – at Rayburn Manor Apartments about 10 minutes later and viewed in plain view a long gun on the vehicle’s passenger-side floor – which was found to belong to Zilla.
Armstrong 9-1-1 dispatchers alerted police at the time that Zilla was to be wearing a black hat, camo jacket and blue jeans, as well as face paint – a description that several eyewitnesses at the apartment complex saw in the early hours last week.
Zilla was taken into custody shortly before noon later Christmas Eve in Ford City Borough. He was arraigned that afternoon in Kittanning.
Zilla has been held at the Armstrong County Jail on $75,000 cash or property bond since his arrest.