Ice cream parlor robbed with stapler

Posted by: Andee / Category:

By KENNETH HART - The Independent
ASHLAND The Duct Tape Bandit? He’s so yesterday.

Do the math. Do the homework.

And meet his heir apparent — the Staple Gun Stickup Man.

In the most recent local example of what can only be described as criminal stupidity, police say that an Ashland man on Tuesday held up an ice cream parlor with a decidedly nonlethal weapon:

A chrome-plated stapler.

Gerald A. Rocchi, 32, allegedly walked into The Ice Cream Shop, 713 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., about 6:40 p.m., his face covered with a ski mask, brandished the stapler and demanded money, Ashland Police Department Capt. Don Petrella said.

It’s not known whether the robber had plans to fire projectiles with the stapler, or to use it as a blunt instrument if his demand wasn’t met.

Because of its chrome finish, the stapler could have conceivably been mistaken it for a handgun “if someone didn’t get a good look at it,” Petrella said.

Store employees complied with the robber, forking over about $175 from the register, according to Petrella.

Unlike Kasey Kazee, the accused Duct Tape Bandit, Rocchi was able to make a successful getaway. He ran into the neighboring Ponderosa steakhouse, went into a restroom and changed clothes, then fled to a house on 10th Street, Petrella said.

However, several witnesses saw Rocchi fleeing and were able to provide responding officers with information on his direction of travel.

Officers surrounded the 10th Street house where Rocchi had holed up. He refused their orders to come out, Petrella said.

Police negotiated with Rocchi for about 45 minutes before he finally agreed to surrender, he said.

Officers searched the house and found the money from The Ice Cream Shop heist, along with the stapler and the ski mask, Petrella said.

Additionally, police located evidence at the scene linking Rocchi with a holdup that occurred Thursday at Wendy’s in the Midtown Mall, Petrella said. He declined to say what that evidence was.

It’s believed that Rocchi also used a staple gun in the earlier heist, Petrella said.

Rocchi told police he lived in the 2100 block of Winchester Avenue, but he had actually been living in the 10th Street house, Petrella said.

Rocchi had not been charged in the Wendy’s heist as of Wednesday. He was being held in the Boyd County Detention Center on a single count of first-degree robbery.