Three men are facing charges after investigators say they robbed, strangled and unlawfully restrained a Walmart employee who owed them money.
Authorities say 18-year-old Ronald Pinto, 19-year-old Michael Young and 20-year-old Jonathan Pennington Jr. are facing several felonies related to robbery.
According to Lawrence Township police, officers were called to Walmart Oct. 23 after a Walmart employee reportedly had his wallet and phone stolen at knife-point.
Police say the victim told officers that Pinto had texted him earlier in the day and wanted to meet up in Curwensville.
After meeting up with Pinto, the victim said he was told to get into a truck and they went to pick up Young and Pennington, according to a criminal complaint.
Once they were driving again, the victim says Young placed a rope around his neck and Pinto showed him a hatchet threatening to “chop him up into pieces out in the back woods,” according to the complaint.
Police say Pennington took the victim’s wallet, drove them to a bank and tried to use the victim’s bank card, but there was no money in his account because he hadn’t been paid yet.
According to the complaint, the victim told officers that he owed the three men money and they then began driving to Walmart so the victim could pull out his paycheck early.
While they were on their way to Walmart, the men hit the victim in the leg with the rope and the back of the hatchet, according to the complaint.
The victim says he was also punched in the face and burned with a lit cigarette as Young pulled on the rope around his neck making it hard to breather, according to the complaint.
When they arrived at Walmart, the victim says his coworkers could tell something was wrong, but he didn’t want to say anything because he’d been threatened, the complaint states.
According to the complaint, the victim’s coworkers eventually pulled him aside and called police.
Police say Young, Pennington and Pinto left before officers arrived, but the three were identified and charges were filed.