MUNCY - A Muncy man who said he has wrestled with chronic pain for years turned himself in last Monday morning and admitted to authorities he robbed the Whiskey Room on West Third Street in the city late Saturday afternoon to get cash to buy painkillers.
"That was the motive," to get cash to buy "cocaine, alcohol, pills, whatever I could get," 54-year-old Dennis Lee Burley told District Judge Christian Frey as he was being arraigned on robbery-related charges.
City police said Burley allegedly robbed a female bartender at the business at 30 W. Third St. about 5:30 p.m. after drinking "two mixed drinks" at the bar, Agent Fred Miller said in an affidavit. A female customer also was in the bar at the time, Miller said.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
City police agents Jason Bolt, center, and Fred Miller take Dennis Lee Burley from police headquarters to be arraigned on charges of allegedly robbing a Center City bar late Saturday afternoon on January 14.
Burley ordered a third drink, but it was not served because he did not have enough money to pay for it, Miller said.
"He got up from the bar as if he was going to leave when he turned and walked directly to the women. He told them this was a robbery, and made a furtive movement with his hand to his jacket as though he had a weapon in it," Miller said.
"He told the bartender to open the register and to give him all the money," Miller said. When she hesitated at first, the man stated, "Do you want me to kill your friend?" referring to the customer, the agent added.
The robber also warned the bartender "Don't push the panic button or I'll break your friend's neck," Miller said in the affidavit. The man fled with over $300, police said.
Burley, of 8 N. Market St., Muncy, surrendered by calling 911, Miller said.
"I've had three hip surgeries, three replacements. I'm in a lot of pain," Burley told Frey, adding he had been "self-medicating" himself "for 10 years through all the surgeries" because he couldn't get any more pain medication.
Following his arraignment on charges of robbery, terroristic threats, theft and receiving stolen property, Burley was committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.