Eastern Kentucky Man Charged With Using Stapler To Rob Shop

An Eastern Kentucky man faces charges tonight, after police say he robbed an ice cream parlor using something you'd normally find on a desk.

It didn't take long for Ashland Police to catch up with the suspect. They arrested him at a nearby house.

But his unusual weapon, is getting lots of attention.

Police say a chrome plated stapler was used to hold up an ice cream parlor in Ashland, and the suspect got away with 175 dollars in cash.

Ashland police say the suspect put the staple gun in the back of the ice cream parlor clerk, and she thought it was a real gun. The clerk didn't know 32-year-old Gerald Rochi was only armed with a staple gun.

Police say Rochi took off with the cash and headed next door to the Pondarosa for a quick change of clothes, then headed across the street.

Authorities say witnesses saw him run from the store to the house, and were able to point out house he was in. Police quickly surrounded the home, and took the suspect into custody.

So far, Rocchi is only charged with the ice cream parlor robbery, but police say he may have also held up a Wendy's last week.

AP Story

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) - A man wearing a ski mask held up an eastern Kentucky ice cream store with a stapler - and briefly got away with $175.

Police identified the stapler bandit as Gerald A. Rocchi, 32, who was arrested shortly after he allegedly flashed a chrome-plated stapler at an employee of The Ice Cream Shop in Ashland on Tuesday and demanded money.

Ashland Police Capt. Don Petrella said he didn't know if Rocchi planned to shoot staples at the shop's employees or use it as a blunt instrument if he didn't get the cash. It didn't come to that because the employees handed over the cash, Petrella said.

Several witnesses saw Rocchi leave the shop and told police where he was headed, Petrella said. After arresting Rocchi, police searched his house and found money, a stapler and a ski mask, Petrella said.

Petrella said the chrome finish on the stapler could have made it look like a gun "if someone didn't get a good look at it."

Rocchi was charged with first-degree robbery. He made his first appearance in Boyd District Court on Wednesday morning. He did not have an attorney at the hearing.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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