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Taser-Toting Gas Station Robber Sentenced to 5 to 10 Years

March 2, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Thomas C. Gannon, 215.348.6461, tcgannon@buckscounty.org

Steven Massey-Tomlin
 Steven Massey-Tomlin

A drug-addicted Philadelphia man who bought a Taser online and used it to rob two Bucks County gas stations was sentenced Tuesday to serve five to 10 years in state prison.

Steven Massey-Tomlin, 27, an articulate, soft-spoken man who once ran his own business, said he committed the robberies after relapsing into drug abuse when he became unemployed.

“I hate the person I was and the decisions I made which led to my current situation,” he said in a letter to Common Pleas Court Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. “My only concern at the time was getting high. I made horrible decisions and hurt friends, family and strangers to get high.”

His robbery victims, however, were not exactly strangers. Massey-Tomlin’s first holdup was at a Sunoco station in Bristol Township where he recently had worked. The store clerk he robbed had helped to train him, and later identified him from surveillance images taken during the crime.

Two months later, Massey-Tomlin robbed a second Sunoco station in Feasterville, wearing his old Sunoco work shirt to deflect suspicion should a customer walk in unexpectedly.

Both robberies occurred shortly before 2 a.m.

On May 8, 2016, Massey-Tomlin accosted an attendant outside the Sunoco at 2435 Durham Road in Bristol Township. After reaching into his jacket to reveal what the victim thought was the butt end of a handgun, Massey-Tomlin ordered the victim into a bathroom at the rear of the store, saying he wouldn’t shoot the man if he cooperated.

Massey took the attendant’s cell phone, demanded the password to open the register, and left with cash and cigarettes worth about $1,300.

On July 24, 2016, he robbed a Sunoco station at 300 E. Street Road in Lower Southampton. This time, Massey-Tomlin entered the store wearing his Sunoco shirt and a white surgical mask and jumped the counter.

According to Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon, who prosecuted the case, the robber jabbed his Taser at the attendant but missed. Massey-Tomlin then ordered the clerk to the ground and demanded the register codes.

Massey-Tomlin then told the clerk to go to the rear restroom, but neglected to take away his cell phone. The clerk immediately locked the bathroom door behind him and called 911, listening through the door as the robber took cash and cigarettes and fled.

Gannon said Massey-Tomlin used his intelligence to commit “the most thoroughly detailed robberies, in terms of planning, that I have seen.” In the second robbery, Gannon said, the defendant simply “became sloppy” by failing to take the victim’s phone.

The clerk in the second robbery was especially terrorized by the Taser, Gannon said, because he already had suffered one stroke and feared the shock would cause him to have another. As a result, the clerk left his job, the prosecutor said.

At the time of the robberies, Gannon said, Massey-Tomlin was on supervision for drug offenses in Philadelphia. He also is suspected of a third Sunoco robbery in the city.

Massey-Tomlin told Bateman that he had struggled with addiction throughout his life. He said he had worked in sales and marketing, at one point owning his own business, but became unemployed and began using Xanax again.

He said he had a $100 per day pill habit by the time he decided to commit robberies with a Taser he had purchased online.

“You can buy a Taser online?” an incredulous Bateman interrupted.

“He clearly is struggling with depression,” said Deputy Public Defender Christine C. Cregar. “He is concerned that he has failed his 6- and 7-year-old daughters.”

Bateman said Massey-Tomlin was in need of intensive addiction treatment, and that being in prison had gotten him sober. He imposed a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, followed by three years of probation, and ordered Massey-Tomlin to pay $1,394.54 in restitution to Sunoco.

“The person you are today is not the person you were at the time of these crimes,” the judge said, noting the defendant’s intelligent, polite demeanor.

Drugs “are really the source of all this,” Bateman said. “I think if you didn’t have the addiction problems, we would be having a different conversation. We probably would never have met.”

The case was investigated by the Bristol Township and Lower Southampton Township Police Departments.

 

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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