Man held for court in 2022 robbery at Polk home

A York County man who police say was one of two men who broke into a Polk Borough home in July 2022 and tied up and robbed the couple who live there was held for court Wednesday.

Chase Shehan, 22, of Dover, will now face further proceedings in the Venango County Court of Common Pleas following his preliminary hearing before district judge Andrew Fish.

Shehan, who is now in the Venango County jail, had been in the Dauphin County jail on drug charges, and that had delayed his arraignment on the Polk robbery charges from 19 months ago, according to a criminal complaint filed by Franklin state police.

He was bound over Wednesday on felony counts of robbery-threat of immediate serious injury, kidnap to facilitate a felony, burglary-overnight accommodation, person present, bodily injury crime, criminal attempt-aggravated assault attempts to cause serious bodily injury with extreme indifference, terroristic threats and theft by unlawful taking of movable property, as well as three misdemeanor charges.

Four men in total were charged by Franklin state police for their roles in the July 10, 2022, crime.

Police said David Adams, 34, of Oil City, planned the robbery, and Tyler Burns, 21, of Dillsburg, is accused of carrying out the robbery with Shehan.

The fourth defendant, Mario Ambris Jr., 28, of New Oxford, told police after his arrest he was driving the getaway car and didn’t know the others planned to commit a robbery.

Ambris pleaded guilty last week in Common Pleas court to one felony count of conspiracy-burglary, overnight accommodation, no person present, and he is currently in the Venango County jail awaiting sentencing.

The cases against Burns and Adams are continuing to make their way through Common Pleas court. Their Central Court hearings were held a few months after the incident.

Background of the case

How the robbery unfolded was related to state police by the homeowner and his wife, who didn’t know the men who robbed them but did describe them to police.

Franklin state police said in a criminal complaint that on July 10, 2022, the older couple were at their home on Mercer Road when the man looked out a window and saw a man dressed all in black with a black ski mask and gloves moving through their yard toward the house.

The homeowner went outside and confronted the man, the complaint said, and the man then noticed a second man also dressed all in black with a mask on, walking toward him.

The complaint doesn’t identify which of the two men was alleged to be Shehan and which was Burns.

The homeowner turned to go back into his house, then the two men in black entered the house and one grabbed the man’s wife while the other pulled a black pistol out of his hoodie and held the couple at gunpoint, threatening to kill them if anyone came or they didn’t cooperate with him, the complaint said.

After tying the couple up and searching through the house, Burns and Shehan stole a revolver, a drone, almost $600 in cash and coins, collectible coins, including 1976 John F. Kennedy coins, and jewelry, all valued at about $1,583, the complaint said.

After about 15 to 20 minutes the couple, who were unharmed, were able to free themselves and call 911, the complaint said.

Through the course of their investigation, police identified a Toyota Venza that Ambris had rented in Hanover on June 28, 2022, and returned July 23, 2022, which was seen near the house the morning of the robbery, according to the complaint.

Police also interviewed several people, including Adams and Ambris, the complaint said.

Adams, who was in jail on other charges when police interviewed him in October 2022, said he believed Burns and Ambris committed the robbery.

Adams repeatedly told police he had nothing to do with the robbery, but the complaint notes his story had some inconsistencies and he had detailed knowledge of the robbery.

When state police interviewed Ambris in January 2023, he told them Burns and Adams had been “in charge of” several robberies that had recently happened in Venango County, including the Polk robbery, and that while Burns is a leader, Adams would “instruct him in certain things,” the complaint said.

On the day of the robbery, Ambris said Burns told him he needed to drive Burns and Shehan someplace but didn’t say what they planned to do, so Ambris drove them, the complaint said.

Ambris said he didn’t know the pair was planning to commit a robbery and at several points during that day he was concerned Burns would shoot him, according to the complaint.

Ambris said he didn’t begin piecing together what had happened until they returned to a house in Oil City and Burns showed him what they had taken from the Polk home and Adams showed up less than an hour later, the complaint said.

Burns was arrested in Oil City in October 2022 on unrelated robbery charges and was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals on outstanding warrants, the complaint said.

Searches of the Hone Avenue residence in Oil City where Burns was staying when he was arrested turned up numerous items connected to the Polk robbery, including clothes the robbers were wearing, the complaint said.

Burns is facing numerous charges in several other unrelated cases in Venango County, including robbery, attempted aggravated assault and kidnapping. Those cases are all also winding their way through the Venango County courts.

Burns is currently incarcerated in SCI Houtzdale. He has pleaded not guilty to the Polk robbery charges and is awaiting further court action.

In connection to the Polk robbery, Burns has been charged with felony counts of kidnap to inflict injury or terror and aggravated assault as well as misdemeanor charges.

Adams, who is currently incarcerated in SCI Smithfield, has also pleaded not guilty in the Polk case.

He has been charged with felony counts of conspiracy-robbery threat to immediate serious injury, conspiracy-kidnap to facilitate a felony, and conspiracy-burglary-overnight accommodation, person present, bodily injury crime, conspiracy — theft by unlawful taking, movable property as well as misdemeanor offenses.