Ronald W. Clouser, the man who confessed last week to being Delaware's "gentleman bandit" confessed yesterday to a similar Pennsylvania robbery for which a Catholic priest remains charged.
Clouser's eleventh-hour confession cleared the Rev. Bernard T. Pagano as he stood trial on six robbery charges in Delaware. But Pagano still faces an attempted robbery charge in Delaware County, Pa.
Despite Clouser's confession, John Crane, deputy district attorney in Delaware County, said his office has not yet decided whether to drop the charge against the 53-year-old priest. Authorities here, he said, want to give Clouser a polygraph test, and take more time to check out the claims of Pagano's alibi witnesses, he said.
Pagano became a suspect in the Pennsylvania case because the robbery attempt fit the pattern of the gentleman bandit robberies for which he had been charged in Delaware. As in the Delaware cases, the bandit had used a tiny, chrome-plated pistol in his attempt to hold up a small boutique in the Concordville shopping mall. But when the store clerk told the robber he had made nothing but credit card sales that evening, the bandit promptly left the store saying, "I'm sorry," according to the police report.
Saul Segan, Clouser's attorney said Clouser had given the District Attorney's office a "full and complete statement of his involvement" in the Pennsylvania robbery attempt. "No deals were made, no promises of immunity [from prosecution]," Segan said.
Clouser has said he committed robberies in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to obtain money to pay his $125-week court-ordered support payments to his family.