Knaub
Knaub

A homeless man who police said kidnapped a real-estate agent and forced her to withdraw cash from an ATM has pleaded guilty to some of the charges against him, but it will be up to a judge to determine how much time Gregory S. Knaub will spend in prison.

Knaub, 38, pleaded guilty Friday to unlawful restraint and robbery.

In exchange for his plea, the prosecution agreed to drop charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment, defense attorney Seamus Dubbs said.

There is no agreed-upon sentence, Dubbs said, meaning it will be up to presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder to determine Knaub's punishment.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 28.

In August, Knaub tried to plead no contest to kidnapping and guilty to all other charges against him, in exchange for a prison sentence of 12 to 26 years, according to the attorney.

Bath salts: That's because he was high on bath salts at the time of the alleged kidnapping and maintains he has trouble remembering the event, according to Dubbs.

Dubbs said Snyder wasn't comfortable allowing Knaub to plead no contest rather than guilty, and declined to accept the agreement, which called for a negotiated sentence of 12 to 26 years in state prison.

Even though the kidnapping charge was dropped, Knaub faces about the same amount of time in prison, according to senior deputy prosecutor Jonathan Blake. He said he intends to ask the judge to impose 12 to 26 years.

Dubbs said he will ask the judge to hand down a shorter prison sentence.

The background: Knaub is accused of kidnapping the female real-estate agent and forcing her to withdraw cash from an automatic teller machine after meeting her for a bogus showing at a house that was for sale, according to police.

Police said he met the agent at 10 a.m. May 21, 2012, at a home in the 1700 block of Monroe Street in West York, and later got into the back seat of her car, brandished a steak knife and forced her to drive to a Spring Garden Township bank, where she withdrew $20 and gave it to him.

He then ordered her to drive to the corner of South Belvidere Avenue and West King Street in York City, where he jumped from the car, police said. The woman drove to the West York police station and alerted officers.

Police found Knaub hiding in the Codorus Creek, submerged in water, holding his breath and occasionally popping his head up for air.

Addiction issues: Knaub is remorseful for what he did, according to Dubbs, who said it was the man's drug addiction that spurred the crime in the first place.

He pointed to the fact that Knaub didn't order his victim to withdraw as much cash as she could during the robbery; instead Knaub asked for $20 -- enough to buy a small amount of cocaine.

In court, Knaub said all three of his criminal cases were caused by his addiction, according to Blake.

"He was still willing to take responsibility in all three cases," the prosecutor said.

Burglarized church: Knaub also awaits sentencing on those two unrelated cases, in which he pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges.

He burglarized Calvary United Methodist Church, 11 Richland Ave., on May 19, 2012, and stole a television and several grocery-store gift cards, the prosecutor said.

Knaub jimmied open washing machines and stole change from Crystal Clean Laundromat at 1128 Mount Rose Avenue on May 9, 2012, Blake said.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.