Dittenhafer
Dittenhafer

Jacob David Dittenhafer didn't enter the home where his co-conspirators were in a shootout with one of the men they intended to rob, but the Springfield Township man will spend 2-1/2 years to 5 years and 11 months in jail for his role in the ill-fated endeavor.

Dittenhafer on Friday pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tampering with evidence charges for driving the would-be robbers to a Chanceford Township home and waiting in the car outside, then burning his clothing that was stained with his co-defendant's blood.

Part of his sentence includes 6 to 23 months in jail because he violated his probation, stemming from an earlier simple assault charge, when he participated in the robbery scheme on Oct. 23, 2012. He will serve the remainder of his term in state prison; he has been held in York County Prison since Oct. 24, 2012.

Two of his co-defendants have already entered pleas. Chad Heath Miller, formerly of Felton, was sentenced to 15-1/2 to 31 years in state prison. James Lee Herlth, also formerly of Felton, was sentenced to 4-1/2 to 9 years.

With Dittenhafer's plea on Friday, only one co-defendant remains set for trial. Robert Dale Young of Lower Windsor Township is free on $100,000 bail. He's charged with robbery, burglary, reckless endangerment and other offenses and is scheduled for pre-trial conferences next month.

What happened: According to police, Miller and Herlth shot the lock on the door of Doug Downs' home in the 3700 block of Brownton Road about 12:40 a.m. Oct. 23 and barged in.


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Miller forced Downs' roommate, Andrew Boyd, into the split-level home's lower level while Herlth held Downs at gunpoint upstairs, police said.

Downs struggled with Herlth, but stopped when Herlth threatened to shoot him, police said.

The victims' dog started barking at Herlth and jumping on him, distracting his attention, Downs has said.

Downs said he grabbed his gun and shot Herlth three times in the chest, but the man merely took a step back.

Downs said he fired at Miller as the gunman was coming up the stairs, "but he didn't drop either." Police later discovered the men had been wearing bulletproof vests.

Miller yelled for Young, who'd been waiting outside, and the two men carried Herlth to their getaway vehicle, documents state. Dittenhafer had stayed in the vehicle, police said.

At some point, Young fired the shotgun, hitting Herlth again, police said.

Miller and Young then dragged the wounded Herlth to their getaway vehicle and took off, police said. Investigators tracked down Herlth at York Hospital.