Three accused Penn Twp. armed robbers avoid adult court
Three Hanover-area juveniles originally charged as adults in an armed home-invasion robbery have succeeded in having their cases moved to juvenile court.
That leaves one member of the purported four-person teen crew to stand trial in adult court.
Brandon Lee Zumbrum, now 19, of York Street in Penn Township, turned 18 several months before Penn Township Police said he and three of his friends barged into a township home armed with a knife and an airsoft gun that looked like a real handgun.
Co-defendants Alex James Myers and Stephen Noel were both 17 at the time, and are now 18, according to court records. The fourth co-defendant, Kaid Oberdorff, was 16 at the time and is now 17.
All three were in York County Court on Tuesday, Feb. 20, for a scheduled 1:30 p.m. status conference, according to court records.
Afterward, their court cases were no longer available for public view.
Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office, said that's because the cases for all three were moved to juvenile court.
All four teens are from Penn Township and remain free on bail, according to court records.
'Unfortunate': Seamus Dubbs, the defense attorney representing Zumbrum, called it unfortunate and unfair that, if convicted, his client could spend years in prison while his co-defendants could spend a few months in a juvenile facility.
"He's not even allegedly the most culpable," Dubbs said, adding he's hoping Zumbrum will be able to avoid trial and instead reach a negotiated agreement with prosecutors.
The attorney noted that young people mature at different times, meaning a 16- or 17-year-old could be more sophisticated than an 18-year-old.
Penn Township Police Lt. Guy Hettinger said whether minors face trial in adult or juvenile court "is absolutely beyond our control."
He noted the goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate young people.
In adult court the goal of rehabilitation must be weighed against other factors, including punishment and public safety.
The problem, Hettinger said, is when offenders — juvenile or adult — refuse to rehabilitate themselves.
"That's why we're here," he said.
The allegations: According to charging documents, the teens donned masks and knocked on the door of a home on Stuart Avenue just after 11:30 p.m. May 23.
One brandished a gun, and another wielded a knife, police allege.
"These individuals had some knowledge that there was supposed to be money in the residence," Penn Township Police Chief Jim Laughlin said at the time.
They pushed their way inside after a woman who lived there answered the door, then took turns holding her and her female friend at gunpoint in the living room, documents allege.
Police later learned the gun wasn't real — it was an airsoft gun, according to charging documents.
While the women were being held against their will, the men searched the home and stole $500 cash, about $300 in change, a small amount of marijuana, prescription pain pills and three glass bongs, police allege.
Ten or 15 minutes after barging into the home, the foursome fled out the back door with the stolen property, documents state.
Earlier break-in: The resident told officers her home had been burglarized about two weeks before the home-invasion robbery, on May 11, according to police.
She didn't report that burglary, police said.
But the next day, Myers showed up at her home, identified himself by his first name and said he'd heard about the break-in and had been sent there to check on her, documents allege.
Myers later admitted to police someone told him there was cash and marijuana in the woman's home, according to police.
Oberdorff confessed he brandished the knife and that Myers had the pellet gun, documents state.
Crime spree: Laughlin said the four teens committed other crimes during a brief spree in the Penn Township area.
"They were doing all kinds of things, but this is, obviously, the most serious," he said.
The four didn't always commit crimes together, according to the chief. Sometimes they'd do a crime as a duo or trio, he said.
Those crimes include burglary and thefts, Laughlin said.
Zumbrum remains charged with robbery, burglary, making terroristic threats and attempted simple assault.
He also is charged in two separate cases with counts of theft from motor vehicles, receiving stolen property, corruption of minors, criminal mischief and criminal conspiracy.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.