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Robbery suspect captured after police converge on home

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

SWAT team units captured a robbery suspect at his home early Tuesday morning, with support from several emergency response and law enforcement agencies in the area.
Justin Andrew Osczepeinski, 22, of 1100 Requa Road in Cherryville, was apprehended at his residence just before 4 a.m. Tuesday after authorities setup a perimeter around his property.
Cherryville Police called on agencies from numerous area jurisdictions to aid them in after an officer spotted the man with a rifle inside his home, according to a press release.
Osczepeinski and another man, Jerald Lee Westberry, 40, of Cherryville, were allegedly involved with a robbery at The Tobacco House, located at 100 W. Church St. in Cherryville, around 7 p.m. Monday.
A witness reported the incident to 911, claiming that one of the suspects ran by his vehicle with a revolver as he was fleeing the store. The suspect hopped into the passenger side of a vehicle and fled the scene, the witness told police.
Earlier that evening, Osczepeinski entered the business, pointed a gun at a store employee and demanded money, authorities said.
A brief time later, police located the getaway vehicle abandoned in a nearby area and were able to use information found inside the vehicle to determine where the suspect lived.
Westberry turned himself into police around 11 p.m. Tuesday, several hours after Osczepeinski’s arrest.
Each suspect was charged with one felony count each of robbery with a dangerous weapon and both remain behind bars in the Gaston County jail under a $200,000 secured bond. Osczepeinski also faces an additional felony charge for possession of a firearm by a felon.
According to public records on the North Carolina Department of Correction website, Westberry criminal history only showed a level 2 DWI in Mecklenburg County in 2003.
However, Osczepeinski is no stranger to armed robbery, having been released from prison in October after spending at least a year behind bars for an armed robbery conviction in Mecklenburg County in 2010.
Additional responding agencies included police departments from Cherryville, Gaston County, City of Gastonia, Belmont and Stanley along with Gaston County Sheriff’s deputies and troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Gaston County Emergency Medical Services, Cherryville Rescue Squad and the Cherryville Fire Department were also on scene, authorities said.

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