WILKES-BARRE TWP. — A fourth suspect in a violent home invasion in which an elderly couple were tied up inside their Bear Creek Township residence last year was captured Wednesday on his birthday.
Nathaniel Vestal, who turned 40-years-old, was found in a bathroom of a residence on Church Street at about 11:30 a.m.
State police at Wyoming allege Vestal, of Wilkes-Barre, William Gronosky, 30, of Nanticoke, and Charles Conden, 46, of Hanover Township, forced their way into a house on Pittston Boulevard on April 7, 2012, and tied up an elderly couple and covered the couple’s heads with blankets. Another suspect, Wesley Hendricks, 51, of Wilkes-Barre, acted as a lookout in a vehicle but drove away, leaving the three men behind, state police allege.
Arrest papers say Vestal, Gronosky and Conden wore masks and used code names while they were inside the house for nearly an hour. Vestal was “Mr. Blue,” Gronosky was called “Mr. Black” and Conden used “Mr. Green.”
The wife told investigators one of the suspects, identified as Vestal, kept asking her where the cash was kept in the house. Vestal told the woman, “Mr. Green is going to kill you if you don’t shut up,” according to the criminal complaint.
State police said Vestal, Gronosky and Conden rummaged through the house, stealing money and guns, the complaint says.
Fairview Township police recovered six guns that were stolen from the Bear Creek Township house near Johnson Street in January.
When Hendricks drove away leaving Vestal, Gronosky and Conden behind, the three men stole the couple’s truck, which they abandoned near Dundee Road in Hanover Township, state police allege.
Gronosky, Conden and Hendricks are facing burglary, robbery and conspiracy charges in Luzerne County Court for their alleged roles in the home invasion. Gronosky is also facing unrelated charges in other home invasions, burglaries and robberies in the area in March and April 2012. He also allegedly fired several shots at a state police trooper and a Wilkes-Barre police officer, according to court records.
Vestal was arraigned by District Judge Michael Dotzel on multiple counts of robbery, burglary and conspiracy charges. He was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $100,000 bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled on July 3 before Dotzel.