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Woman Arrested for Robberies Linked by Lighter, Police Say

A Bethlehem woman who allegedly confessed to robbing a gas station and a 7-Eleven in the city over the weekend told police she was high on heroin and Ecstasy, police say.

A six-inch WWF lighter helped lead Bethlehem Police to a woman who admitted robbing a city gas station and 7-Eleven store during early-morning hours over the weekend, court records say. 

Joanna Scandlen told police she was high on heroin and Ecstasy during the robberies and said "My financial situation was desperate and I did not know what to do," an arrest affidavit says.

Scandlen, 26, of 3120 East Boulevard, Apt. B, Bethlehem, is accused of robbing the Quick Fill gas station at 2960 Linden St. at 6:41 a.m. Saturday and also the 7-Eleven at 2930 Linden St. Sunday morning.

According to the arrest affidavit: 

Police say a woman entered the Quick Fill Saturday with her face covered by a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt and pulled up her sweatshirt to show the cashier a handgun. She demanded money from the cash register, plus lottery tickets and three cartons of Newport cigarettes.

The next morning, a woman entered the 7-Eleven about 5:27 am with a gray scarf covering her face and pulled up her shirt to show a handgun. She reportedly demanded cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets. Before leaving, she grabbed a six-inch WWF lighter from the counter.

Police say a witness at the Quick Fill garage reported seeing an older four-door silver vehicle with a green door and black primer on the front leave from Stefano's restaurant at 2970 Linden St. after the 7-Eleven robbery and had seen it before.

Police found a vehicle fitting the description parked at 3120 East Blvd. 

"I observed in plain view on the passenger side floor a WWF oversize lighter approximately six inches in height," Det. Moses Miller said in the affidavit. 

Police interviewed the car's owner, Carlos Hernandez, who said his girlfriend, Joanna Scandlen, was arrested by Allentown Police at 5 p.m. Sunday for reported retail theft and was in Lehigh County Prison. Hernandez allowed police to search the car and they took custody of the WWF lighter and a pack of Newport cigarettes. 

Later they interviewed Scandlen in jail and she confessed to the two robberies, saying that she had been high on heroin and Ecstasy at the time, the affidavit says. She said she flashed a BB handgun at the cashiers. 

Asked why she committed the crimes, she reportedly said, "My financial situation was desperate and I did not know what to do." 

She was arraigned by District Judge James Narlesky of Hanover Township (Northampton County) on two courts each of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property and simple assault. Scandlen was committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail. 

Police said the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call police at 610-865-7187 or 610-997-7674. 

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