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Couple survive 'scary' late-night attack

By SUSAN EVANS
TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT EBENSBURG BUREAU
NICKTOWN - Allen W. Kirsch was asleep in his rural home at 1:30 a.m. Thursday when a masked man turned on the light, stuck a gun in his face and began cursing.

That was the start of a violent and nightmarish assault on Kirsch and his companion, Michelle M. Konwinski. Three men bound and terrorized them, then robbed their Duman Road home in Barr Township.

The home-invasion attackers even turned on a neighbor's dog, muzzling it with tape.

"We were terrified," Konwinski said. "It was like something you'd see in a movie.

"I've never prayed so hard in my life," she said.

Kirsch, 66, and Konwinski, 39, were not seriously injured.

But one of the thieves gained access to a basement safe and removed what troopers referred to as "a large amount of cash,'' along with a gun collection.

Now, police are searching for the robbers - one using the nickname "Smiley" and the other called "Pumpkin Head." Even seasoned officers are shocked at the ferocity of the crime in the normally quiet northern Cambria County area.

"It's very scary that something like that would happen up there," said Trooper Steve Barto.

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating and Thursday issued the following information:

nOne suspect is described as a white male; 5 feet, 6 inches tall; about 200 pounds; with short brown hair. He was wearing a gray face mask with a white stripe and was referred to as "Smiley."

n The other is described as a white male; 6 feet tall; about 155 pounds; blue eyes, wearing a red face mask and referred to as "Pumpkin Head."

In a telephone interview Thursday afternoon with The Tribune-Democrat, Kirsch said he still is stunned by the hour-long assault.

"I would never have believed that something like this would happen around here," he said.

Kirsch said they saw only two of the three men because the third was moving about in the basement and around the house, and taking things outside, while the other two tied up the couple and then stayed nearby.

Kirsch and Konwinski said they did not know the men.

"They had us tied up, and it left marks around my ankles," Konwinski said. "Both had masks on, and the third one in the basement we couldn't see."

They described the robbers as rude and crude, using plenty of four-letter words.

"After we were awake, the guy asked us, 'Didn't you hear your (expletive) dog bark,' " Konwinski said. "They were very unpolite and nasty."

She said they had heard the neighbor's dog bark, but paid little attention. It wasn't until later, when they found the dog taped up, that she realized what the robber meant.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
This happened in a very small rural town in west central PA on Thursday, July 28, about 30 miles north of where I live.

P95Carry, you probably know this general region. This would be a good story to share with your friends you were talking about in your thread, "Shooters, who don't or won't carry."

After reading this, my wife finally understands the necessity of owning and knowing how to use a firearm, and she now wants to take a pistol shooting & safety course. It really shook her up, because even compared to our own relatively small town, this town is tiny, quiet, everybody knows everyone, etc.
 
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