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Charges dropped against alleged Spider-Man robber

Oct. 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Authorities in Pittsburgh said a store has decided not to press robbery charges against a college student who wore a Spider-Man costume as an apparent prank.

Prosecutors said they have withdrawn the robber charge against Jonathan Hewson, 21, of Oakland, and he was to be released from jail Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday.

Hewson had been suspended from the University of Pittsburgh since his Sept. 20 arrest and his attorney said he plans to get the arrest expunged from his record and return to classes as soon as he can.

Bob Patel, 23, the clerk at the Atwood Xpress store in the Oakland neighborhood, told District Judge Hugh McGough he wanted to drop the charges after learning more about Hewson.

"He's a college student," Patel said. "I don't want to ruin his career. He's on his last year of college and he's going to a good school. He just made a silly mistake."

Patel said Hewson came into the store around 1:10 a.m. Sept. 20 while wearing his Spider-Man costume and asked, "How much money you got?"

Patel brandished a pellet gun and Hewson fled.

"When somebody comes in, in the middle of the night, wearing a Spider-Man suit and asking for money, I'm thinking it's a robbery," Patel said. "He just made a mistake."

Mike Santicola, Hewson's attorney, described the incident as a prank.

"It was, I would say, a college prank gone awry," Santicola said. "I think cooler heads prevailed today... Spider-Man is not a robber."

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