‘He just made a silly mistake': Store owner won't press charges against Spider-Man robber

by: Margaret Harding, TribLIVE Updated:

PITTSBURGH —

A man police accused of disguising himself as Spider-Man and trying to rob an Oakland convenience store will be released from the Allegheny County Jail because prosecutors withdrew a robbery charge against him Tuesday morning.

Pittsburgh police charged Jonathan Hewson, 21, of Oakland with robbing the Atwood Xpress on Atwood Street about 1:10 a.m. Sept. 20. Hewson wore a Spider-Man suit and mask during the incident, and was arrested in costume a few blocks from the store.

This article was written by Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE.

Store clerk Bob Patel told District Judge Hugh McGough he did not want to testify at the preliminary hearing in Pittsburgh Municipal Court. Afterward, he said he didn't want to pursue the case after learning more about Hewson from news reports.

“He's a college student,” Patel, 23, 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.”

Hewson, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, has been suspended from classes since his arrest, his attorney Mike Santicola said. He plans to get his record expunged and return to school as soon as possible, Santicola said.

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

Patel told police Hewson was wearing the costume and asked him, “How much money you got?” before fleeing when Patel pulled out a stun gun.

“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.”

Hewson has been held at jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond since his arrest. Santicola said he expected him to be released Tuesday. He won't be wearing the Spider-Man costume. Friends said Hewson was known around his neighborhood and at a rock climbing wall for wearing the costume.

“I think the Spider-Man outfit is going to be kept by the Commonwealth and destroyed,” Santicola said.

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Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.