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Former Pitt football player accused of robbing bank described as ‘wonderful' man



PITTSBURGH - People who know a former University of Pittsburgh football player accused of robbing a bank Monday said they don’t believe he’s responsible for the crime. 

Investigators said Jovani Chappel robbed a PNC Bank on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill before prompting a SWAT situation in Hazelwood. 

The criminal complaint stated that Chappel walked into the bank wearing a bandana and shouted, "Give me all the money! No dye packs. I will kill everyone here! No silent alarms! I used to work here! No dye packs!"

Not long after the robbery, Channel 11 News learned that a SWAT team surrounded a home on Blair Street in Hazelwood.

According to police, Chappel was believed to be in one of three Blair Street homes, but was found sitting on the porch of a home on Lytle Street. He was then taken into police custody.

Shae Murry, who rents out a home to Chappel and his girlfriend, said robbery is out of character for Chappel.

“I got a call and I thought it was fake. I don't think it was true,” said Murry.

Robert Smith, who witnessed the robbery said, “I heard him screaming over there that he was going to kill somebody, and he was going to kill them if they didn't put the money in the bag, and he went from teller to teller to teller.”

Chappel played for Pitt from 2006-2009.

Chappel’s neighbors said he was just giving local boys haircuts in preparation for the first day of school.

 “He’s a great guy. He’d give you the shirt off his back. He’s wonderful. I would never think anything like this. I don’t believe it,” one neighbor said.