• Teacher Accused In Bank Robbery To Enter Drug Rehab

    PITTSBURGH,None - A suspended high school science teacher already charged in a bank robbery and accused of taking more than 10 laptop computers from the Pittsburgh school where she worked can enter a rehab center for heroin addiction.

    Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning said he will allow Philicia Barbieri, 25, out on bond so she can enter what could be up to a 90-day program.

    Barbieri's attorney said her 4-month-old, $100-a-day heroin addiction fueled all her crimes.

    Barberi's attorney said after spending several days in jail, she is coming down from a "heroin fog" and is realizing what she has done. Pat Thomassey said the former high school teacher is not your average criminal.

    "If you look at her with a lineup of women and ask, 'Who's the school teacher?' you'd point to her," said Thomassey. "She had a $100 a day habit. That's a lot of money for a school teacher."

    Barbieri is suspended from the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, where the laptops were stolen between January and March, and is also jailed for her alleged role in an April 15 bank robbery with her boyfriend.

    Police said she has now also acknowledged breaking into a neighbor's apartment on April 8 and 12.

    Thomassey said his client was a productive member of society, without a criminal record, before trying heroin.

    "She is doing a lot better. In my experience with addiction after a few days in jail they start to come out of the fog. She understands the seriousness of what occurred and the impact it has on her life," Thomassey said.

    Barberi's attorney said her addiction began after her boyfriend was injured in a car accident.

    "Her addiction began with prescribed pills. It happens way too often with people in accidents. They legitimately begin to use drugs for pain relief and they become addicted. When they can't get it from a doctor they turn to street drugs and that's exactly what happened," said Thomassey.

    Barberi is expected to be transferred from the Allegheny County Jail to a Butler County rehabilitation facility sometime this week.

    Previous Stories: April 22, 2011: Suspended Pittsburgh Teacher Admits More Crimes April 18, 2011: CAPA Substitute Accused Of Stealing Also Charged In Bank Robbery

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