Friday, February 24, 2006

True Christianity

7:44 a.m. EST February 24, 2006

PITTSBURGH - An armed man who robbed a store on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield may have been apprehended, police said. Thomas Balistrieri, 29, was arrested on Thursday night. Authorities believe he might be the man who encountered Mary Madalyn Schleifer at Sacred Heart of Jesus Store earlier in the day.

"I went behind the counter and he pulled out a nice little gun, and I lifted his cap and asked him why he was doing this," said Schleifer.

Schleifer, who calls herself a lay Passionist, turned over the cash. There wasn't much, since she had just opened for the day. "I told him Jesus loves him, despite his habits," she said.

After he left, Schleifer called police and said a prayer.

"I just feel bad. I think he's in trouble with drugs," Schleifer said. "I don't think he really wanted to do it, but he did do it. We'll just pray for the young man."

Schleifer said she was just glad no one was hurt.

"I'm out of $30," she said. "But God will provide, right?"

Authorities think the same man may have held up two other stores on Liberty Avenue earlier in the week.

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