Man gets pro­ba­tion for stink bomb stunt

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

WEST CH­ESTER >> A Mont­gomery County man who helped set off “stink bombs” in three West Ch­ester restau­rants dur­ing grad­u­a­tion week­end has been sen­tenced to pro­ba­tion for his part in the stunt.

On Tues­day, Matthew Scott Ar­men­trout, 33, of Green Street, Roy­ers­ford, pleaded guilty to charges of crim­i­nal mis­chief and con­spir­acy in the case that left pa­trons at the restau­rants suf­fer­ing from the ef­fects of nox­ious fumes from the de­vices, and restau­rant own­ers out thou­sands of dol­lars in pro­ceeds from the busy week­end.

Ar­men­trout was sen­tenced to five years pro­ba­tion as part of a ne­go­ti­ated plea be­tween the prose­cu­tion, led by As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Bonnie CoxShaw, and his at­tor­ney, Steve Jar­mon of Malvern.

He was also or­dered to pay resti­tu­tion to the three restau­rants in­volved — $3,760 to Side Bar & Restau­rant, $3,000 to Barn­aby’s Pub, and $2,500 to Ryan’s Pub. He is for­bid­den from en­ter­ing any of those es­tab­lish­ments dur­ing his pro­ba­tion, and must com­plete 100 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vices.

Judge Pa­trick Car­mody, who ac­cepted the guilty plea and im­posed the sen­tence, also or­dered Ar­men­trout to un­dergo a men­tal health eval­u­a­tion and fol­low any rec­om­mended treat­ment. The two other men in­volved in the stunt are still await­ing trial.

West Ch­ester po­lice ar­rested the trio af­ter they were iden­ti­fied as the men who un­leashed chem­i­cal “stink bombs” in the

restau­rants on May 7, the week­end of the West Ch­ester Univer­sity grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies.

Joshua Jef­fries, 30, of Bridge Road, Sch­wenksville, and Steven Smith, 28, of Church Street, Roy­ers­ford, were the oth­ers charged with caus­ing or risk­ing a catas­tro­phe, a sec­ond-de­gree felony; reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing an­other per­son, dis­or­derly con­duct and con­spir­acy for the prank, which caused a se­ri­ous dis­rup­tion for the three restau­rants the trio tar­geted.

Two of the men — Ar­men­trout and Jef­fries — told Of­fi­cer Harry O’Neill, who in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter, that they had come to West Ch­ester from Roy­ers­ford that night for the spe­cific pur­pose of set­ting off the stink bombs “to see peo­ple’s re­ac­tions,” ac­cord­ing to po­lice. The men said they had not bought any­thing at any of the es­tab­lish­ments, which were crowded with grad­u­a­tion

week­end rev­el­ers, and had only gone to the bars to set off the stink bombs.

O’Neill was able to iden­tify Ar­men­trout, Jef­fries and Stevens as pos­si­ble sus­pects af­ter check­ing the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion scan­ners at the three restau­rants and match­ing names of peo­ple who had come in to­gether at ap­prox­i­mately the same time. He also searched Face­book pages to see if he could find photos of the men that the bar own­ers could iden­tify.

In his com­plaint, O’Neill said he was able to in­ter­view both Ar­men­trout and Jef­fries, and that the two ad­mit­ted that they had set the bombs off with Smith. Ar­men­trout said he had used a “Go-Pro” head­mounted video cam­era to film the event, cap­tur­ing cus­tomers as they left the bars.

Jef­feries said they had pur­chased the “stink bombs” on­line. Such items are avail­able as prank toys, with odors that come from chem­i­cals mixed to­gether and re­leased.

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