VANDALIA — The so-called “Ghost Robber,” Romero A. Battigaglia, Jr., has been sentenced to nine years in prison in connection with the robbery of the Vandalia Family Dollar store last June along with 11 other crimes in Montgomery County.
The sentence was announced by Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck, Jr. on Thursday afternoon.
Battigaglia, 32, changed his plea to guilty in Judge Dennis Langer’s courtroom to one count of Robbery with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony, on July 6.
He was dubbed the “Ghost Robber” for his tendency to wear a hat and wrap his face in cloth.
Montgomery County Jail records indicate that Battigaglia also faces a pair of parole revocation hearings on heroin possession charges from 2013.
According to police and victim’s statements, Battigaglia allegedly went to the Family Dollar around 10:30 a.m. on June 22, 2014 and pulled a gun and demanded money from the cashier. Witnesses said that the suspect had a black wrap around his face. He yelled at the cashier three times to “put the money in the bag,” and pointed the gun at the cashier until she complied. He then fled the store.
Vandalia police called in a K9 unit but the scent of the suspect disappeared outside the store.
A review of surveillance video from businesses around the Family Dollar revealed a car and a description of the suspect along with that from witnesses.
Centerville and Kettering police were also working on similar cases matching the description of Battigaglia who was ultimately arrested by Moraine police on a similar incident but was later released.
Vandalia detectives interviewed Battigaglia at the jail and also received information from a confidential informant. Prosecutors ultimately approved the robbery charges in late September and Battigaglia was arrested by Vandalia police without incident on October 3.
“This defendant committed crimes all over Montgomery County,” said Heck. “Thankfully, no one was injured in any of his crimes, but clearly, this defendant is a menace to our community. Locked up, behind bars, is the only way to ensure he will not commit more robberies.”
Battigaglia was also sentenced for:
- Possession of Heroin out of Kettering;
- Receiving Stolen Property, Resisting Arrest out of Moraine related to theft of a vehicle out of Kettering;
- Receiving Stolen Property, Aggravated Robbery of a person in the Kroger parking lot on Smithville Road;
- Aggravated Robbery of the UDF store at knifepoint on Wyoming St. in Dayton;
- Robbery of the Speedway on Huffman Ave. in Dayton;
- Robbery of Sammy’s Fuel Mart on Smithville Rd. in Dayton;
- Robbery of the UDF store on Wyoming St. in Dayton (second time);
- Robbery of the Speedway on Wilmington Pike in Centerville;
- Robbery of the Speedway on E. Dixie Drive in W. Carrollton;
- Robbery of Sammy’s Fuel Mart on Woodman Dr. in Riverside.
Darrell Wacker can be reached at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.