A retired state trooper killed a security guard and a Pennsylvania toll booth collector during a robbery at a toll booth plaza. Clarence Briggs, who spent his life enforcing the laws of the land as a state trooper somehow drastically changed when four years into his retirement he is shot dead while committing an armed robbery.
According to MSN News on March 21, Briggs confronted two Pennsylvania toll booth collectors with a handgun drawn on Sunday morning. He took both collectors into the backroom and while he was attempting to tie them up, a struggle ensued, causing Briggs to flee.
The two toll collectors followed Briggs when he fled the building. Just then a security guard arrived to pick up the money from the tolls and emerged from an armored vehicle. Briggs shot and killed the security guard and one of the toll collectors who had followed him out of the building.
Briggs killed retired New York Police officer, Ronald Heist, who was spending his retirement years working for turnpike security and a detective agency. The toll collector who was shot and killed by Briggs was on the job just three months, Danny Crouse.
Briggs fired at the security vehicle that was there collecting the money from the toll booths. This caused the driver to jump out and the retired trooper then jumped into the vehicle and drove it to his car, which was parked a few hundred yards away on a service ramp.
This is when he started unloading money from the security vehicle into his own car. Police arrived and shots were exchanged, wounding Briggs. He later died of those wounds.
This robbery leaves more answers than questions. It is possible that Briggs was waiting for the security vehicle when he busted in with the gun and attempted to tie up the employees, but that went bad for Briggs when they fought back.
Briggs knew exactly how the transporting of this money was done because he worked as a state trooper based out of a station that was part of the turnpike system. He worked out of the Newville Station of Troop T in Cumberland County. People Magazine reports Clarence D. Briggs was 55-years old and he hailed from Newville, which is what the Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement.
People are baffled as to why Briggs, who had no known mental health issues, would attempt to pull off such a robbery. What did he so badly need this money for as to go against his life-time of law enforcement and kill people while in the midst of an armed robbery? This seemed like a desperate attempt on Briggs’ part.
Capt. David Cain, who is the commander of Troop F wouldn’t comment to the media about the investigation focusing on Briggs’ familiarity of the turnpike collection operations. Sean Logan, who is Turnpike chairman, has vowed to find out how this happened and then take every precaution under the sun to make sure it never happens again. This has happened before, said Logan, but only a “handful of times” during the 75 years that the turnpike tolls have been in operation.