Robber sentenced in Susquehanna bank heist

JOHN DOCKENS

BY STACI WILSON

The man who held up the Pennstar Bank branch in Susquehanna in August 2011 will spend the next four to 14 years behind bars for the crime.

John Dockens, 29, Union Dale, was sentenced Thursday in Susquehanna County Court. He was also ordered to pay the bank $1750 in restitution.

Prior to being sentenced Dockens said, “I apologize for what I did. I am trying to look at this in a positive way.”

Public Defender Linda LaBarbera told the court Dockens told her he never saw himself as a bank robber but was in court to face the consequences of his wrong-doing.

LaBarbera said that following his incarceration, Dockens has indicated he would like to speak with school students in an effort to warn them about the consequences of following the wrong path.

She said he was remorseful and recognized that, although he did not have a weapon on him at the time of the robbery, he put the bank employees in fear.

She also said the man told her he had been drinking alcohol since he was 12 years of age and began using controlled substances at age 13.

Dockens addressed the judge saying, “Hopefully this is the last time I am before you.”

President Judge Kenneth Seamans said, “If you don’t get a handle on your drug addiction, you are going to end up dead like so many others in this county in the past few years.”

Following the August 19, 2011 robbery, Dockens fled the scene and was apprehended two weeks later in a parking lot at a Lenox Twp. convenience store. He has been held on bail since his arrest.