Grandson, pal sentenced in violent robbery

Gregory Drobish may not win any “grand­son of the year” con­tests. But in the eyes of the law, Drobish’s role in the beat­ing and rob­bery of his 94-year-old grand­moth­er last March 3 paled in com­par­is­on to what his drug buddy, Chris­toph­er Brunkel, did to the poor wo­man.

On Fri­day, one Com­mon Pleas Court judge sen­tenced Drobish to serve 3 1/2 to sev­en years in state pris­on, while an­oth­er judge sen­tenced Brunkel to 13 to 26 years in the pen.

Both de­fend­ants apo­lo­gized in court for plan­ning and car­ry­ing out the bru­tal home-in­va­sion style at­tack on the 2800 block of Un­ruh Av­en­ue in May­fair, while their de­fense at­tor­neys chalked up their cli­ents’ drug ad­dic­tions as mit­ig­at­ing factors in the case.

The crime oc­curred at about 10 a.m. when Drobish, 28, drove Brunkel, 31, to the vic­tim’s home be­liev­ing that she had cash there. Ac­cord­ing to As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Melissa Fran­cis, the lead pro­sec­utor in the case, Drobish’s grand­moth­er had been gen­er­ous with him over the years, provid­ing him with food, shel­ter and $30,000 so he could pay owed child sup­port.

Drobish stayed in the car as Brunkel knocked on the eld­erly wo­man’s door. When she opened it a crack, Brunkel pushed his way in­side. He de­man­ded cash and jew­elry, pushed the wo­man onto a couch, slapped her face, punched her eye, bound her mouth and wrists with duct tape and threatened her with a syr­inge. Even­tu­ally, Brunkel grabbed the wo­man’s purse and some cos­tume jew­elry and fled to the wait­ing get­away car.

Dur­ing the beat­ing, the wo­man man­aged to trig­ger a med­ic­al alert device, which ac­tiv­ated tele­phone con­nec­tions with emer­gency re­spon­ders and a grand­daugh­ter in Ohio. She suffered cuts, bruises and swell­ing and was treated at an area hos­pit­al.

The vic­tim told po­lice that she sus­pec­ted her grand­son may have been in­volved in the beat­ing. When of­ficers went to Drobish’s home on the 3200 block of Tyson Ave., they spot­ted him and Brunkel out­side and, with help of an eye­wit­ness, linked them to the rob­bery. Po­lice searched the house and found items be­long­ing to the grand­moth­er.

Brunkel ul­ti­mately pleaded guilty to ag­grav­ated as­sault, rob­bery, burg­lary and re­lated of­fenses, while Drobish pleaded to rob­bery, burg­lary and re­lated of­fenses. Judge Denis P. Co­hen sen­tenced Brunkel, while Judge Donna Woelp­per sen­tenced Drobish.

Brunkel faces a vi­ol­a­tion of pro­ba­tion hear­ing, also be­fore Co­hen, in con­nec­tion with an un­re­lated as­sault con­vic­tion last year. Drobish had no pri­or crim­in­al re­cord in Phil­adelphia. •• 

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