A Mayfair man who allegedly assisted in the home-invasion robbery and assault of his 94-year-old grandmother pleaded guilty to felony charges last week, as did his accomplice.
Christopher Brunkel, 31, conned his way inside the victim’s home on the 2800 block of Unruh Ave. at about 10 a.m. on March 3, then demanded cash and jewelry. He 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. Meanwhile, the victim’s grandson, 27-year-old Gregory Drobish, waited outside behind the wheel of a getaway car. Eventually, Brunkel grabbed the woman’s purse and some costume jewelry and fled.
The victim, whose name the Northeast Times is withholding, suffered cuts, bruises and swelling, but was able to summon help by using a medical alert device. She was hospitalized, treated and released.
Suspecting that her grandson was involved in the crime, the victim identified him to police. Officers arrived at Drobish’s residence on the 3200 block of Tyson Ave. later that day and found items taken from the victim’s home. Neighbors also helped police with descriptions of the crooks.
The victim also told police that she previously had lent thousands of dollars to Drobish, who did not repay the money.
Brunkel pleaded guilty last Wednesday to aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, conspiracy and possessing an instrument of crime. Prosecutor Melissa Francis represented the District Attorney’s Office, which withdrew several other charges.
Common Pleas Court Judge Denis P. Cohen revoked Brunkel’s bail, which had been set at $1 million, and ordered him to appear at a July 19 sentencing hearing. In the meantime, Cohen also will preside at violation-of- probation proceedings against Brunkel, who was convicted last year in an unrelated assault case and ordered to serve five years probation.
Drobish, meanwhile, had no prior adult convictions in Philadelphia. He pleaded guilty on Friday to burglary, conspiracy, robbery and unlawful restraint. Common Pleas Court Judge Donna Woelpper ordered him to appear for a separate sentencing hearing on July 19. She revoked his bail, which also had been set at $1 million. ••