Bank Robbery, Police Chase Suspect Pleads Guilty

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A man who robbed a bank and led police on a chase through Pittsburgh pleaded guilty in court Thursday morning.

Officers from Pittsburgh, Dormont, Reserve, Shaler and Millvale were initially involved in this police chase.

On Thursday, the man police said was responsible for the robbery, that led to the chase, stood up in court and said, “Your honor, I am pleading guilty because I am guilty.”

Based on pictures from the scene, concern for safety, police or anyone else appeared to be the last thing on 39-year-old John J. McAleavey’s mind on Sept. 5, 2008.

After he robbed a National City Bank on Banksville Road, he led police on a wild chase through the city until he crashed his Saturn SUV into a guard rail on the 31st Street Bridge.

However, concern for others is one of the factors his attorney said led him to reach a plea agreement in court this morning.

“He didn’t want to put the officers, the bank tellers, to have to go and relive the experiences,” Defense Attorney Scott Westcott said.

After lengthy negotiations, McAleavey pleaded guilty to robbery, theft and reckless endangerment charges. But, he wouldn’t plead on a conspiracy charge involving Meghan Jaeger, who faces her own non-jury trial for her role in the case.

McAleavey’s attorney said his client is remorseful for everything that happened that fateful day. He cited his client’s past brushes with mental health issues, as well as drugs and alcohol.

“He put the lives of many fine officers at risk. He put the community at risk and he’s not happy with himself,” Westcott said.

McAleavey may be called to testify in the case against Jaeger. It was not clear whether he was going to take the stand in that case Thursday afternoon or not.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in April on the other charges.

Now, in a related case, McAleavey had filed a federal lawsuit against the officers that arrested him.

He claimed they used excessive force at the time of his arrest. There’s no word on how a guilty plea may impact that suit.

  • BOb


  • critter

    Where is the National City?

  • BOb

    If the new cameras werent on him those cops would have beat him to death. Or claimed he “jumped” off the bridge. It would have been justified. He’s a loser

  • will g

    of course he’s guilty, just ask the 20 cops that were chaising him. when you threaten people’s lives and rob them you don;t deserve a break. i hope the judge doesn’t give him one.

    • dee

      this guy is a real creep . jail is to good for him . the cops should have shot him during the chase . now the tax payers have to pay for this low life .

  • chelsss!

    Wow talk about judging people you dont even know?? like it says he has mental health issues and suffers from drug addiction. Obviously he was not in his right state of mind. he should get sent to rehab after jail and maybe with the right help turn his life around…but dont judge people unless you been in their shoes.

  • Stacy Lynn Seman

    This event occurred near my house in the shopping center where Khun’s is located. I’m proud to say I know the woman who aided in his capture. She saw him coming out of the bank, get in the get away care and leave (while where a mask – kind of obvious she says). She followed the vehicle at a safe distance with the police on the phone. She followed the two suspects as they wound around the neighborhood – the police would have had quite a time finding him. She gave them turn by turn updates until they could find him. Unfortunately he sped off as soon as the police showed up. My friend rocks! She understand what having common sense is! Thank you Eileen for not letting him get away with it – I think that made our neighborhood less attractive to would-be-thieves.

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