Grandson accused of robbing grandma

Posted: March 05, 2013

This story has been updated.

A 27-year-old man and his friend were each held on $1 million bail Monday in the brutal Sunday morning home-invasion robbery of the man's 94-year-old grandmother in Mayfair.

Gregory Drobish and his alleged accomplice in the home-invasion, 31-year-old Christopher Brunkel, are both facing a slew of charges including aggravated assault, robbery, conspiracy, burglary, reckless endangerment and related offenses.

A 27-year-old man and his friend were each held on $1 million bail Monday in the brutal Sunday morning home-invasion robbery of the man’s 94-year-old grandmother in Mayfair. Gregory Drobish and his alleged accomplice in the home-invasion, 31-year-old Christopher Brunkel, are both facing a slew of charges including aggravated assault, robbery, conspiracy, burglary, reckless endangerment and related offenses for the attack, in which authorities say the pair forced their way into Drobish’s grandmother’s home on Unruh Avenue near Roosevelt Boulevard point of syringe, bound the elderly woman, punched her numerous times and stole jewelrA 27-year-old man and his friend were each held on $1 million bail Monday in the brutal Sunday morning home-invasion robbery of the man’s 94-year-old grandmother in Mayfair.Gregory Drobish and his alleged accomplice in the home-invasion, 31-year-old Christopher Brunkel, are both facing a slew of charges including aggravated assault, robbery, conspiracy, burglary, reckless endangerment and related offenses for the attack, in which authorities say the pair forced their way into Drobish’s grandmother’s home on Unruh Avenue near Roosevelt Boulevard point of syringe, bound the elderly woman, punched her numerous times and stole jewelry.

The robbery happened about 10 a.m. Sunday on Unruh Avenue just east of Roosevelt Boulevard. Police said the woman opened the door for a man who she thought - apparently mistakenly - looked like her grandson, at which point the man forced his way inside and threatened her with a syringe.

Police said the attacker punched the woman several times, bound her hands and mouth with duct tape, and fled with several pieces of jewelry. Neighbors discovered the woman, whom they identified as Sophie Drobish, and called 9-1-1.

Police arrested her grandson Gregory Drobish and Brunkel later in the day and said they recovered the stolen jewelry and her purse. Investigators said they were led to the pair after Drobish told them she initially thought the attacker was her grandson and they went to the grandson's home on Tyson Avenue, less than a mile away.

There, police said, they found the grandson and Brunkel standing in front of the garage. A witness identified the 31-year-old man as the person he saw fleeing from the house, police said. Investigators said they believe it was actually the second man who carried out the robbery while the grandson was waiting nearby in a getaway vehicle.

"Apparently, there's been some friction before as far as loaning money that the grandson never gave back, so I guess they figured it would be an easy score, so to speak," said Lt. Michael Gross.

Police said the grandson has a number of previous arrests, including multiple drug-related offenses.

Next-door neighbors Chris Lewis and Jennifer Abele, who moved in a week ago, were the ones who discovered Drobish. Abele said they heard loud thumping coming from the woman's home and screams for help. When they went to knock on the door, it was partially open, but no one answered, they said. About 10 minutes later, Abele said, she saw a man with a hood covering his face walk out of the home, and she yelled, "Robber!" The man allegedly ran, and Lewis gave chase.

"I chased him. He dropped a few things and kept going," Lewis said. "If we didn't help her out, nobody probably would've found her."

Drobish was taken to Aria Health's Torresdale hospital with minor bumps and bruises, police said.

Longtime neighbor Harry Mirijanian said Drobish, a Russian immigrant, moved to the block around the same time he did in 1950, making her one of the original residents. He said Drobish has lived alone since her husband died and her adult son moved out.

"She's a nice woman," he said. "That's scary."

Mirijanian said he was surprised that Drobish opened the door, describing her as very cautious and alert.

"I'm surprised that it happened to her, but I guess it could happen to anyone," he said.

Staff writer Morgan Zalot contributed to this report.


On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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