PITTSBURGH - Penny Ross, the 76-year old woman accused of robbing the National City Bank in West Mifflin last year, before leading police on a low-speed chase in the left lane of Agnew Road with her right-turn signal blinking all the while, pleaded guilty Thursday morning in the hopes of avoiding jail time when she is sentenced on June 27.
Ross, long-time pitchwoman for her nephew Kenny Ross' car dealership, was apprehended in March 2006 when she abandoned her vehicle in front of the Old Country Buffet. Authorities theorize she was trying to get in line before the expiration of the lunch-time senior citizen discount.
The elder Ross was released to the custody of her nephew in exchange for a new Chevy Malibu. “My Aunt Penny has been slipping lately,” said Mr. Ross at the time. "But never in my wildest dreams did I think she would do something like this.” Mr. Ross said that his aunt formerly regaled the Ross family with tales about her exploits as a member of the Barrow gang “back in the good old depression days,” but, he said, "we always thought it was just typical, crazy old-people talk. I guess the joke was on us.”
Kenny Ross denied reports that he is looking for a new spokesperson, but he was recently seen dining with former Mayor Sophie Masloff at the Tower Diner in the Gulf Tower.
Attorney Jim Ecker, who is representing Aunt Penny, said his client pleaded guilty even though the charges against her were “preposterous.” Despite being confronted with eyewitness accounts corroborated by no fewer than ten people, a video tape showing Aunt Penny pointing a gun at the bank teller, a large bag of money found in the front seat of the getaway car containing the exact amount of money missing from the National City Bank, and a signed confession from his client, Mr. Ecker remained unflappable. “Even though we entered into a guilty plea, my client is innocent of all charges,” he said, adding that “we look forward to getting a good deal in Court at the sentencing, not unlike the good deal you’ll get from my client’s nephew at Kenny Ross and Sons Chevrolet.” Mr. Ecker predicted his client soon will be “back on the street making her legendary elderberry preserves in no time.”