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Barnes Returns to Dormont Dogs

Dormont Dogs co-owner Captain Barnes was arrested in February. After time in Allegheny County Jail, he is back at the Dormont store.

If you stopped by Dormont Dogs this week, you might have seen a familiar face behind the counter.

Captain Barnes, who co-owns the hot dog shop with his wife, Rachel Dudley, returned to the store after serving jail time for two bank robberies he committed in February.

On Monday, Barnes and Dudley sat down with Dormont-Brookline Patch to publicly thank the community for supporting both the family and the shop during a difficult time.

Ultimately, Barnes said, he made a terrible decision while dealing with a difficult personal situation.

“I lost my focus. I lost sight of the goals for what I want to do as a business man,” Barnes said. “I feel the worst for my family for having to deal with a major mistake that I made, but I let down the community, too.”

Barnes was arrested on Feb. 15 for robbing two local banks, a PNC branch on Brookline Boulevard and a Citizens Bank in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood. After serving about seven months in Allegheny County Jail, he was sentenced to four years of probation and was released last week.

Dudley said that if there was any silver lining to the horrible situation, it was that the community was extremely supportive of her and the business.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I came back that first day,” she said. “We received so much support, from friends and even from strangers. That’s what I was most taken back by. We’ve made some new customers and definitely some new friends here.”

Dudley received cards and words of encouragement from customers. Complete strangers would hug her and tell her she was in their prayers. Some customers even offered to help at the store for free, although she said she never had to take them up on the offer.

Barnes said he is grateful that the community supported his family when he could not.

“A lot of people had a really positive reaction to Rachel,” he said. “I’m just so thankful to all the people who helped her, and to Rachel for holding it together. I came really close to ruining my life. I almost lost everything, and I let the community down.”

Barnes said he plans to give back to the community as much as possible. He said he wants to start by sponsoring local sports teams and participating in fundraisers and other community events.

He said it's hard to be back because he knows people have questions, but he said it was worse for his wife and children, who had to deal with the situation without him.

It will take time, he said, but he’s working toward getting back to normal.

“I’ve had a second chance given to me from what could have been much worse of an outcome,” he said. “I have a chance to turn this into something positive.”

Dormont Dogs is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. More information can be found on our listings page.

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Born & Raised in Dormont September 19, 2012 at 08:05 PM
His crime had no affect on my life I just find it to be a little strange that this man committed a federal crime and people seem to be ok with this? How would you of felt had it been someone that you know that he threatened? Would you still feel the same way? How funny that you will say something about my words and spelling in order to take what I say seriously. What Captain did is worse than my spelling and using words correctly and you don't have a problem with that. Are you for real?
Born & Raised in Dormont September 19, 2012 at 08:16 PM
What did they expect people to say when this article was published in the patch? What did they want people to welcome him back to the community with open arms? he did not make a mistake he committed a federal CRIME!!!!!!
Pat Burns September 19, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I'm not sure why you are having a hard time grasping the concept that committing a CRIME can also be a MISTAKE. The two are not mutually exclusive. I wasn't going to comment on any of your righteous pontifications but you used the phrase "big boy pants." AND THAT IS UNFORGIVABLE.
Pat Burns September 19, 2012 at 09:09 PM
who's being morally relative now James? " I can't think of any action I've done, and I've done some crappy things, that are as bad as robbery." Robbing a bank may be "bad" to you but don't make that assumption for the rest of us. I'm sure the bank will lie and say more money was taken than actually was... and since it's backed by the federal government it will be reimbursed. Then use that money to invest in bad mortgages and gambling in the stock market only to lose more money and get bailed out again by the Government. The bankers will pay themselves handsomely to boot. So spare me your moral relativism....
AiXeLsyD13 September 19, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Wow, I don't even know where to start with all these comments... First off, Erin... great write up. I'm glad the Captain is out & back to work! So, if someone commits a crime and serves the prescribed sentence for it... we're supposed to treat them like $#!+ forever afterward? Ridiculous. He's remorseful and trying to make amends. None of you are willing to give the man a chance? Well, I sure as hell am. I know a few people who have served time, been released, and are model citizens. He has served his time in the eyes of the law, who are you to mete out any further punishment? As far as comments on Rachel & Captain's marriage, that's frankly none of your, my, or anyone's business. Truth be told, I for one am in awe that two people who made the commitment of marriage to each other honored their vows through an incredibly difficult time. If you don't want to support the business, don't. I will, plenty of others will, and over time there will be even more supporters. I stand behind the Captain, Rachel, and their family and believe in his pledge to give back & become even more involved in the community.
James Jenkins September 19, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Seems like more than a few here know this guy, and the rest have never met him and don't want to. I think he was desperate for money and did some crimes. But Our Justice system, set up to punish, to reform, and allow convicts back into society, has seen fit to sentence, and release him on probation. If you think it is light, call a judge. Call the parole board. The stigma will follow him until his death. My wife and I went back again and again to get "Customer" pics on the wall. He served his time. People picking on him are cut from the same cloth as people that spit on veterans because of raw prejudice. No one here is a perfect soul. I did not serve in Viet Nam, I served in the Persian Gulf. Yet I have met prejudice from supposedly "Educated" college & Masters students, who thought that service in the military was "for losers who can't make it in the real world". There are those who refuse to give a VETERAN a chance. They are afraid he or she will flip out from PTSD, go random, shoot up a mall, beat up the spouse. Many are homeless. Most want a chance to come back after they did their time. Some of them realize they simply can't, becase they are not given the chance by those who will never understand. Prejudice. Erin, thanks for writing this report, and politely policing the crowd. I'm going over to get a hot dog. There it is.
Jacqueline September 19, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Wow! Must be nice to rob not one, but two banks and only get four years of probation!
Bob Dobbs September 19, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Outside of a temporary lapse in judgement, Captain is a good guy and an excellent/talented chef/food creator . Stop the hating . If he robs more banks, then you angry finger pointers will have a case. If he messes up in the next 4 years, he'll get thrown back in the slammer . End of story . You're no better than he .
Bob Dobbs September 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM
jail isnt a cure-all for people who do wrong . it in fact usually makes them worse/ more criminally-minded. jails are full of too many non-violent offenders. in many cases they don't need to be there .
Carrie Dudley September 20, 2012 at 01:25 AM
So much hate from people who don't even know Captain. It really bothers me that people see fit to make assumptions about a human being they have never even set eyes upon. Not one of you who are judging have any right to do so. Have your lives been so perfect and by the law? Most of you who are talking in uninformed circles, have no idea if what truly happened. You know absolutely NOTHING concerning the true facts of the backstory. So... Before opening your mouths, or putting fingers to keyboard, think... Simply think. Have hearts, have compassion, and try to understand the other persons side. You might be surprised to find out you my have done the same as the guy you are judging. Captain may not be a saint, as none of us are, but I have NEVER seen him judge anyone with the hatred some of you are spewing. Just think about that.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:43 AM
So, how long have you been a lawyer?
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:44 AM
I'm guessing that if you had to spend any amount of time in prison, you wouldn't refer to it as "nothing". I've never been in, but it doesn't sound like a picnic.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:47 AM
An enlightened sentiment, eloquently stated.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Perhaps ask the judge, jury, or people responsible for the probation hearings.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Probation is no walk in the park.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:51 AM
How is serving jail time at all getting away with it?
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Right on, Bob.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:56 AM
He put on his big boy pants and apologized while asking for a second chance. It takes a real man to humble himself like that after an egregious act.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Not everyone is so quick to judge. Plenty of people will willingly give someone a second chance. My uncle used to do construction work & would hire guys out of jail living in a halfway house. He said most of the guys were grateful to be given a chance to go straight & earn an honest buck.
AiXeLsyD13 September 20, 2012 at 02:00 AM
It's hard to prove yourself when people won't give you the opportunity to do so.
Hammerin' Hanke September 20, 2012 at 06:36 AM
Comparing PNC, to a private sector local small business is absurd- to whoever jumped all over the florist... As a small business owner, I understand how desperation can arise when you have thrown all your eggs in one basket and the pressure is on in a sink or swim situation, too. I've entertained some extreme ideas myself when the bills are due, the jobs aren't coming in, and everyone wants their payola. Bottom line is, Captain's a good, honest, working class, American individual, and he screwed up big under the pressures of it all. Give the cat a second chance; the courts did, and youre not qualified to make those judgements. "personal issues" isn't a cop out excuse, it's a way to state in a public forum his apology, without airing whatever details are involved that may or may not maybe be embarrassing to his family, and frankly isn't anyones' business but his, his family's, and the courts. Captain and Rachel are amazing, and good people, and I've never had a better veggie dog! Dormont Dogs is a small business, in a small community, in a smallish city, try not to have a small mind and a narrow view, & accept his sincere attempts to make things right. They deserve it. I swear by that statement, and support their family business and efforts with absolutely no reservations whatsoever. Glad you're back, Captain! And Rachel rocks. nuff said.
Hammerin' Hanke September 20, 2012 at 06:43 AM
And I have been robbed before too, before anyone gets all sanctimonious and ridin in on their m moral high horse... While working CoGos in upper Mount Wash (go figure! Hahaha). Anyway, don't be so quick to judge until youve walked in a mans shoes. People all jumpin in the Koolade before they even know what flavour it is, n at.
Hammerin' Hanke September 20, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Also, I'd be proud to see my son in a Bad News Bears uniform w Dormont Dogs on the back... Beats Chico's Bail Bonds any day! Haha... Peace!
Hammerin' Hanke September 20, 2012 at 06:56 AM
P ps- drug addiction is not a crime according to ANY law I've ever heard, btw. Possession is, p possession w intent to distribute, etc.. These are crimes in the eyes of the law... Addiction is not a crime. Just sayin.
foun September 20, 2012 at 07:39 AM
Captain is a good guy and was very shocked when I read about the robberies. But the man has done his time and will have label of bank robber attached to his name by a unforgiving public forever. How many of you are walking around or taking T because of a revoked license for DUI or worse? Do you want that label for life? Or be allowed a second chance? Best chili in Pgh btw.
T&B T September 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM
This is ridiculous! We most certainly are living in a society that has lost its' mind. This person regardless of where they live should be in prison. How stupid we've become!
Ed M September 20, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Vas, I've never committed a felony but I have done wrong and made mistakes as I'm sure you have. This is the glass house I am referring to.
Ed M September 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Actually, Vas, drug addiction isn't a crime, it's a medical problem. Using illegal drugs is a crime but not all drug addicts use illegal drugs. People become addicted to prescription meds as well.
Born & Raised in Dormont September 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM
@ Bob Dobbs I would be willing to bet that most of the people posting here are better than him? We have not robbed two banks!! @ Jacqueline I agree with you something is very wrong with the justice system.
Ed M September 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM
"@ Bob Dobbs I would be willing to bet that most of the people posting here are better than him? We have not robbed two banks!!" WOW! Making a statement like this proves how false this statement is.

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