Press-Republican

January 10, 2013

Arrest made in Stewart's robbery

By SUZANNE MOORE News Editor and FELICIA KRIEG, Staff Writer
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — A Keeseville man was arrested Wednesday and charged in connection with an early morning Stewart’s robbery.

David A. Brown, 49, was charged with first-degree robbery, a felony, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to a press release issued by New York State Police Wednesday night.

He was arraigned in the Town of Plattsburgh Court before Town Justice Kevin Patnode and was remanded to the Clinton County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bail bond.

The sole clerk working at the Stewart’s Shop when it was robbed at about 5 a.m. was able to get the plate number from the dark gray 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt used during the crime, according to the release.

The abandoned vehicle was found by police on Pine Street in Keeseville and a State Police K9 unit tracked from the car to Brown’s residence in Keeseville, the release said. Police obtained search warrants for both the vehicle and Brown’s residence.

The robbery came on the heels of another at the Stewart’s Shop in Peru that took place at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Police have no reason to believe the man who perpetrated that crime was the same person who robbed the store at 7137 Route 9 in the Town of Plattsburgh, other than a similar description of the men and the vehicles, Davison said.

But they had not ruled out the possibility of a connection, he said.

Plattsburgh-based State Police continue to investigate and are receiving assistance from the Troop B Violent Crimes Investigation Team and the Forensic Investigation Unit, according to the release.

HEADED TOWARD CITY

A white male holding what appeared to be a black handgun entered the Stewart’s shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, the store clerk told police.

The man wore a blue or dark-colored bandanna over his face. The suspect in the Peru Stewart’s holdup on the night of Jan. 2 had obscured his face with some kind of black fabric, police said last week.

Police wouldn’t release information about staffing or whether there were customers in the Plattsburgh location when the robbery took place.

In both cases, the suspects escaped with an undisclosed amount of money and fled in dark-colored vehicles. A witness in the Peru Stewart’s parking lot said that car might have been black and had an after-market spoiler on the back.

The man who robbed the Plattsburgh store, located at Cumberland Head Corners near an interchange to Interstate 87, was seen driving south on Route 9 toward the City of Plattsburgh, police said Wednesday.

INFORMATION SOUGHT

The Stewart’s Shop was open Wednesday afternoon; an employee who answered the phone couldn’t comment on the robbery.

Police were hoping motorists who were in the area of the Cumberland Head Stewart’s between 5 and 5:30 a.m. might have seen suspicious activity that could be related to the robbery.

Davison said store clerks who are victims to a robbery should always cooperate with the culprit.

But, if possible, “take complete notice of the description of the person” and the vehicle and plate number.

STILL FEEL SAFE

Customers going in and out of the Cumberland Head Stewart’s interviewed by the Press-Republican Wednesday afternoon hadn’t yet heard about the robbery, but they weren’t that concerned about safety once they knew.

A couple of them thought the two Stewart’s robberies could be attributed to the lack of jobs in the area and the sluggish economy.

“It’s a shame,” Priscilla Reed of Plattsburgh said. “I’m sure it’s due to the economy. People are lacking money.”

“They haven’t got any work,” Etta LaValley of West Chazy said. 

She was surprised to hear there had been two convenience-store robberies in the North Country in just over a week. 

“I feel safe where I am, (though),” she said.

DRUG CONNECTION?

Adam Valk of Plattsburgh spoke to what he believes is a large number of low-income or unemployed people locally, some of whom might be driven to a life of crime to get money.

The cash might be used to buy drugs, he speculated.

“I think there’s definitely more of an increase in drug use and (drug) travel through the area.”

Valk said he met a lot of what he described as “characters” of a kind of unsavory nature when he worked as a taxi driver a few years ago.

“It really opened my eyes to what kind of people live in the community,” he said.

And although he doesn’t feel threatened, he said, “I lock my doors at night.”

Anyone with information about either robbery is asked to call the Plattsburgh State Police barracks at 563-3761.

Email Felicia Krieg: fkrieg@pressrepublican.com