Police, Fire, Courts

May 4, 2012

Saranac Lake man charged with robbery attempt

SARANAC LAKE — A Saranac Lake man is charged with trying to rob someone at gunpoint.

Joseph A. Puccini, 43, was arrested at 7:09 p.m. Wednesday by Saranac Lake Police following an investigation into a menacing complaint.

A 34-year-old man told police that Puccini pointed at him what he described as a shotgun or rifle and demanded $60, something that was confirmed by a witness.

The man who was allegedly threatened heard what sounded like the weapon chambering ammunition as Puccini raised the gun and pointed it, police said.

Puccini was eight feet from the man in the parking lot of an apartment complex, where numerous children were present within his view.

Police later executed a search warrant on Puccini's apartment, where they seized numerous handguns, rifles, shotguns and ammunition. Eight of the 15 handguns appeared fully functional, and one was loaded.

A preliminary investigation revealed the Saranac Lake man lacked a valid license to possess handguns.

Police also seized 15 long guns.

"Because a long gun was used in the crime, we seized them all so we can try to identify which one was used," Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason said Thursday afternoon.

Puccini was charged with second-degree attempted robbery, a felony; second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony; second-degree menacing, a misdemeanor; and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

He was arraigned in Saranac Lake Village Court Thursday and sent to Franklin County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bail bond.

He is due back in court on Monday for a preliminary felony hearing.

The investigation is continuing, the chief said.

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