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Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Canton ATM theft suspect arraigned


CANTON — ATM theft suspect Joseph C. Lugo is back in St. Lawrence County, where he was arraigned Friday morning before St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome R. Richards and jailed to await further proceedings.

“I think he was worn out,” said interim village Police Chief Victor N. Rycroft, who flew to Louisiana on Wednesday with Sgt. Basil W. Cheney to bring Mr. Lugo home following completion of extradition proceedings.

Mr. Lugo, 24, DeKalb, and Brandon D. Crandall, 21, Canton, were indicted last month in connection with a Nov. 17 automated teller machine heist at St. Lawrence University’s Brewer Bookstore. Both face charges of third-degree grand larceny and tampering with physical evidence.

The two allegedly wrenched the 265-pound ATM from the floor of the bookstore vestibule and severed its cables before hauling the machine out the front door and driving off in a pickup truck.

The electronic cash dispenser had been loaded with $35,000 in $20 bills not long before the theft.

Investigators recovered $17,600 in cash with Mr. Crandall’s arrest shortly afterward. Mr. Lugo is believed to have fled with half of the money.

Mr. Lugo was found in Louisiana with only “the clothes on his back and a Bible,” police there said.

Initial leads pointed police toward Florida. He later was arrested more than 350 miles away from that state following a tip to Vermilion Parish, La., deputies about a suspicious person seen loitering near a local business.

“Upon interviewing Lugo, he stated that he was in fact from upstate New York and was on a journey, first traveling to Florida on his motorcycle and then walking along the Interstate” with no particular destination, Vermilion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon said in a press release.

Mr. Rycroft said he and Sgt. Cheney returned to Canton on Thursday afternoon with Mr. Lugo in tow. Mr. Lugo was cooperative and didn’t say much, the chief said.

“But I kind of think he was happy to be in a stable situation, not looking over his shoulder anymore,” Mr. Rycroft said.

Mr. Lugo appeared briefly in St. Lawrence County Court on Friday morning before Judge Richards. His case was adjourned until May 6, and he was sent to the county jail without bail.

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