Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Louisiana woman to testify in ATM theft


CANTON — The DeKalb man on trial for the theft of an automated teller machine from the floor of St. Lawrence University’s Brewer Bookstore vestibule may look like a modern-day Robin Hood after the testimony of a Louisiana woman today.

Joseph C. Lugo, 24, is accused of helping Brandon D. Crandall, 22, Canton, in the Nov. 17 theft of an ATM and the $35,380 it held.

Mr. Lugo allegedly left the north country after the heist and had to be extradited from Vermillion Parish, La., five months later by Canton police.

While he was there, St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Andrew T. Botts said, he allegedly confessed to the crime to Casey Adams Lopez.

Ms. Lopez, who is being flown in from Vermillion Parish to testify today, gave a statement in February to authorities in Louisiana where she said she offered Mr. Lugo a place to stay.

Mr. Botts told County Judge Jerome J. Richards that, according to her statement to police, Ms. Lopez was filled in on the details of Mr. Lugo’s involvement in the ATM theft and where the money went.

“He admitted breaking into the ATM and stealing money and distributed the money to poor people up and down the East Coast,” Mr. Botts said Ms. Lopez reported.

Mr. Botts said he received the statement from state police on Oct. 9 and first spoke to Ms. Lopez the following day.

According to the statement, Ms. Lopez first encountered Mr. Lugo on the street, with a loaf of bread, while he was talking on a cell phone.

As testimony continued Tuesday, Mr. Crandall’s friend and former roommate, James C. Edwards, reiterated that Mr. Lugo allegedly understood the inner workings of the North Country Savings Bank’s ATM due to his internship with the bank, during which he learned how to load and unload money.

Mr. Edwards, 27, now of Rochester, said Mr. Lugo told him that the crime was a victimless one during a Nov. 18 conversation in the Main Street, Canton, apartment he once shared with Mr. Crandall.

“It would be easy enough to do it again,” Mr. Edwards said Mr. Lugo told him.

Along with Ms. Lopez, St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force Investigator Christopher Flint is expected to be recalled to the stand today. Judge Richards told jurors Tuesday afternoon that he expects them to be able to begin deliberations by this afternoon.

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