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Second ATM suspect captured in Louisiana


CANTON — The second suspect in a Nov. 17 ATM heist at St. Lawrence University’s Brewer Bookstore has been captured in Louisiana, thanks to a tip from the public.

Joseph C. Lugo, 24, was taken into custody in Vermilion Parish on Monday afternoon after a citizen reported “a suspicious person loitering,” interim Canton Police Chief Victor N. Rycroft said. Investigators soon learned that Mr. Lugo was wanted in New York state.

Louisiana is divided into parishes rather than counties, with Vermilion in the southern part of the state. Maj. Darryl LeBlanc of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office told the Times that Mr. Lugo was taken into custody there without incident early Monday afternoon, although further details were not immediately available.

Mr. Lugo’s capture follows nearly three months during which local police were working to track down the suspect, who was believed to have fled to Florida with about $17,000 from the stolen North Country Savings Bank automated teller machine.

Police have not said whether any of that money was recovered with Mr. Lugo’s arrest.

“Further information is unavailable at this time regarding Lugo’s activities in Louisiana, but Canton Police had known for a few days now that Lugo was in that state,” Mr. Rycroft said in a news release.

“Canton Police are hopeful upon Lugo’s return to New York that they may learn more on how he had managed to elude police for such a period of time,” Mr. Rycroft said.

Mr. Lugo, of DeKalb, and a second suspect, Brandon D. Crandall, 21, allegedly entered the bookstore vestibule at 92 Park St., wrenching the 265-pound ATM from the floor and severing 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 were questioning Mr. Crandall, of 31 Main St., in an unrelated drug case when he revealed information about the bank machine heist. His arrest on Nov. 21 led police to the battered and empty ATM in a field off Sykes Road. Its front door was scorched in spots and warped from being pried open after the lock was removed.

Investigators recovered $17,600 in cash with the arrest of Mr. Crandall, as well as a pound of marijuana and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Police said they believed Mr. Lugo had the rest of the money. They also said he may have been armed, and may have fled the area on a motorcycle.

Extradition details were still being worked out Monday, Mr. Rycroft said, adding that it remained to be seen whether Mr. Lugo would “waive extradition proceedings or contest his arrest.”

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