POTSDAM - A Potsdam woman charged with assisting another man rob a customer at a Potsdam convenience store in the early morning hours of Dec. 13 continued her not guilty plea during an appearance last week before Potsdam Village Justice Nicholas J. Pignone.
Defense attorney Alexander Lesyk, Norwood, also reserved his right for a preliminary hearing on the second-degree robbery charge for his client, Nicole Meunier, 26, of Massena. Her release under the supervision of the probation department was continued.
Village police had previously charged Ronald L. Freeman, 24, of Massena with second-degree robbery and fourth-degree conspiracy and Kyle J. Neuroth, 21, of Potsdam with fourth-degree conspiracy in connection with the case. Both of their cases have previously been sent up to superior court for possible grand jury action.
Neuroth was an employee at the A Plus Sunoco station in Potsdam and on duty when Eric J. Lazore of Raymondville was allegedly robbed by Freeman and Meunier.
They reportedly forced Lazore to the ground during the incident at 3:50 a.m. Nov. 13 and stole his wallet, which contained $90 in cash, miscellaneous change and Subway, Price Chopper and Kinney Drugs cards.
Lazore, in a statement he provided police, said he went into the Sunoco store and purchased a pack of cigarettes with a $100 bill in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. He said he then waited at the store for a taxi to pick him up to take him to his home in Raymondville.
He told police he had noticed two people inside the store when he entered the building - the store clerk and a skinny guy wearing his hat backwards. "The worker was behind the counter and the skinny guy was sitting on the counter between the two sections of the counter," he recalled.
Mr. Lazore said while he was waiting for his taxi he went outside to smoke a cigarette. He said after he smoked his cigarette . He said he then went over by the garbage can in case he got sick.
He told police a blonde woman he knew was named Nikki exited a vehicle, approached him and gave him a hug before entering the store.
"A few moments later she came back out and ran out and jumped on me and took me down to the ground. It was at that time someone took my wallet," Mr. Lazore told police.
He said he became aware his wallet was missing immediately after getting back to his feet. He said he asked Jim "Junior" Root, who was standing near him, who had taken his wallet, and Mr. Root said he didn't know. Mr. Lazore said he then told Mr. Root he was going to report the incident to village police.
"At that time another female whom I know as my neighbor's daughter said something to the blonde and the skinny male about how I was calling the cops, and they needed to get out of there. The three people I have described and another female all entered the blonde's car and the blonde girl drove away," he said in his statement to police.
Police later identified one of the women in the vehicle as Carrie L. Poiski, 39, of Norwood. She told police she had been at her residence with Crystal Arquiwertt and was talking on the phone with Ms. Meunier in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. Ms. Meunier was reportedly in Massena with her boyfriend, Shawn McCargar, at that time, and the couple were reportedly fighting.
She said Ms. Arquitt's boyfriend, Mr. Root, had been "maced" by members of the Norwood Village Police Department and taken into custody.
"While I was on the phone with Nikki, Norwood PD had called saying they were not going to release Junior unless someone came to pick him up and that they wanted to contact Junior's father. We obviously did not want to wake Junior's father up in the middle of the night so Nikki said she would come to Norwood to pick up Junior," Ms. Poliski noted in the statement she signed for police.
She said she and Ms. Arquitt were picked up by Ms. Meunier and then they went and picked up Mr. Root. "Nikki said she was going to take Junior and everyone back to her residence in Potsdam for the rtest og the night so that there would be no more problems. We all left in her car to head to Potsdam," she said.
Ms. Poliski said even though it was slightly after 2 a.m. they stopped at the Sunoco station to purchase beer even though they realized the store couldn't legally sell them beer due to the time.
"Nikki said she knew the workers there and said that they would sell her the beer at the store at that time. I had the money for the beer, and the money was placed in an envelope, and I don't know where they put it. Kyle said something about it being too late to buy the beer, and it couldn't be rang out at the register due to the time so they had to wait until later," according to Ms. Poliski's statement.
She said they then hung out out at Ms. Meunier's place until approximately 3:30 a.m. when they headed back on the road, and she said Ms. Meunier again stopped at the Sunoco station.
"I'm assuming it was to see Kyle, We all got out of the car. We were out of the car for a few minutes when I realized I had not seen Junior or Crystal in a little while," Ms. Poliski said she entered the store and located Mr. Root and Ms. Arquiett in the bathroom area. "We stayed there for like another 3 minutes or so before we came back out in the store area. At that time Kyle told us that Nikki had left," she noted in her statement.
She told the trio left at the store were angry that they had had been stranded, and Ms. Poliski said she was also upset because the beer she had purchased and her money were still inside Ms Meunier's vehicle.
"While all this was going on, a guy, known to me as 'Iggy' that lives in Raymondville, walked in saying that 'the girl' had stolen his wallet," she said, noting he told her he already knew the woman's name.
She said Ms. Meunier pulled back into the Sunoco parking lot a short time later. "We began to talk a little bit, and 'Iggy' said he was calling the cops. I said to Nikki if the cops are coming I want to get out of here," according to Ms. Poliski's statement to police.
She said the trio got back into Ms. Meunier;s vehicle and went back to Mr. Root's residence in Norwood. "While we were heading to Junior's, I said something to Nikki about stealing the wallet, and she said she didn't and blamed it all on 'Rave,' whose real name is Ronnie I believe. I remember hearing something about 90 bucks being taken from the wallet. I don't remember for sure from whom but I think it was 'Iggy,'" she told police.
Ms. Poliski told police the group stayed at Mr. Root's residence until approximately 5 a.m. She said Ms. Meunier wanted to go to her boyfriend;s house on the Grantville Road but she couldn't find her keys so she called a male friend for a ride. He was reportedly charged with driving while intoxicated when he was giving Ms. Meunier a ride from Mr. Root's residence to Mr. McCargar's home. Ms. Poliski said she walked home about that same time.