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Second man still at large in ATM heist

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CANTON — A second suspect sought in connection with a Nov. 17 ATM theft at St. Lawrence University remained at large Friday as other new details emerged in the case.

David C. Swanson, president and CEO of North Country Savings Bank, confirmed that the automated teller machine outside the Brewer Bookstore did have an alarm, but he referred questions about the device to assistant vice president Robert Polniak, the bank’s security officer.

Mr. Polniak declined to comment on the alarm system when contacted Friday afternoon.

Police, meanwhile, continued the hunt for suspect Joseph C. Lugo, 24, who may have fled on a motorcycle and may also be armed.

“He’s on the move,” Interim Canton Police Chief Victor N. Rycroft said of Mr. Lugo, who is wanted for third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal mischief. “We have an all-points bulletin out, and a warrant has been issued.”

Mr. Lugo, whose address was not available, “has a criminal history,” Mr. Rycroft added.

Another suspect, Brandon D. Crandall, 21, of 31 Main St., Canton, was arrested Wednesday.

In the early hours of last Saturday, Mr. Lugo and Mr. Crandall 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 automated teller machine, which had been loaded with $35,000 in $20 bills, was battered and empty when police found it in a field off Sykes Road earlier this week. Its front door was scorched in spots and warped from being pried open after the lock was removed.

“They dumped it in a pasture,” Mr. Rycroft said. “It was close and convenient.”

Mr. Crandall may have had a family or personal connection to that location, Mr. Rycroft added.

Investigators recovered $17,600 in cash with the arrest of Mr. Crandall. They said they believe Mr. Lugo may have the rest of the money.

Mr. Lugo has a criminal record dating back at least five years, including a safe theft, according to Times archives.

In April 2007, Mr. Lugo was listed as a DeKalb Junction resident when he took part in the burglary of a home on Old Northerner Road, the newspaper reported.

He was arrested in Colorado in June 2007 and brought back to St. Lawrence County, pleading guilty on July 23. That September, he was sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation for third-degree burglary in connection with the theft of a safe and other items.

Before the year was out, Mr. Lugo was in trouble again. He violated his probation by driving without a license on Dec. 16, 2007, to which he admitted in an April 2008 proceeding, the paper reported.

Anyone with information about Mr. Lugo’s whereabouts is asked to call Canton Police at 386-4561.

Police said intelligence gathered in two other investigations helped point them toward the suspects.

Investigators were questioning Mr. Crandall in an unrelated drug case when he revealed information about the bank machine heist, Mr. Rycroft said. In addition to the ATM and cash, Mr. Crandall’s arrest also led to the seizure of 1 pound of marijuana and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.

Surveillance photos and information obtained from state troopers probing an attempted ATM robbery Nov. 10 outside Lake Placid also pointed investigators toward suspects in the Canton case, village police said.

In the early hours of Nov. 10, someone tried to torch open an NBT Bank ATM in the town of North Elba, state police at Ray Brook said Friday. No money was removed, but the machine was heavily damaged, troopers said.

North Country Savings Bank, meanwhile, has yet to install a new ATM in the bookstore vestibule after maintaining a machine there for at least a decade.

“It takes a while to order,” Mr. Swanson said. “We’re considering whether we should or not.”

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