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Canton ATM theft suspect arraigned

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CANTON — ATM theft suspect Joseph C. Lugo is back in St. Lawrence County, where he was arraigned Friday morning before County Judge Jerome J. 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 back to St. Lawrence County 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 shortly afterward as they arrested Mr. Crandall. 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 following a tip that lead officials to Vermilion Parish, La. Deputies there were told 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.

His case was adjourned until May 6, and he was sent to the county jail without bail.

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