More details released on Christmas Eve arrests for Massena purse snatchings
Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 12:29 pm



MASSENA – More details have been released in connection with the Christmas Eve arrests for recent purse snatchings at St. Lawrence Centre.

Four Massena residents were arrested on felony charges and jailed with bail as high as $100,000, state police said.

Police were called to St. Lawrence Centre, NYS Hwy. 37, near Sears about 12:15 p.m. Thursday after a Nicholville woman reported a subject approached her and grabbed her purse as she was walking from her car to the mall. A witness observed the suspect enter a vehicle and provided police with a plate number.

Police arrested Ian Johns, 25, Massena, for two counts of second-degree robbery, fourth-degree grand larceny and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Lisa Rupert, 33, Massena, was charged with second-degree robbery in the incident as well.

Both subjects were arrested at 1:17 p.m. in the upstairs apartment at 230 ½ East Orvis St. They were arraigned and committed to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility, Johns in lieu of $100,000 cash bail and Rupert in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, police said.

Meanwhile, Patrick R. Hong, 37, Massena, was charged at 4 p.m. with three felonies, including second degree robbery in connection with a purse snatching near Bon Ton in Massena reported by a Brushton woman Dec. 9. He was also cited for second degree robbery in connection with a purse snatching reported in about the same location on Dec. 16 and criminal possession of stolen property fourth degree for allegedly possessing a stolen credit card Dec. 24 on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, police said. Hong was sent to St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility pending further court action, police said.

Dennis C. Brais, 52, Robin L. Price, 47, and Richard J. Guathier, 46, all of Massena, were charged with fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property on Dec. 23 for possessing a Home Depot gift card stolen during the Dec. 16 purse snatching. Gauthier was also cited with making a false written statement. Gauthier was sent to St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility; Brais and Price were issued appearance tickets.

Additionally, police determined during the investigation that a purse was stolen from a car at the Sunoco gas station on Main Street in the Village of Massena on Dec. 17 at approximately 5:15 a.m., when the occupant went inside the business. Johns and Hong were charged with fourth-degree grand larceny in connection with that incident.

Ronald L. Freeman, 23, Massena, was cited with criminal possession of a controlled substance seventh degree and unlawful possession of marijuana, police said.

Police said they are continuing to investigate the cases and more arrests are likely. Anyone with information pertaining to the crimes is asked to call state police at 379-0012.

The Massena Police Department assisted state police in the investigation.