By JIMMY LAWTON
CANTON – A man accused of stealing a 265-pound ATM from a “well-lit” St. Lawrence University book store in November of 2012 is now in jail in Canton.
Canton Police Chief Victor Rycroft said Joseph C. Lugo, 24, of DeKalb Junction, was extradited from Louisiana and is awaiting a court appearance for grand larceny and tampering with evidence charges.
“He was returned yesterday by officers of this department,” Rycroft said in an interview Friday. “He was returned based on a grand jury incitement.”
The alleged theft occurred in November when a 265-pound ATM that was stolen from the university bookstore was found in a field behind Crandall's Sykes Road home.
Police said they also found $17,500 in cash at the time and believed Lugo may have had a similar amount in his possession.
Police said the 265-pound ATM loaded with $20 bills was ripped from the floor at the bookstore and the wires and cables were cut or pulled from the machine.
Employees say the machine was missing when the store opened, but it was assumed it had been removed for maintenance purposes.
Police describe the theft as brazen because the entryway to the bookstore is well lit, and there are numerous streetlights in the immediate vicinity.
In November, police charged Brandon Crandall, 21, with two felony counts of grand larceny and a single felony count of criminal mischief for his alleged participation in the theft, but were unable to locate Lugo, who fled the area.
At the time police issued an all-points bulletin, which notifies all law enforcement of Lugo's wanted status. Police believed Lugo originally fled to Florida on a motorcycle where his trail went cold.
In February Vermilian, La. police identified the suspect as Lugo and found he was wanted in New York for third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal mischief in relation to the Canton ATM heist.
Rycroft said he was glad that Lugo was in custody in St. Lawrence County. He said his department would soon be done with their end of the investigation and the courts would be handling the rest.
"We're glad that we have him," he said.