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Police arrest 1 armed robbery suspect, search for 2nd in Saranac Lake

September 23, 2017
By PETER CROWLEY - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - Police say they traced two suspects from a Plattsburgh armed robbery to a house in this village and caught one of them, although they were still searching for one other this evening.

Plattsburgh city police Lt. Brad Kiroy identified the apprehended suspect as Michael Johnson, 24, of Saranac Lake. Police were interviewing him and had not yet charged him as of around 7:30 p.m.

The man who is still at large has not been identified, Kiroy said. The alleged robbery victim described him as a white male in his mid 20s with dirty blond hair and wearing a red hooded sweatshirt at the time, although police don't expect he is still wearing that sweatshirt.

Article Photos

State troopers and Saranac Lake village police stand at the corner of Forest Hill Avenue and Rockledge Lane this afternoon as they look to apprehend suspects from an alleged armed robbery in Plattsburgh.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

The robbery took place around 1 a.m. today at an apartment at 70 Margaret St. in the city of Plattsburgh, according to Kiroy.

"A resident reported that two men came into his house displaying weapons, one being a handgun, and other being ... pepper spray, which he described as mace, demanding money," Kiroy said. The resident said he gave the man cash, and they fled on foot.

The alleged victim later told police he recognized Johnson and one of the robbers, and police then determined that Johnson lives in Saranac Lake, Kiroy said. That eventually led them to a split-level house house at 16 Rockledge Lane, near Moody Pond in Saranac Lake. Neither Kiroy nor Capt. Robert LaFountain, head of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for state police Troop B, could answer whether Johnson lives in that house. Essex County property records show it is owned by Lillian Cavallo, who owns the Belvedere bar on Bloomingdale Avenue.

Saranac Lake village police, state police and Plattsburgh police responded to the house and blocked off Rockledge as well as part of Forest Hill Avenue, requiring residents of those areas who were not home to wait some time before returning. State police used its military-style Special Operations Response Team, with its armored Bearcat vehicle and K-9 dog unit, to establish a perimeter around the house. The state police helicopter circled over the village for a period of time. Police could be heard speaking into a megaphone from more than a block away.

The police presence temporarily dominated the Moody Pond neighborhood, which includes the trailhead to popular Mount Baker. At the corner of Forest Hill Avenue and Stevenson Lane, two state troopers, one carrying a rifle, calmly told drivers they could not continue forward for the time being. Some neighbors, waiting to go home, joined reporters standing on the street corner there. Some had family members stuck in their homes on Rockledge.

It wasn't on Rockledge, however, that police apprehended Johnson; they got him walking along state Route 3 by the Saranac River, according to Kiroy and LaFountain. After he was taken into custody, police reopened the Moody Pond neighborhood roads to traffic.

After the SORT team packed up, two or three state troopers and a Plattsburgh police officer remained posted outside 16 Rockledge Lane. LaFountain said the officers were there to secure the scene.

The search continues for the second suspect with "an intense police presence" in Saranac Lake, according to LaFountain. The investigation also continues, with Plattsburgh police as the lead agency.



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