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Police: ATM suspect also wanted in Lake Placid case

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CANTON — ATM theft suspect Joseph C. Lugo may have surrendered to Louisiana police, but that doesn’t mean he is ready to return to New York state.

“My understanding is that he is fighting extradition,” Maj. Darryl LeBlanc of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office said following a hearing Thursday in Abbeville, La.

That means authorities in New York will have to ask Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office for a gubernatorial warrant seeking Mr. Lugo’s return. And whenever Mr. Lugo does return to the north country, he will face charges not just in Canton, but in Essex County, where he and another man are accused of attempting to steal an ATM outside Lake Placid the week before they allegedly stole an automated teller machine from the St. Lawrence University campus.

State police at Ray Brook said Mr. Lugo, 24, DeKalb, and accomplice Brandon D. Crandall, 21, Canton, stole a North Country Savings Bank ATM from SLU’s Brewer Bookstore on Nov. 17 and attempted to cut open an ATM at an NBT Bank location in the town of North Elba on Nov. 10. No money was removed in the Nov. 10 incident, but the machine was heavily damaged, troopers said.

Mr. Crandall was arrested in Canton in November and released while his cases are pending.

Officials with North Elba Town Court said both suspects face charges of fourth-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal mischief in the Lake Placid case. Mr. Crandall is scheduled to appear in that court on Monday.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé said her office will take the Canton ATM theft to a grand jury, although whether the two men’s cases are handled together is a question of timing that has yet to be determined.

Vermilion Parish sheriff’s deputies said Mr. Lugo was taken into custody shortly before 1 p.m. Monday outside a restaurant in Abbeville following a resident’s tip about a suspicious person loitering there.

Investigators recovered $17,600 in cash, roughly half the ATM’s contents, with Mr. Crandall’s arrest in November, and believe that Mr. Lugo had the rest of the money when he fled. He was found in Louisiana with only “the clothes on his back and a Bible,” Maj. LeBlanc said.

According to Times archives, this is not the first cross-country escapade for Mr. Lugo, who has a criminal record dating back at least five years.

In April 2007, he took part in the burglary of a home on Old Northerner Road in DeKalb.

He was arrested in Colorado in June 2007 and returned to St. Lawrence County, where he pleaded guilty July 23, 2007. 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.

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