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Man Charged With Mall Robbery After Alleging He Had A Bomb

Michael C. Lee

A Busti resident faces charges after allegedly tryin to rob a Chautauqua Mall store by threatening he had a bomb.

At 12:49 p.m. Monday, Lakewood-Busti police officers responded to the “Banter by Piercing Pagoda” kiosk located in the Chautauqua Mall for a reported robbery in progress. A man said he had a bomb and to do as he asked. Officers were initially told the man was a black male wearing a grey hoodie last seen by the exit near the public bathrooms. Mall security advised police of a person in the restroom. Police did find a white male, Michael C. Lee in the restroom wearing different clothing from the clothing description given by witnesses. Police continued to search the area for the person and later returned and found the clothing from the robbery in the restroom including cleaning wipes with dark stains used to remove the makeup, the grey hoodie with dark stains and other items.

According to a police report, the robber allegedly tried to disguise himself as a black man by using dark makeup in an attempt to hide his facial tattoos.

Police were able to locate Michael C. Lee later when a call from Walmart stated that a person fitting Lee’s description had just shoplifted and fled toward Applebee’s. Lee was found by officers on Crystal Avenue just a few streets away from Walmart.

Lee was charged with third-degree robbery and petit larceny for both the robbery from the mall and the larceny from Walmart. He was released with an appearance ticket and will be in Busti Town Court later.

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