Community Tips Help In Probe Of Robbery

Luis M. Gonzalez

Tips from the community and surveillance video helped police locate the suspects involved in an armed robbery of a West Ellicott convenience store Wednesday morning.

At least three people are believed to be connected to the hold up at Keystone Food Mart, 575 Fairmount Ave., in which two people entered the store and demanded cash from the clerk.

On Thursday, Jamestown police announced the arrest of 26-year-old Luis M. Gonzalez on a charge of first-degree robbery for his role in the holdup. In a statement, police said a second person involved in the robbery was also in custody on unrelated charges.

The investigation was jointly handled by the Jamestown and Southern Tier Regional drug task forces. Members from Ellicott, Jamestown and the Chautauqua County Forensic Identification Unit also assisted in the multi-agency probe.

Police confirmed that the vehicle involved in the robbery — a white BMW — was located and in police custody. Investigators learned that the suspects parked the vehicle next to the Salvation Army on Howard Avenue next to the store.

Det. Kevin Pierce of the Ellicott Police Department said the quick identification of the suspects is a testament to the collaboration between neighboring police departments.

“This investigation was a total joint effort of the Ellicott Police and the Jamestown Police Department,” Pierce told The Post-Journal. “When Chief Ohnmeiss and Chief Snellings formed the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force in 2014 I don’t think either chief would have imagined how well this team would work together.”

“For the town of Ellicott, JPD brings a level of resources that is a necessity in an investigation of this level,” he said. “We really work good as a team, especially when there are dangerous individuals that we need to get off the street quickly.”

He said tips from the public and “good old fashioned police work” ensured a quick resolution.

“The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was also key in this investigation, due to their expertise in crime scene forensic identification. We believe we have all three subjects in custody at this point and expect further charges.”

Police say two people entered the convenience store Wednesday at 4:50 a.m. One of the suspects was seen on surveillance video carrying a shotgun while the other is believed to be holding a large hunting knife.

No one was injured in the incident.

Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department was also quick to tout the joint effort between agencies. He noted that the money obtained in the robbery was used to fuel drug habits.

“We are very pleased to have the main suspect in this horrific incident in custody,” Samuelson said. “This was a collaborative effort from all agencies involved, and we expect to have a second suspect charged pending further follow up. We are looking for any information that people may have on this. We as a group still have work to do on this, but this was some some excellent police work done by all agencies involved.”

Anyone with information regarding the robbery is asked to call Ellicott police at 665-7083 or through the anonymous tip line at 241-9877.


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