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Police charge suspect in armed robbery of Hillsdale store

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HILLSDALE–A former Philmont resident has been charged in connection with the January 1 armed robbery of the Cobble Pond Farm convenience store at the Route 22/23 intersection.

Lellan Smith, 37, no address given, but previously of Main Street, Philmont, was charged with second degree robbery, a class C felony, by Sheriff’s Office investigators, according to a press release from Sheriff David Harrison, Jr.

Deputies were summoned to the store at 12:21 a.m. January 1.

Mr. Smith allegedly entered the store wearing a wool cap and a shirt pulled up to cover his face. He allegedly displayed a handgun, demanded and took cash from the store clerk. No one was hurt during the robbery and the clerk was the only person in the store at the time.

After processing the crime scene, investigators conducted many interviews and developed leads which led to the arrest of Mr. Smith, who is currently on parole in New York State.

According to the release, Mr. Smith made admissions to his involvement in the robbery and other crimes in Claverack and Philmont. The vehicle used in the robbery was seized as evidence by investigators.

Mr. Smith was arrested February 7 at 6:25 p.m. and arraigned in Stockport Court before Justice Harold Horner. Mr. Smith was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He will return to Hillsdale Court at a later date.

Additionally, an arrest warrant has been lodged against Mr. Smith for charges of third degree burglary, a D felony, as a result of his alleged involvement in a forcible break-in at the Mellenville Firehouse in early January of this year.

Investigators Patrick Logue, William Dunspaugh and Senior Investigator Kevin Skype conducted the investigation and arrested Mr. Smith. State Parole assisted in the investigation. Sheriff Harrison commends the hard work done by investigators and deputies, who have been very busy in recent weeks. He said the investigation is continuing and that additional charges and arrests are probable.

Greenport

Livingston State Police arrested George D. Johnson, 36, of Hudson February 7 after catching him in the alleged act of committing a burglary at a Greenport business that has been the victim of numerous thefts over the past couple months.

Owners of the Cantele Lazer Car Wash on Fairview Avenue reported to State Police that they had been experiencing loss of cash from within the business.

Troopers and investigators conducting surveillance of the business saw Mr. Johnson park his truck in a self-wash bay and then, using a key he had acquired, entered the rear door with a flashlight . Police say, Investigators Kelly Taylor and William Mulrein caught Mr. Johnson inside with a fist full of money.

He was charged with 12 counts of third degree burglary. He was also charged with fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon after police found a .270 caliber rifle in his vehicle. Mr. Johnson has a prior felony conviction which makes it illegal for him to have a firearm.

Arraigned in Greenport Court, Mr. Johnson was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail by Justice Robert Brenzel.

*Willie Simon, 22, of Hudson was charged with first degree burglary, a class B felony, two counts of third degree assault and fourth degree criminal mischief by Greenport Police, February 4.

Police investigated a home invasion on Joslen Boulevard at 10:30 a.m. They say Mr. Simon forced his way into the home, pushed passed a woman, went upstairs to a bedroom and started punching a sleeping 26-year-old Catskill man in the face.

After Mr. Simon allegedly punched the man at least six times, the man got away from Mr. Simon, went to the first floor bathroom, locked himself in and called 911. While the man was on the phone with 911, Mr. Simon allegedly grabbed a knife from the kitchen and threatened to kill him.

Police say a second victim was a 22-year-old woman, who sustained bruises, small cuts on her arms and was choked as she helped the sleeping man get away from Mr. Simon.

Greenport Police Sergeant Rowell and Officer Steven Rose arrived within two minutes of the call. Mr. Simon was still in the house when they arrived and was taken into custody without incident. Deputies Chris Link and Peter Grezskow assisted in the case.

The woman refused medical treatment. The Greenport Rescue Squad took the man to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he received stitches to his eye and his ear. He also had facial bruises.

Greenport Justice Robert Brenzel set bail for Mr. Simon at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com.

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