Niagara Gazette —
Two men arrested Thursday following the armed robbery of a Cheektowaga gas station may be the suspects sought in a string of local robberies dating back to Dec. 24.
Timothy Reinard, 45, of Harvey Avenue, Lockport, and Anderson Arroyo, 29, of Amherst, are in Cheektowaga Police Department custody, charged with first-degree robbery, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a weapon, after the robbery of a NOCO station on Transit Road.
The pair is now being investigated for a series of armed robberies in Niagara and Erie counties.
“We had investigators up there (in Cheektowaga) all day,” Niagara County Undersheriff Michael Filicetti said Thursday night. “It looks good that they may be one and the same with our (suspects). But it’s still very early in the investigation. There’s a lot of leg work still to do.”
A little of that leg work began Thursday with a search warrant executed at Reinard’s Harvey Avenue home, according to Lockport Police Chief Larry Eggert.
”... we cooperated with the Cheektowaga PD in executing a search warrant on the house,” Eggert said, adding some potential evidence was recovered.
”We did take some items from the house that we’re going to examine,” he said.
Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour said with the two suspects now in custody, police have more time to continue collecting evidence and building their cases.
“Time is on our side,” he said. “They’re not going anywhere.”
In all, Voutour said there have been 18 to 20 robberies in Erie and Niagara counties since that Christmas Eve robbery in Middleport.
Both Voutour and Eggert credited the work of the Cheektowaga police with catching the suspects.
”Cheektowaga caught ‘em. They did a great job,” Voutour said. “It was a patrolman on a traffic stop that became suspicious of these guys.”
About 1 a.m. Thursday, police said Reinard and Arroyo entered the Transit Road store wearing hoods and bandanas. They displayed a handgun while demanding the gas station clerk get down on the floor. They then fled with cash from the register.
Shortly after it was called in to police, Cheektowaga officers stopped Reinard and Arroyo in a vehicle that ran a red light at the Losson Road and Towers Boulevard intersection. Cash from the robbery and clothes inside the vehicle matched the description given by a witness at the NOCO station.
Police will now work to connect Reinard and Arroyo to the local robberies.
”It’s going to be a pretty long investigation to determine whether these guys are our guys, but we’re operating under the premise that they are,” Eggert said. “I guess we’ll see in the next day or so what comes out of it.”