By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Falls man, accused in a string of robberies of city convenience stores in early September, is not interested in making a deal with the district attorney.
Paul Schubert's rejection of the prosecutor's plea deal left his court-appointed public defender clearly frustrated and prompted the accused bandit to ask to "fire" his lawyer.
Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas told Schubert, "You don't get to pick (a court-appointed attorney)." Farkas told him if he wanted to change lawyers, he'd have to "go hire one."
Public Defender David Mansour told Farkas that Schubert "doesn't have to the money" to hire a private attorney.
Schubert, 21, 1302 Garden Ave., is charged with first- and second-degree robbery, second-degree attempted robbery, second-degree menacing and fourth-degree grand larceny for the robbery of two 7-11 convenience stores and the attempted robbery of a third store. The robberies took place between Sept. 5 and 12.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held at the Niagara County Jail in lieu of $65,000 bail.
Schubert reportedly committed the robberies will he was in a judicial diversion program on another criminal case.
Prosecutors said they offered to allow Schubert to plead guilty to charges of attempted first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery before presenting his case to a Niagara County grand jury. Now, they say they will take their evidence to a grand jury and may charge Schubert will additional robberies.
On Sept. 5, just before midnight, investigators say Schubert attempted to rob the 7-11 in the 7600 block of Buffalo Avenue. Schubert threatened that he had a gun, but did not display a weapon.
He demanded money and cigarettes, but the cashier immediately hit the panic alarm. When Schubert realized the alarm had been triggered, he fled the store.
A short time later, at about 1:20 a.m., he went to the 7-11 store in the 2600 block of Niagara Street and again threatened the cashier by saying he had a weapon, but did not display one. He demanded money and cigarettes and the cashier complied with his demands.
Investigators said they almost immediately identified Schubert as their suspect, but were unable to locate and arrest him.
On Sept. 10, Schubert went into the 7-11 store in the 6800 block of Buffalo Avenue, at about 12:25 a.m., and threatened the clerk that he had a weapon, but again, never displayed one. As he had in the prior robberies, Schubert demanded money and cigarettes.
The cashier gave him money and cigarettes and he fled the store.
Several hours later, patrol officers and Detective Mark Jaroszewski were able to track Schubert to a home on Lockport Road, where he was staying. Detectives said Schubert was taken into custody without incident.