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Video Recognition Leads to Gas Station Robberies Arrest

The following information does not indicate a conviction.

A man believed  Thornwood and Elmsford gas stations on March 1 has been arrested, according to Kieran O'Leary of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety.

John Allen, a 40-year-old Yonkers resident, was arrested at his home after police arrived at approximately 1:30 a.m. this morning, O'Leary said.

Investigators from the county, Town of Mount Pleasant, Village of Elmsford and U.S. ATF unit performed the arrest.

"He initially refused to open the door," O'Leary said. "Yonkers ESU was called as a precaution, but the guy did surrender without incident at 1:43 a.m."

Police also impounded a red Jeep Liberty believed to be the vehicle Allen used to arrive and leave the scenes, at the home.

"I'm grateful we made an arrest so quickly," said Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno.

He acknowledged, "The reason the arrest was made was because of the support of the public. When the video was broadcast yesterday, it resulted in one tip and that tip was very accurate and led to the identity of the suspect and the arrest."

According to the complaint filed by Assistant United State Attorney Marcia Cohen, Allen is charged with Interference with Commerce by Threats or Violence at the federal level.

Both gas stations robbed were along the Saw Mill River Parkway. The suspect threatened the gas station employees with a gun in the stick-ups.

According to Cohen's complaint, Allen "admitted that he participated in the robbery of Store 1 and Store 2 on March 1, 2012. He also said, among other things, that prior to the robbery of Store 2, he entered Store 2 without a mask"—an action that can be seen in the surveillance footage.

The first robbery took place at approximately 3 a.m. at the Sunoco gas station on Marble Avenue in Thornwood. Police believe Allen then took the Saw Mill River Parkway and robbed the Gulf station on West Main Street in Elsmford 30 minutes later.

Allen will be prosecuted at a federal level due to the fact that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was involved in the investigation and arrest.

"It's a complicated situation," said Alagno. "The last I heard he was in a federal courthouse...but we plan on charging him here in Westchester with Robbery in the First Degree, which is a Class B Felony."

The federal hearing has been adjourned until Monday at 9:15 a.m. and will take place in front of Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith in White Plains. Allen will be represented by Federal Defender Amy Attias and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Salvatore LaVerde March 09, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Glad he was caught. Could be more robberies as gas prices rise!

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