Police: Saranac Laker wielded gun in Plattsburgh robbery

Michael Johnson of Saranac Lake, left, and Sabbath McGregor of Chase Mills (Photos provided by Plattsburgh Police Department)

SARANAC LAKE — Plattsburgh police say a Saranac Lake man was the one wielding a handgun in a robbery in that city early Saturday morning.

Michael Johnson, 24, lived in Saranac Lake at a house at 16 Rockledge Lane, around which numerous police forces massed Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, police apprehended him not far away as he walked along Bloomingdale Road near the Saranac River.

Johnson “has not opted to speak with us at this point,” Plattsburgh city police Lt. Brad Kiroy said Monday. Partly because of that silence, as of Saturday night, police hadn’t yet identified the other robbery suspect. Through other witnesses’ statements, however, they were able to identify him as Sabbath McGregor, 20, of Chase Mills, whom state police picked up late Sunday morning in the Massena area, Kiroy said.

Both suspects were brought to Plattsburgh, where they were charged and jailed.

Based on witnesses’ statements to police, Kiroy described the alleged crime, which took place around 1 a.m. in an apartment at 70 Margaret St. in Plattsburgh: Johnson and McGregor did not break in but were let in. Three other people were there, one of whom knew Johnson. Those people said Johnson wielded a handgun, McGregor had pepper spray, and they demanded money. They were given some cash and fled on foot. No one was hurt, and there was no property damage.

Two state troopers stand guard in front of a house at 16 Rockledge Lane in Saranac Lake, where police believe suspects in a Plattsburgh armed robbery were Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Police are not disclosing how much cash was allegedly stolen. It was apparently less than $1,000 because both suspects are charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, which applies to theft of less than $1,000 in value. Both are also charged with first-degree robbery and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, felonies.

Police have not recovered the gun, Kiroy said.

As police investigated the case Saturday, before they were mobilized in Saranac Lake, a Plattsburgh detective made phone contact with a relative of Johnson and eventually with Johnson himself. Police believed he was at home at 16 Rockledge Lane at the time of the call, and he said he wouldn’t come out for police, according to Kiroy.

Police responded en masse and shut down Rockledge and part of the adjoining Forest Hill Avenue. In addition to Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh officers, state police brought numerous troopers, at least one helicopter and their heavily armed Special Operations Response Team with its armored Bearcat vehicle, which had just been on public display that day at their Ray Brook barracks in celebration of the New York State Police’s 100th anniversary.

By that point, however, Johnson apparently had left the house, “although we did not know that at the time,” Kiroy said.

A state trooper with a rifle stands beside an armored Bearcat vehicle of the state police Special Operations Response Team Saturday on Saranac Lake’s Forest Hill Avenue. The SORT was pulling out of the neighborhood after an armed robbery suspect was apprehended. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

Both Johnson and McGregor were still in the Clinton County Jail as of Monday afternoon.

State troopers and Saranac Lake village police stand at the corner of Forest Hill Avenue and Rockledge Lane Saturday afternoon as they look to apprehend suspects from an alleged armed robbery in Plattsburgh. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)