Tupper robbery suspect arrested on unrelated burglary charge

Jason Smith (Photo provided by NYSP)

TUPPER LAKE — Village police say a man suspected of robbing Ray’s Discount Liquor & Wine store at knifepoint June 29 was arrested Sunday on an unrelated burglary charge.

They say a warrant has been issued regarding the Tupper Lake robbery.

The man, Jason Smith, 40, of Massena was charged Sunday in Massena for a burglary allegedly committed in Plattsburgh, and is currently incarcerated in the Clinton County Jail in Plattsburgh.

Police said Smith entered the liquor store in Tupper Lake at 9:45 a.m., shortly after 90-year-old owner Mary Chapman returned from the bank with cash. Holding a knife to her back, he allegedly led her through the store and took an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register and the bank box before fleeing on foot, as recorded by security cameras in the store.

Tupper Lake village police Chief Eric Proulx said Smith has not yet been charged for the Tupper Lake robbery; the warrant for first-degree robbery, a felony, was lodged so if Smith is released from Clinton County Jail, he can be brought to Tupper Lake court for arraignment.

Currently, Franklin County Assistant District Attorney David Hayes can decide to bring Smith to be arrested and processed in Tupper Lake, or wait and present the entire case to a grand jury for indictment.

“There are numerous other charges that we are going to pursue, but we are going to wait to file them after our total investigation is done or it does to go grand jury,” Proulx said.

Those extra charges address the alleged wielding of a knife and the account that Chapman was held captive during the robbery. Proulx also said there are more co-defendants being investigated.

He thanked state police for their assistance in the case.

“They have done a tremendous amount of investigation for me; I can’t say enough about what they’ve done,” Proulx said.