ATM theft suspect awaiting extradition from Louisiana

A St. Lawrence County man who allegedly stole an ATM in Canton and tried to steal another one in Lake Placid is awaiting extradition after being captured by authorities in Louisiana.

Ray Brook-based state police said in a press release Wednesday that Joseph C. Lugo, 24, of DeKalb Junction, was taken into custody by the Vermillion Parish Sheriff’s Office on Monday. He was charged as a fugitive from justice.

Lugo was wanted in connection with the attempted theft of an ATM from NBT Bank in Lake Placid. He and 21-year-old Brandon D. Crandall of Canton allegedly used a blowtorch and pry-bar to try to steal the machine, but were unsuccessful. The bank had to replace the damaged ATM.

Days later, Lugo was stopped for traffic violations in Canton. Following that arrest, he and Crandall successfully stole an ATM containing about $35,000 from the St. Lawrence University Bookstore. Crandall was arrested in December 2012 and his case is pending in court, police said.

Louisiana media initially reported that Lugo was taken into custody following reports of a person acting suspicious in Abbeville, La., in Vermillion Parish. State police Investigator Jonathan Garrow said Wednesday that Lugo had actually befriended a family in the parish and inadvertently gave them his real name.

“He told them he was on a journey and was involved with some things in New York,” Garrow said. “The homeowner – the mother – Googled his name and found out he was wanted in New York, so she called the local sheriff’s department who, at the time, responded and found him walking on the street.”

Garrow said Lugo wasn’t charged with any crimes in Louisiana.

“He was only charged as a fugitive from justice in order to hold him,” Garrow said.

Garrow said the St. Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office has agreed to have Lugo returned to New York, where he’ll be charged in connection with the incidents in the town of North Elba and the village of Canton.

For the alleged crime in Lake Placid, Lugo will likely be charged with second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal mischief, police said.

Lugo was scheduled to appear at an extradition hearing at 10 a.m. this morning.