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Man Arraigned In Robbery

James Perry (Courtesy Claremont Police)

James Perry (Courtesy Claremont Police)

James Perry

James Perry

Claremont — A Claremont man with a criminal record was arraigned Thursday on one felony charge of armed robbery for allegedly robbing the Jiffy Mart at North and Elm streets Tuesday morning.

During the video arraignment, no plea was entered on behalf of James Perry, 25, who appeared from the Sullivan County House of Corrections where he remains held on $100,000 cash bail.

A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 9.

Perry was arrested Tuesday afternoon at an apartment near the store on Belding Street where he had been staying since mid-December.

He allegedly robbed the store of $266 and used the money to buy cocaine, according to court documents.

An affidavit from Claremont Police Sgt Emily Cobb gives the following account of the incident.

Around 8:30 on Tuesday morning, police received a call of an armed robbery at the Jiffy Mart with the suspect running away from the store toward Elm Street. Upon arrival, police interviewed employees and viewed video footage that showed the suspect entering the store and approaching the counter.

A clerk in the Subway restaurant, which is inside the Jiffy Mart in a separate area, told officer Andrew O’Hearne that the suspect, identified by police as Perry, had come in the previous evening and ordered a grinder. While the video was being viewed, O’Hearne paused it when the person who the employee remembered ordering the grinder appeared on the screen. At that point, O’Hearne recognized Perry from “prior professional contacts,” the affidavit states.

O’Hearne also interviewed the clerk who was behind the counter when the store was robbed. She said a male, who was wearing a mask, came in and ordered two packs of cigarettes. She retreived them, scanned them through the register and placed them on the counter. At that point, the person gave the clerk a white piece of paper with red writing that had the “following phrases or some variation thereof. ‘This is a hold up, give me all the cash, I have a gun, stay calm and you won’t get hurt.’ ”

The clerk struggled for a moment to open the drawer on the register, and the male, who took the note and grabbed the cigarettes, repeated what he said previously, “Just stay calm.”

Eventually the clerk opened the drawer, handed over the money and the suspect fled. A third employee who was interviewed later in the day, said she saw the suspect sitting on a picnic bench outside the store prior to the robbery and identified him as Perry.

Police then went to the Belding Street address where they had learned Perry was living from a prior unrelated police matter. After speaking with two other people in the apartment, Lt. Stanley Andrewski was told Perry was inside. When Perry came to the door, he was asked to step outside at which time he was arrested by Andrewski and Cobb.

At the police station, several items were found on Perry that were seen in the video from the store, including his clothing. Police also compared cuts and marks on his hand that were seen in the video.

Chris Anderson, the person Perry had been living with at 89 Belding St., told police that Perry’s mother paid a month’s rent of $375 on Dec. 13 and he had been sleeping on the couch in the common living room.

Anderson said he and Perry were together Dec. 30, and had smoked cracked that evening belonging to Anderson because Perry “had no money, no drugs and no other resources to obtain drugs.”

Anderson said he left the apartment around 11 p.m. Monday and returned about 5 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 31. Later in the morning, Anderson said Perry woke him up “and asked he wanted to smoke crack,” the affidavit states. Anderson said he could not figure out how Perry got money for drugs because he was indebted to someone else for drugs and that person was holding his cell phone as collateral.

Perry left around noon, telling Anderson he was going to get more crack and he returned around 1 with more drugs, his cell phone, some food items and cigarettes.

According to a police news release issued on Tuesday, Perry was arrested around 2 p.m.

Previous convictions include criminal trespass, simple assault, shoplifting and resisting arrest in 2011 and simple assault, resisting arrest and violation of probation in 2012. In each instance, Perry had three different addresses in Charlestown, Springfield. Vt., and Claremont on Hanover Street.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.