A Niagara County man identified by police as an undocumented immigrant is accused of threatening to detonate a bomb inside a Newfane pharmacy while robbing the place on Nov. 11.
Martin H. Reyes Jr., 23, of Van Buren Street, was arrested at his Olcott home on Friday, following an investigation by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Reyes is accused of robbing the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy on South Main Street in Newfane on the afternoon of Nov. 11, Sheriff James R. Voutour said.
During the robbery, Reyes is alleged to have put a package on a counter and threatened a clerk by saying it was a detonation device for a bomb. Police said the bandit also told a pharmacy clerk that a young child was being held hostage outside the store.
“We believe he was desperate for prescription painkillers,” Voutour said of the suspect.
“There has been a huge increase in robberies and burglaries in pharmacies all over the country because people are desperate for these pills. There’s a huge demand for them.”
Police said the robber, who was wearing a bandanna over his face, initially demanded a specific painkiller drug when he went into the store, but instead took cash when a clerk told him they did not stock that drug.
So far, investigators have not found the device Reyes allegedly carried into the pharmacy, Voutour said.
The sheriff added that, at this point, police do not believe the bandit had an actual working detonator with him when he robbed the store.
Reyes is in the country illegally from Mexico, the sheriff said. He said he does not believe that Reyes is currently employed in any job.
“Because he is an illegal alien, he will have to face the music with immigration proceedings after he faces the music on our charges,” Voutour said.
The sheriff credited Investigators Stephen Gaydos and Brian Schell and federal agents for their work on the case.
“They really did some good ground work on this case from the very start,” he said.
Charged with robbery and petit larceny, Reyes was arraigned in Newfane Town Court on Friday. Judge Bruce M. Barnes set bail at $20,000 cash or $40,000 property bond.