Cheektowaga police say they may have put an end to a string of as many as 21 related armed robberies across the area with the arrest of two men early Thursday morning.
Anderson A. Arroyo, 29, of Amherst, and Timothy S. Reinard, 45, of Lockport, were arrested at about 1:20 a.m. following the third holdup in recent weeks of the Noco gas station at 5114 Transit Road. Police believe that the two may be responsible for a rash of similar armed robberies over the last month in Amherst, Wheatfield, Medina, the Town of Tonawanda and other jurisdictions.
“We feel like we really accomplished a lot here getting these two off the streets and behind bars,” said Cheektowaga Police Capt. James J. Speyer Jr.
Two men wearing hoods and bandannas entered the Noco at about 1 a.m., displayed a gun and demanded money from the cash register, police said. The clerk complied and was forced to lie on the floor as the robbers fled.
While searching for the robbers, Officer Matthew J. Arnold saw a vehicle run a red light at Losson Road and Towers Boulevard and stopped the 2001 Chevrolet Malibu registered to Arroyo as it turned onto Rushford Lane, police said. Evidence from the robbery and clothes matching the suspects’ descriptions were found in the car, according to police.
“We’ve got a pretty solid case,” Speyer said.
Police believe that the robbers drove south on Transit after the holdup to a Walmart parking lot at Losson, where they removed their coats. Arnold became suspicious of the vehicle’s occupants when he noticed their lack of coats in the cold weather, Speyer said, calling the observation “good police work.”
“We’re very happy and, by the same token, very fortunate,” Speyer said, noting that no one was hurt in any of the holdups.
Speyer said he did not know the connection between Arroyo and Reinard or a possible motive.
Police believe that the robbery spree began Dec. 24. Besides the three robberies at the Noco, Cheektowaga police were also trying to link the two to a robbery of the Express Mart at 2700 Union Road on Saturday.
Other recent armed robberies took place at a 7-Eleven convenience store on Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda and a 7-Eleven on North French Road and a Gulf gas station at 4220 Sheridan Drive, both in Amherst. The Able Insurance Agency on Erie Avenue in North Tonawanda was held up Monday in broad daylight.
Cheektowaga police said they are working with other area police agencies to determine whether the other robberies were committed by Arroyo and Reinard, who face multiple charges, including first-degree robbery, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a weapon.
They were being held in the town jail awaiting arraignment.