A Schenectady man was sentenced Friday in the violent February heist at the Glen Sanders Mansion. It was a case, a prosecutor said later, that was built in part on garbage.
Warren Williams, 35, formerly of First Avenue, received a total of 71⁄2 years in state prison for his role in the Feb. 22 heist.
A second suspect remains at large, but police are continuing to follow leads, prosecutor John Healy said.
The case against Williams came together quickly, Healy said. On the same day that the robbery took place, a Schenectady police officer spotted the rental car used to get away from the scene at a home in the city. A Scotia police investigator then dug through that home’s garbage, finding bank bags taken in the robbery, Healy said.
The robbery was thought out in advance, Healy told acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye in court.
Weeks before the robbery, Williams applied for a job at the mansion, shadowing a clerk there as part of the hiring process. Williams learned key locations and information that he used when he returned later to rob the place, Healy said.
During the robbery, Williams and another suspect, wearing masks, beat and choked the same clerk that Williams had shadowed, Healy said. They entered the building through an unlocked door at about 1 a.m. The clerk did not suffer lasting injuries.
Williams’ sentencing came after his guilty pleas earlier to all the charges against him, including first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery.
The plea was directly with Hoye, bypassing the district attorney’s office. Hoye offered Williams the possibility of as little as five years or as much as 10 years in prison.
Healy recommended the maximum under the deal, 10 years, saying Williams earned that through his actions.
Williams’ attorney, Mark Myers, asked for a lesser sentence, saying Williams had a substance abuse problem that led to the crime. Williams also had little in the way of a criminal history.
Williams appeared contrite in court. Family members attended. Williams, who had been free on bail, hugged them goodbye before the proceedings.
Williams told Hoye about his substance abuse history. In a pre-sentence report, Williams claimed he has no memory of the incident because of his alcohol use that night.
“This stopped me and made me open my eyes to see what other things I should have been doing other than drinking, drugging and partying,” Williams told the judge. “I will take the time you give me — or the time I gave myself — to reflect so when I come back home I can do what it is I was supposed to be doing.”
In sentencing Williams, Hoye noted the violent nature of the crime and that it appeared well thought out. She also noted Williams’ lack of substantial criminal history.
“I’m also struck by the fact that you show a lot of remorse for what you put your family through,” Hoye said, “but not any remorse was addressed to the person who was victimized by your behavior. He must have been very frightened.”
Hoye ultimately sentenced Williams to the 71⁄2 years.
Healy explained later that the clerk had an idea Williams was one of the men who assaulted him, though the men wore masks. They also wore gloves.
After Williams’ home was identified through the rental car, Scotia police investigator Michael Schermerhorn staked out the place. It was garbage day and Schermerhorn waited for the garbage truck to go by.
Once it took that home’s garbage, Schermerhorn stopped the truck and dug through the garbage, finding the bank bags, Healy said.
That led to a search warrant of the home. Inside, they found a receipt from a gas station off the Thruway. Surveillance video there ultimately showed Williams, without the mask, wearing the same clothing as he wore in the robbery.
Williams was returning from a trip to the Turning Stone Casino, information investigators learned through a casino card in the home.
“They built a really strong case,” Healy said.
The cash taken and a safe were not recovered.
Glen Sanders is the headquarters of the Mazzone Management Group, a catering business established by noted local restaurateur Angelo Mazzone. Chief Financial Officer Matt Mazzone on Friday said the clerk is doing well. Security procedures also have been heightened.
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