Schenectady County

Schenectady police elect not to publicize bakery robbery

The New Mont Pleasant Bakery was robbed at gunpoint and its offices ransacked two weeks ago, and a c

The New Mont Pleasant Bakery was robbed at gunpoint and its offices ransacked two weeks ago, and a city councilman is questioning why police didn’t publicize the incident.

The incident happened the evening of Oct. 29 when two armed men barged into the Crane Street bakery, ordered two employees to the floor at gunpoint and called for the owner by name, according to bakery owner Joe Riitano.

One gunman held the two employees as the other demanded Riitano hand over all the money in the store. The gunman also pulled out computer wires and phone wires and took the business’s surveillance system.

“When they have their finger on the trigger and the gun at your head you don’t think,” Riitano recounted Tuesday at his store. “You don’t think when someone is holding a finger on the trigger. It’s very difficult to think about.”

The men finally fled with the cash after Riitano told them the ovens were on. If they weren’t tended to, the contents would burn and the fire alarm would sound, he said.

The bakery robbery happened three days after a knifepoint robbery at the Sunoco at 717 Nott St. That incident Oct. 26 resulted in police putting out a press release announcing the incident and asking the public for help.

The police made no announcement about the bakery robbery.

City Councilman Vince Riggi asked at Monday night’s council meeting why the public wasn’t alerted to the bakery robbery.

“I’m disappointed because I think the people certainly have the right to know if something is going on in their neighborhood and the city,” Riggi said. “Maybe it can help solve the crime.”

Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Dearing said Tuesday that the bakery incident continues to be investigated. No arrests have been made.

Asked why the bakery robbery wasn’t publicized, Dearing pointed to the Sunoco robbery release. That release ended up hindering the investigation as more information got out than investigators wanted, he said.

No arrest has been made in that case.

Dearing said he spoke with detectives and they decided not to put out a release about the bakery case.

That case also remains unsolved.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said that putting out information depends on the particular case.

“Sometimes the department has leads and they will follow up on them. Sometimes they don’t have leads and they look for more public participation,” McCarthy said. “Each case is evaluated independently.”

Riggi said Dearing’s comments make some sense. But he also believes that there should be some middle ground to alert the public without endangering an investigation.

Before the bakery assailants fled, they told Riitano and his two employees to count to 50. Riitano counted to 50 and then called police from a neighboring business.

Riitano said he doesn’t have a sense of where the investigation stands, but he does know there haven’t been arrests.

Riitano, who has owned the bakery since 1982, said it appeared the robbers knew him and what they were after.

“They called me by name,” Riitano said. “It’s hard to think about.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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