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Man found guilty of Fulton County gunpoint theft

Man found guilty of Fulton County gunpoint theft

A Fulton County Court jury deliberated an hour and a half Friday before finding Broadalbin area busi

A Fulton County Court jury deliberated an hour and a half Friday before finding Broadalbin area businessman Mark B. Miller guilty of the Oct. 16 gunpoint robbery at the Hess Express on Route 30.

The 41-year-old Miller, proprietor of MBM Wildlife Nuisance Control, was found guilty on charges of second-degree robbery, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and menacing. More than $800 was taken in the heist.

When he is sentenced Sept. 17, Judge Polly A. Hoye could sentence him to a maximum prison term of 15 years. A charge of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon is still pending in Saratoga County but may be wrapped into this case at sentencing, officials said.

Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira said Friday after the verdict that while there was a variety of evidence pointing to Miller’s guilt, the key evidence was three separate identifications of Miller from surveillance photos taken at the Hess Express.

Though Miller was wearing what Sira described at trial as a “psycho clown mask,” due to what she said is his unique body type and receding hairline, his ex-girlfriend, a state trooper and his former supervisor at the Hess Express recognized him. Miller worked at the business for two months in the spring of 2008, during which time, Sira said, he was certified by Hess for successfully completing robbery and safety training.

A Nov. 20 raid at Miller’s Hooseville Road home netted the orange T-shirt and the shirt he wore over it during the robbery, Sira said. Troopers also seized a .22 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver with a distinctive orange sight, also used in the robbery, she said.

Judge Hoye did not permit the prosecution to present testimony showing that the pistol was the same one stolen in 2000 from the second-floor apartment of the two-family house Miller once owned on Chase Street in Johnstown.

Sira said Friday that the gun’s owner, the late David Fikes, reported it stolen that year. Miller resided in the first floor apartment at that time, she said.

State police were unable to find the mask among Miller’s possessions, Sira said, but the ex-girlfriend testified that he owned such a mask, which she said she observed among his belongings at both the Chase Street residence and later on Hooseville Road.

Among those identifying Miller from the surveillance photos was Trooper Sam Thomson, who was called to Miller’s home three days after the robbery in response to Miller’s harassment complaint against a neighbor. Sira said that when Thomson saw the photos, he immediately recognized Miller.

Miller’s attorney, Kevin Engel of East Greenbush, sought to establish that Miller is the victim of erroneous identifications.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed in the verdict and we intend to appeal,” Engel said Friday.

While in custody, Miller filed a complaint that state police had failed to account for thousands of dollars seized from his house, cash he said he received from the sale of a family stamp collection. He claimed he sold it for more than $100,000 and much of that sum was still in his home when state police said they seized about $27,000.

But, said Sira, the ex-girlfriend said the collection sold for about $40,000 and some of it was spent soon after the sale.

Sira said the collection was sold after the robbery.

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