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Robbery suspect chased off by bat-wielding store owner pleads guilty

Robbery suspect chased off by bat-wielding store owner pleads guilty

Charges against 2nd person pending

SCHENECTADY — One of two men accused of robbing a Rotterdam convenience store before being chased away by the store's bat-wielding owner pleaded guilty Thursday.

Brandon Ehlers, 20, of 1034 Theodore Road, Rotterdam, pleaded to one count of second-degree robbery. He is to get five years in prison at his November sentencing, attorneys said.

Ehlers, along with Ryan M. Kelly Jr., 21, of 205 Scotch Ridge Road, Rotterdam, was arrested shortly after the May 22 incident at Markanda Grocery on Hamburg Street.

The suspects entered the store wearing masks, said they had a gun and demanded money. 

Owner Gurchran Singh responded by grabbing a baseball bat that he kept behind the counter for protection. Singh chased both men out, with one suspect grabbing four packs of cigarettes as he fled.

Store surveillance cameras captured the entire incident on video.

One of the men was taken into custody a few blocks from the store, and a perimeter was established after several witnesses said they saw the other man running through yards, police said.

A Schenectady Police Department K-9 flushed the second man out of a wooded area where he was hiding, and he was then arrested by Rotterdam police, according to the police report. Schenectady County sheriff's deputies also assisted in the search, police said.

The five-year offer accepted by Ehlers was appropriate, due to his lack of criminal history and cooperation in the case, prosecutor Stephanie Hughes said.

He took responsibility both Thursday and after his arrest, Hughes said. Ehlers confessed to police and directed them to some evidence.

Charges against Kelly are pending, including first-degree robbery. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in state prison. Ehlers faced similar charges before he accepted his plea deal.

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