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Schenectady Police: Sunmark bank robbery suspects threatened man to commit heist

Schenectady Police: Sunmark bank robbery suspects threatened man to commit heist

Schenectady Police: Sunmark bank robbery suspects threatened man to commit heist
Photographer: Gazette file photo

SCHENECTADY -- Two suspects in last week's robbery of the Broadway Sunmark threatened the third suspect to get him to take part, according to police allegations filed in court.

Joshua Vasquez, 25, homeless, Tyren Ivey, 22, homeless and Zachariah Etherton 18, of Port Henry, each face felony robbery and grand larceny counts in connection with the May 23 heist.

Etherton is accused of going into the bank, handing the Sunmark Federal Credit Union teller a note demanding money and them making off with $1,240.

Etherton, Vasquez and Ivey were quickly arrested and charged with taking part in the robbery.

But police also allege Etherton was threatened by Vasquez and Ivey to commit the crime, according to police filings.

As a result, Vasquez and Ivey each face one additional count of first-degree coercion, a felony.

It was unclear from paperwork filed in court where Vasquez and Ivey were during the robbery, but Vasquez and Ivey each face more serious second-degree robbery counts.

Prosecutor William Sanderson said Thursday that the case remains under investigation. Ivey has been indicted and remains held on $40,000 bail.

Vasquez and Etherton have not yet seen grand jury action and have been released as their charges remain pending and the investigation continues.

Etherton's attorney, Michael Horan, indicated Thursday he was hopeful that police and prosecutors would conclude that Etherton had been coerced to commit the crime.

"I think that police and the district attorney have some sense that that is how this went down, that he was manipulated and threatened and that he wouldn't have otherwise done this," Horan said.

Horan also said Etherton was assaulted prior to the robbery and told that, if he didn't do it, he could be killed.

Police arrested the three, along with a fourth man, shortly after the 11:15 a.m. May 23 robbery.

Police arrested Vasquez and Etherton in the area of First Avenue in Mont Pleasant based on description given by bank employees. The pair were also found with a juvenile female, police said. With the three was a plastic shopping bag containing cash, police said. They  did not say what, if any, involvement the girl may have had.

Police tracked down Ivey on Lower Broadway in a Mercedes Benz that had been reported stolen from AGL Auto in Latham on May 15, according to police allegations.

Ivey was not charged related to the car, but police charged another man, James T. Watkins, 38, of Lower Broadway with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, for allegedly possessing the stolen vehicle. A third person was found inside the car, but not charged, police said. Watkins has also been released to return to court later.

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