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Under new bail reforms, Colonie bank robbery suspect released Tuesday without bail

Under new bail reforms, Colonie bank robbery suspect released Tuesday without bail

State reform dispenses with bail for many charges, some violent
Under new bail reforms, Colonie bank robbery suspect released Tuesday without bail
Christopher M. Seamans, 41, of East Syracuse
Photographer: SHUTTERSTOCK (BACKGROUND); COLONIE POLICE (INSET)

COLONIE — A twice-convicted bank robber accused of robbing a Colonie bank last week has been released on his own recognizance under the state’s new bail reform law. 

Christopher Seamans, 41, of East Syracuse, was released Tuesday the day after being arraigned in Albany County Court.

Seamans is charged with third-degree robbery and fourth-degree grand larceny, both felonies, after being picked up in a Syracuse suburb last week. 

The suspect allegedly robbed Pioneer Bank on Central Avenue last Friday, making off with an unspecified amount of cash.

He has two previous bank robbery convictions, one in 2005 and a second in 2010, both of which were handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Colonie police received several tips about Seamans after they posted surveillance images to social media, which investigators ultimately used to confirm his identity.

The state's new bail and discovery reforms, which go into effect Wednesday, scrap pre-trial detention and cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases, and some violent felonies.

Reformers believe the new laws will create a fairer criminal justice system and cut down on low-income people held in jail while awaiting trial, resulting in mandatory release for approximately 80 to 90 percent of those cases. 

But opposition has been mounting from law enforcement and Capital Region-area state lawmakers, who excoriated the new laws and Seamans’ release on Tuesday.

“Happy New Year everyone,” said the Colonie Police Department in a released statement. “Especially happy for our most recent bank robber.” 

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo also weighed in. 

“Yet another example of the dangerous individuals being set free on our streets thanks to the ‘progressive’ agenda of our governor and legislators,” Zurlo wrote on social media. 

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