The man and woman accused of attempted robbery at the Smoke Rings Smokeshop early Friday morning were arrested today in Johnstown based on a tipster who saw a picture of the male suspect online.
They were arraigned in Alabama Town Court this evening, each on one count of attempted robbery in the second degree, and both were ordered held without bail pending court appearances at 2 p.m., Thursday, June 2.
Charged were Jeremy J. Reynolds, 34, of Johnstown, and Mitsydawn Souza, 26, of St. Johnsville.
Sitting in court awaiting their arraignment before Justice John Tauscher, Reynolds and Souza discussed the case and Souza made several statements about her own personal situation.
They spoke openly, even after Tauscher advised them that everything they said in the courtroom was being digitally recorded by an audio recorder and a video recorder and that their statements could be used as evidence against them.
Souza cried during the entire conversation and made declarations to a deputy about how she couldn't read the court documents, that she had learning disabilities and mental and physical health problems. Reynolds read portions of the documents to her.
She cried several times that she had never been arrested before, that she had never been in any kind of trouble.
"I've never even stolen a candy bar before," she said. "Now I'm in so much trouble."
When Reynolds read the part of the charge that said they demanded nothing, she said, "I didn't demand anything," and he said, "I didn't demand anything either."
She said, "you told me you just wanted to scare a friend," and he said he didn't tell her that, but that he intended to get shot.
When he was arraigned, he interrupted Tauscher several times, trying Tauscher's patience. Once he said he needed a court-appointed attorney, Tauscher said the arraignment was over, and Reynolds said he wanted to proceed with the arraignment. Tauscher said once he asked for an attorney, the arraignment was over.
Reynolds wanted to know if he could get bail, but Tauscher said that because Reynolds allegedly has two prior felony convictions, he couldn't grant bail in any amount even if the D.A. wasn't requesting Reynolds be held without bail.
Reynolds walked into court carrying his crutches and with his left leg in a cast. He was apparently injured in the scuffle at the smoke shop.
Both Reynolds and Souza were provided with witness statements of the two smoke shop employees who were working when they reportedly entered the store.
As Reynold's read the statement, he told Souza that one statement didn't say the same thing as a statement he claimed to have read earlier. He said he had seen another statement and the person making the statement, "said I had blond hair and blue eyes."
He asked Tauscher if he could get a copy of that statement and Tauscher told him that was an issue to take up with his attorney.
The two store employees, one a Batavia resident and the other an Alabama resident, provided deputies with mostly similar statements about the events that started at 2:42 a.m., Friday.
Two people, both wearing camouflage entered the store, with the man carrying a rifle that may have looked like an M-16, and the woman carrying a pistol. They pointed the guns at one clerk (the other was in a back room) and yelled, "freeze mother (bleep)" (the same term of endearment Reynolds directed at a photographer this evening outside the courthouse).
The couple pushed the first clerk into a back room and tied his hands with zip ties. Then the second clerk came up behind the male suspect and grabbed him and a fight ensued. The red wig he was wearing fell off and the gun he was carrying dropped to the ground, at which point both clerks realized the gun was a fake.
The woman ran from the store, and the clerk with his hands tied, tried to chase her, and during the chase managed to free himself.
The woman got away and he returned to find the male suspect hitting the other clerk in the head with the butt end of the fake M-16. He put the suspect in a choke hold, then when he was indicating he couldn't breathe, the other clerk told him to let him go.
They wrestled him into a chair.
He jumped up and ran into a window. One account says the window broke, the other says he bounced off it. After getting him back in the chair, the suspect again bolted for the window. This time, he made it partially out the window and the two men held him dangling by his legs. The suspect, they said, produced a knife and tried to cut them, so they let him go.
One of the clerks tried to chase the suspect, but he ran into the woods and got away.
When Reynolds and Sousa were discussing the statements, Sousa said investigators had shown her a video of the alleged attempted robbery, but Reynolds said he hadn't seen the video.
"It shows that I did it," she said.