Pair arrested for Capawock robbery, assault
Tisbury police this week arrested two young Island men in connection with the assault and robbery of 79-year-old George Buckley, as he was about to drop off receipts from the Capawock Theater in a bank night deposit box on the evening of September 30.
Brett Geddis, age 18, of Tisbury was taken into custody yesterday. Michael Ellis, age 20, of Edgartown was arrested on Tuesday. Edgartown police assisted in both arrests.
Police said the two men have long criminal records. Each was recently released from the House of Correction.
Tisbury police Chief John Cashin credited the cooperation of the public and hard work on the part of Edgartown Police for the quick arrests.
He also credited Tisbury police detective Mark Santon and officer Daniel Hanavan for their work in investigating the case.
The robbery occurred on September 30. At about 8:30 that evening, two men approached Mr. Buckley, the ticket taker at the popular Main Street, Tisbury movie theater. Mr. Buckley was just a few steps from the night deposit drop at the Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank on Main Street in Vineyard Haven when, according to police, one man pushed Mr. Buckley into the entrance door of Leslie's Drug Store, and the other snatched the money bag from under his arm.
A former police officer and school crossing guard, Mr. Buckley gave chase up Church Street, but said he was slowed because of artificial knees in both of his legs.
Mr. Ellis and Mr. Geddis were arraigned in Edgartown District Court. The pair was charged with unarmed robbery of a person age 60 or over, larceny from a person age 65 or over, assault and battery of a person age 60 or older, and larceny of more than $250.
Mr. Ellis was also arraigned on several outstanding warrants in connection with the nighttime robbery of two Edgartown homes, and a break-in and theft of several kittens from the Martha's Vineyard branch of the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The kittens were later recovered unharmed and returned to the animal shelter.
Mr. Ellis was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail, following his arraignment before Edgartown District Court clerk-magistrate Liza Williamson on Tuesday.
Mr. Geddis was ordered held without bail, under the terms of his probation on earlier, separate charges, after arraignment yesterday.
Chief Cashin minced no words when describing the suspects.
"They are incorrigible professional criminals," said Chief Cashin, in a telephone conversation with The Martha's Vineyard Times following yesterday's arrest. "Anybody like this, who goes after a man like Mr. Buckley, I really have no sympathy for."
Chief Cashin said the suspects were arrested with the help of a public outraged at the robbery of the well- known and well-liked doorman at the Capawock Theater.
"I put out a notice through your paper that we would be accepting confidential information, and people were very good about responding," said Chief Cashin. "Without the outstanding cooperation of the community, we wouldn't have made these arrests so quickly."
Edgartown police developed information that Mr. Ellis may have been involved in the Capawock robbery, according to Edgartown police sergeant Ken Johnson. Mr. Ellis went to the Edgartown District Court Tuesday morning, attempting to clear up a warrant for his arrest on unrelated breaking and entering charges. After arraignment on that charge, he was released on personal recognizance. The court was unaware that he was a suspect in the Capawock robbery. Edgartown police were notified and immediately began looking for Mr. Ellis. He was taken into custody a short time later at the Edgartown Stop & Shop.
Sergeant Johnson said Mr. Geddis's mother brought the young man to the Edgartown police station late yesterday morning. Tisbury police made the arrests, after questioning by officers from both departments.
Earlier this year, Mr. Geddis was sentenced to 120 days in jail, after he was convicted of using a motor vehicle without authority and breaking and entering to commit a felony.
The first charge followed a high speed vehicle chase in April of this year. That chase ended in Edgartown, when Mr. Geddis and two others jumped out of a moving vehicle, which then collided with a police cruiser responding to the incident. Police say the vehicle was stolen from the Tisbury park and ride lot.
The second charge stemmed from a police investigation into a break-in at the yard office of Brewer Tree and Landscaping off Meshacket Road in Edgartown, and break-ins of several cars near that office.
In October of 2006, Mr. Ellis was sentenced to 60 days in jail after a conviction for assault, and a conviction for a threat to commit a crime. On March 14 of this year, he was found in violation of his probation from the 2006 convictions and ordered back to jail for 10 months, but given 113 days credit for the time he served waiting for the charges to be settled.
"They've been on a little spree here," said Chief Cashin. "I want these people to be off-Island, I want them in jail for a very long time."
The most serious charge facing the suspects, unarmed robbery, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Separate state laws cover robberies and assaults on people age 60 or over, but only one allows for stiffer penalties. The maximum sentence for assault is two and a half years, unless the crime is against an older person. In that case, the maximum sentence is three years. Judges often take the age of the victim into consideration when issuing sentences, sometimes imposing harsher penalties if the crimes are against older people.