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A trio of thieves versus a seven-county police task force

by WayneTimes.com
November 14, 2021

The general public had no knowledge of a multi-county task force assembled to find a highly tuned trio of thieves. The targets of these burglars were closed convenience stores, using a ‘smash and grab’ approach under the cover of darkness. The three would smash a window, or door and within moments load thousands of dollars of prized cigarettes into bags and make a hasty retreat before police could respond.

It began on October 26, 2021 at about 6 a.m. The target - a closed convenience store on South Livonia Road in the Town of Conesus in Livingston County. Deputies spoke with an employee who advised them that when she came to work, she found the front door of the business shattered. After entering the business, it was determined that over three thousand dollars’ worth of cigarettes had been stolen.

During the course of the investigation, Livingston County Sheriff’s Investigators developed suspects who were familiar to them based on a previous investigation involving multiple agencies and similar crimes about a year ago.

From July 2020 through September 2020, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Sheriff's Of - fice, Ontario County Sheriff's Office, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Gen -

esee County Sheriff's Office, Wyo - ming County Sheriff's Office, Orleans County Sheriff's Office and the New York State Police conducted a joint investigation where similar burglaries and larcenies were committed at dozens of gas/convenience stations in the multi-county area.

In the more recent matter, Livings- ton County Sheriff's Office Investiga tors made contact with the other counties involved in the 2020 investigation and it was determined that others had such crimes with the same “modus operandi”. In addition to the Livings- ton County Sheriff's Office, it was determined that the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, Wayne County Sher - iff's Office and the New York State Police were all investigating similar crimes. A task force was formed to share information and evidence in furtherance of the investigations, and the suspects were identified. The task force was assembled.

The Wayne County Office of the Sheriff reported the first arrest on Friday (10/29) at 5:35 p.m. of Andrew J. Duckworth, age 42, of Liberty Street in the City of Batavia.

It is alleged that Duckworth had taken part in two convenience store burglaries - one at the KwikFill in the Town of Marion and one at the Kwik Fill in Walworth. In both cases, on the 15th and 24th of October, the main theft again involved thousands of dollars of cigarettes.

Duckworth was charged with two counts of Burglary in the Third Degree and two counts of Petit Larceny, and under the bailess policy of New York State, he was released on his own recognizance the next day.

Duckworth was transported to the Wayne County Jail for CAP arraignment and is scheduled to appear at the Towns of Marion and Walworth Courts at a later date and time to answer to the charges.

Duckworth’s accomplices were identified as Eric M. Smith, age 35 of Rochester NY, and Kristina E. Marble , age 26 of Scottsville NY.

Investigators learned that Smith was released on parole supervision for the 2020 crimes on October 12, 2021, after spending three months at the Willard Correctional Facility. The first known commercial felony burglary committed by Smith was on October 15, 2021 in the Town of Marion, just three days af -

ter his release. Marble was given a sen tence of probation for the 2020 crimes, and had been on post-release supervision since her sentencing in July of 2020.

On Monday, November 1st, the Liv ingston County Sheriff’s investigators, with assistance from the New York State Police, located Smith and Marble in the City of Rochester and took them into custody. Smith and Marble were arrested in connection with the Conesus burglary and charged with felony Burglary in the Third Degree, Grand

Larceny in the Third Degree and Crim- inal Mischief in the Third Degree.

Smith and Marble were both turned over to Central Booking Deputies at the Livingston County Jail for processing and pre-arraignment detention, as the offenses did qualify for pre-arraign- ment detention under the NYS Justice Reform Act. Both individuals had previous felony convictions and were ineligible for bail. The District Attorney’s Office was contacted in regards to bail due to the felony level charges. It was advised that Smith and Marble should be remanded to the custody of the Sheriff without the chance of bail.

Smith and Marble were later ar raigned at the Livingston County Centralized Arraignment Part (LCCAP) at the Livingston County Jail before Town of Mount Morris Justice Da vid Provo. The Judge remanded both Smith and Marble to the custody of the Sheriff without bail.

Additional charges are expected for Smith and Marble by other agencies involved in the investigation. Smith is a NYS Parolee, and his Parole Officer was advised. In addition, the Monroe County Probation Department was ad- vised of Marble's arrest.

“If we didn’t step in and stop this when we did it was going to grow. It was a matter of which gas station or ‘mom and pop shop’ they were going by that they were going to smash the front door of,” said Livingston Chief Deputy Dan Rittenhouse.

Mary Ann Chandler, owner of West er’s Country Store in Conesus, said her shop was targeted twice in the last two years by the same thieves, costing her thousands of dollars in cigarettes and damage both times. Police indicated the stolen cigarettes were quickly sold to willing buyers. It is known that select small stores in the City of Rochester receive the merchandise.

The investigation is continuing.

The personal interview portion of the story thanks to Times news partner 13WHAM News

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