Grand Gorge bank robbery suspect ordered held for grand jury action
By Julia Green
One of the two defendants being held in connection with the Jan. 19 robbery of the NBT Bank in Grand Gorge was present at a felony hearing in Roxbury Justice Court last Tuesday evening.
Following testimony, Town Justice Wayne Pebler ruled that there was sufficient reasonable cause to hold the man for grand jury action.
Oswego County resident Christopher M. Seamans, 31, has been held in the Delaware County Jail without bail since he was extradited from Atlantic City, N.J., last Thursday, along with accused accomplice Emily E. White, 20. White was not present in court on Tuesday, when a bank teller, Sheean Riggi, and Senior Investigator Joseph Valentine of the state police in Oneonta testified.
During her testimony, Riggi, a one-and-one-half-year employee with the bank, said that at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19, a man entered the bank as she was helping another customer. After she finished with the customer, Riggi said, the man walked over to her station and handed her a note that demanded she give him all the money in her drawer.
“I looked up and realized he was serious, and I opened my drawer,” said Riggi. When asked by the prosecution if he said anything to her verbally, Riggi said that the man threatened to kill her if she gave him a dye pack. Riggi told the prosecutor that the man put the money in the front pocket of his sweatshirt and left the bank, at which point she sounded an alarm.
Riggi said that a count of her drawer after the incident revealed that the man had made off with between $7,700 and $7,800. When asked to identify for the court the man who gave her the note and took the money, Riggi pointed at Seamans, who sat at a table in an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles.
The only other testimony provided Tuesday came from Valentine, who has served on the police force since 1985. Valentine testified that upon receiving a call informing him of the robbery at NBT Grand Gorge, he responded to the scene to oversee the securing of evidence and preliminary investigative steps. Valentine said the forensic unit was also brought in.
Valentine said that he later interviewed Seamans in Atlantic City, at which point Seamans waived his right to have an attorney present and allegedly indicated that he had planned the robbery with another person.
Valentine testified that Seamans said that he and his accomplice “ended up in Grand Gorge” and that he “felt confident” due to the low number of customers at the bank. Then, according to Valentine, Seamans said he and the woman headed to Atlantic City to gamble.
During the cross-examination, Valentine testified that as he understood it, fingerprints were found at the scene. When asked by the defense about the nature of the prints, Valentine said it was his understanding that a “direct match” between a print found at the scene and a previous fingerprint from Seamans.”
When asked if the individual who admitted to the robbery during questioning in Atlantic City was present in the courtroom, Valentine pointed at Seamans.
Following testimonies, Pebler found that there existed reasonable cause to hold the case over for grand jury testimony and ordered that Seamans be remanded without bail.
Representing the prosecution at Tuesday’s hearing was Assistant District Attorney for Delaware County John Hubbard; Attorney Nathan Garland was serving as Seamans’ defense attorney.
The district attorney’s office has 45 days from the date of the hearing to present the case to a grand jury.