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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Bank, Stores and Gas Stations; Shots Fired During Chase:

Albion man admits to 5 robberies in 4 day spree in Orleans, Monroe counties

An Albion man who embarked on a wild two-week crime spree in two counties, including leading police on a high-speed chase that included police firing shots at his car, has pleaded guilty to federal robbery charges.

John S. Cecchini, 28, appeared in U.S. District Court Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to bank robbery and four counts of Hobbs Act robbery, charges that each carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Cecchini, who also is under indictment in Orleans County for nine burglaries, admitted committing five robberies between April 2 and April 5, 2021:

■ On April 2, Cecchini robbed the Five Star Bank branch at 2 West Ave. in Clarkson, Monroe County. He handed a bank employee a note which read, “Please do not make me hurt you. I need all of your money in your drawer and hurry up. You delay, I’ll start shooting.” Before the teller could read the note, Cecchini said, “give me all of the money in the drawer before I start shooting.” The teller complied and gave him cash, and Cecchini fled the area.

■ On April 3, Cecchini robbed the Discount Groceries and More at 11 South Main Street, Lyndonville, He entered the store and handed a store employee a note that read “I don’t want anyone to get hurt” and verbally demanded all of the money in the cash drawer. The employee complied with Cecchini’s demands and handed him cash, and Cecchini left the store and fled the area.

■ On April 4, 2021, Cecchini robbed the Alexander’s Mobil Gas Station at 4118 Lake Road, Clarkson. He told an employee that he had a taser and said “This is a stick up. Keep your hands on the counter, act normal.” The employee handed Cecchini cash from the cash register while Cecchini placed his hand in his sweatshirt pocket as if he had a gun. Cecchini took the cash, exited the store, and fled the area.

On April 5, Cecchini robbed Crosby’s Gas Station at 202 North Main St., Albion. He showed an employee a taser gun and demanded money, saying that the taser had probes in it and he wasn’t afraid to use it if the employee didn’t hurry up. The employee handed Cecchini cash, and Cecchini fled the area.

Later in the day Cecchini robbed the Family Dollar at 11322 Maple Ridge Rd, Medina. Cecchini asked a store employee, “Have you ever been robbed before?” while holding an object in his hand as if it were a weapon. The employee handed Cecchini cash, and he fled the area in a car.

Police saw his car on Route 104 in Ridgeway and gave chase. Cecchini led police through Ridgeway, Gaines and Carlton at high speeds, traveling through lawns and ditches to avoid roadblocks.

He also gunned his car at a deputy, who jumped out of the way, prompting other officers to open fire on Cecchini’s car.

He was arrested after the tires broke off his car on Stillwater Road in Carlton.

Cecchini two weeks earlier was the subject of a search after he crashed a pickup truck into a tree off Route 104 in Murray and fled the scene. The truck was nearly split in half and was left mangled but Cecchini somehow managed to escape injury and climb from the wreckage.

Cecchini, who remains jailed, is to be sentenced federally on June 16.

After his arrest, he was indicted in June in Orleans County Court and charged with second-degree burglary; eight counts of third-degree burglary; two counts of third-degree grand larceny; six counts of fourth-degree grand larceny; three counts of criminal mischief; and five counts of petit larceny.

The indictment accuses Cecchini with burglarizing seven outbuildings and one house in Ridgeway, Shelby and Albion between Dec. 22, 2020 and Jan. 5, 2021. Numerous items, including weapons, were stolen during the crime spree.

Investigators said Cecchini had at least three co-conspirators in some of the burglaries, some who already have been convicted and sentenced.

Cecchini has an extensive criminal history and was on parole at the time of his arrest for the robberies

Cecchini was just 17 when he was sentenced to two to six years in state prison for burglary convictions. He was released after serving just seven months.

Four months later, he was among five people arrested for a series of burglaries in Albion, Medina and Ridgeway. Cecchini was convicted a year later and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He was released in 2019 but quickly violated parole, with two arrests. He was returned to prison and released again on Oct. 15. He is on parole until Jan. 14, 2025.

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