Amagansett Manhunt Follows Robbery at Gunpoint in Montauk

Jarryd J. Cox of Mastic, left, and Keirsten Escobar of Islip Terrace were led into East Hampton Town Justice Court to face charges on Monday. T.E. McMorrow

Update, 2:40 p.m.: A man accused of pistol whipping a Springs man during a robbery on Soundview Drive in Montauk on Sunday morning was sent to county jail by East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky on Monday without the possibility of bail.

Jarryd J. Cox, 31, of Mastic and his alleged accomplice, Keirsten Escobar, 22, of Islip Terrace were arraigned on multiple felony charges.

Capt. Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Town police said that Ms. Escobar had lured Tai Truong into a desolate area off Captain Kidd's Path, apparently to have sex. It was then that Mr. Cox attacked him with a loaded pistol, according to Rudy Migliore Jr., an assistant district attorney. Police allege that Mr. Cox then stole Mr. Truong's watch, jewelry, and cash.

The two fled in a green Ford Explorer. Using a description provided by the victim, East Hampton Town police searched for them with the help of state park police, East Hampton Town Marine Patrol, and East Hampton Village Police.

The Explorer was spotted approaching Amagansett on Montauk Highway at about 10:45 a.m. Police said Mr. Cox tried to get away by driving into the Amagansett Fire Department grounds, and then crashed his car into a fence behind the Firehouse before continuing on foot into the woods and fields north of there.

A manhunt that included local, state, and county police, a state police k-9 unit, and the county's aviation unit ended when police caught up with Mr. Cox at the Balsam Farms stand on Town Lane in Amagansett.

Both defendants are facing matching multiple felony charges, including two classified as violent felonies — robbery and criminal use of a firearm — each of which calls for a minimum of five years in state prison upon conviction.

Because Mr. Cox has two prior felony convictions he is not eligible to have bail set at the local level. He served five years in state prison on a 2009 felony conviction and has also been previously convicted of robbery. Represented on Monday by Brian Francese of the Legal Aid Society, he pleaded not guilty and waived his right to be released if not indicted by Friday. Ms. Escobar also entered a not guilty plea.

Bail for her was set at $200,000, an amount she said she would not be able to post. Rudy Migliore Jr., an assistant district attorney, pointed out that Ms. Escobar has a prior arrest on a felony drug possession charge, but that charge was later adjudicated at the youthful offender level, so she has no criminal record. Under state law, she would have to be released from custody if not indicted by Friday. Mr. Migliore indicated during the arraignment that the case could well be presented to a grand jury by then. Mr. Francese told the court that Ms. Escobar lives with her mother and her daughter.

"These are extremely serious allegations," Justice Tekulsky said as he set bail.

According to Captain Anderson, the meeting between the two defendants and Mr. Truong was not by chance, but was facilitated through the internet.

Asked about the charges as he was being led out of the courthouse, Mr. Cox said, "There was no assault," adding that Mr. Truong was "a liar. It's all going to come out."

Mr. Truong was taken to the hospital to be treated for head injuries, and was released.

Original, 9:43 a.m.: A robbery at gunpoint on Soundview Avenue in Montauk Sunday morning ended with a manhunt in Amagansett and the arrest of the alleged assailant and his accomplice. Jarryd J. Cox, 31, of Mastic, and Keirsten Escobar, 22, of Islip Terrace allegedly confronted a victim with a handgun, demanding money and jewelry.

The victim, whose name was withheld by police, was struck repeatedly with the pistol on the face and head before the two fled in a green Ford Explorer. As he received medical attention before being taken to Southampton Hospital, the victim described the two attackers and their vehicle to police. Officers from East Hampton Village, the State Park police, and the Marine Patrol joined East Hampton Town police in their search. The Explorer was soon spotted approaching Amagansett on Montauk Highway.

When a police officer turned on his vehicle's emergency lights, Mr. Cox tried to get away by driving onto the Amagansett Fire Department grounds, toward the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Mr. Cox abandoned the Explorer, and Ms. Escobar, and tried to flee on foot through woods and farmland north of the highway. A helicopter was dispatched by Suffolk County police, along with a state police K-9 unit. Police caught up with Mr. Cox, they said, at Balsam Farms farmstand on Town Lane in Amagansett, where he had been trying to blend in with customers. He was taken into custody without incident, police said.

Mr. Cox served almost five years in state prison following a 2009 reckless endangerment conviction.

A search of the car turned up the stolen property, along with a handgun and a quantity of cocaine. The two are facing numerous charges for which they will be arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court Monday morning, the most serious being robbery in the first degree and criminal use of a weapon in the first degree, both violent felonies carrying a minimum of five years in state prison each. They are also each facing charges of criminal possession of a weapon, assault, possession of stolen property, and cocaine possession, all felonies.

Mr. Cox is facing four additional charges, including reckless driving, driving without a license, unlawful fleeing from a police officer, and resisting arrest, all misdemeanors.

The victim was treated at the hospital for his injuries and released.

Police have asked anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 631-537-7575. 
--
Correction: An update of this story following the defendants' arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court credited an assistant district attorney with saying that the alleged victim had been lured lured  into either a vehicle or a residence. According to Capt. Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Town police, the victim was lured into a desolate area off Captain Kidd's Path in Montauk.