A Springs man who police said held up a liquor store early Saturday evening was arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court Tuesday in front of Justice Catherine A. Cahill on a felony charge of robbery in the first degree.
John X. Tracy, 19, entered a not guilty plea through his attorney, John O’Brien of Burke and O’Brien in Noyac.
According to the charge filed with the court, Mr. Tracy walked into Springs Wines and Liquors just after sunset Saturday and “forced cashier Thien Hugnh to open the register by displaying what appeared to be a gun inside of his sweatshirt pocket” and threatening Ms. Hugnh with “serious injury,” according to East Hampton Town police.
Mr. Tracy then reached into the cash register, police said, and made off on foot with about $1,500. Ms. Hugnh appears to have been unharmed.
“This is about Saturday?” Mr. Tracy reportedly asked police after being picked up for questioning Monday morning. “Just so you know,” he is alleged to have said, “I didn’t have a gun. This is the craziest thing I have ever done. I was drunk.”
He had been stopped on Norfolk Drive in Springs driving a 2004 Dodge pickup truck, police said.
Detective Lt. Chris Anderson would not comment after the arraignment as to whether a gun had been recovered, though he did say that police had been searching for one.
The identification and arrest of Mr. Tracy a little more than 36 hours after the alleged holdup may have resulted from the quick release of images taken by a surveillance video camera in the store. Detective Anderson said that tips and a description from a witness helped them focus on Mr. Tracy.
Mr. Tracy told the court that he is unemployed. He said he was a 2012 graduate of East Hampton High School and attended college in Vermont for one semester.
When it came to setting bail, Rob Archer, an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, reminded Justice Cahill of the seriousness of the crime and asked that bail be set at $50,000.
Mr. O’Brien argued that Mr. Tracy was not a flight risk, was a lifetime resident of the area, and would make every court appearance. He said that Mr. Tracy’s parents, who were seated in the courtroom, were prepared to post $10,000 bail immediately. Mr. O’Brien also told the court that his client had no previous involvement with the criminal justice system.
Justice Cahill set bail at the proposed amount of $10,000.
Mr. Archer served the court and Mr. O’Brien to the effect that the charge was going to be brought before a grand jury, seeking an indictment, in the coming days.
Bail was posted, and Mr. Tracy was released from custody.
“I have no comment,” Mr. O’Brien said afterward about the charge, “other than to say it is too early to have a comment.”
Mr. Tracy is scheduled to be back in court in East Hampton on Dec. 5, unless he is indicted by a grand jury before then, in which case his next appearance would be in a criminal court in Riverside.