Stepped up patrols in the Auburn neighborhood paid a dividend yesterday morning when Cranston Police captured two men who allegedly robbed Pontiac Food Mart as they were fleeing the crime scene with cash.
Officer Andrew Henault was on patrol near Pontiac Avenue and Rolfe Street around 8:30 a.m. "as a result of a district initiative meeting the day before, called to address issues that have arisen in that neighborhood, prompting increased and directed patrols," said Cranston Police Major Robert W. Ryan.
That meant Henault was nearby when dispatch broadcast the description of two men who reportedly robbed the convenience store. He saw two male suspects who matched the description "sprinting across Pontiac Avenue from Blackamore Avenue," police said.
The men, identified as Hassim White, 22, of 1280 Chalkstone Ave., and 19-year-old Eugene Johnson of 141 Pomona Ave., Providence were captured in the Sam's Food Mart parking lot.
The female clerk, 53, told police that White and Johnson walked into the store and went behind the counter demanding cash.
"Give me the money," they said. "Let me get this bitch."
The clerk opened the drawer and the pair took $355.60, which has since been returned to the store, police said.
As he was being arrested, White allegedly gave police a fictitious name "because he thought he might have been wanted in connection with another crime," police said.
White was charged with second-degree robbery, illegal weapons possession, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Johnson was charged with second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Both men were arraigned this morning at Kent County District Court. White was ordered held without bail as a probation violator on two prior charges. Surety bail of $30,000 was set for the new Cranston charges, police said.
Johnson was also ordered held without bail as a violator on two prior charges and surety bail of $25,000 was set for the new Cranston charges.
District 1 Lt. Stephen Antonucci said the arrests were the direct result of stepped up patrols.
"The district initiative meeting was planned after we identified that the Auburn area of the district had seen a slight rise in suspicious and criminal activity," Antonucci said. "As a result, increased and directed patrols were assigned there during designated time frames, which put these officers in the position to make such a quick apprehension of these dangerous felons.”