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Dogged Pursuit of Craig’s List Robber Results in Successful Prosecution


06/26/2013

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III announced that 22 year old Kendrick Pritchett of 295 Amherst Street, Buffalo, pleaded guilty, as charged, to an indictment charging him with Robbery in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree before Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. This is the highest charge for which the defendant could have been convicted had he gone to trial.  Pritchett also pleaded guilty to six counts of Robbery in the Second Degree covering a 13-day robbery spree where he used phony online Craigslist advertisements to lure unsuspecting victims.

The defendant’s convictions for Robbery in the 1st Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd Degree (the charges for which he was indicted) are in connection with a June 18, 2012 armed robbery. Pritchett enticed the victim into meeting him by proposing a marijuana purchase. Pritchett, upon their rendezvous on Buffalo’s west side, instead pointed a loaded gun at the victim and robbed him of marijuana and money.  Fortuitously spotted by the police a short time later, Pritchett was apprehended after a chase.  The handgun used in the robbery was found under a nearby car and was linked to Pritchett through DNA evidence. Pritchett was, however, released from custody by a Buffalo City Court Judge because the victim/marijuana dealer failed to appear and testify at the preliminary hearing.

The defendant’s convictions for six counts of Robbery in the 2nd Degree are in connection with a more inventive scam and robbery spree. Between March 28, 2013 and April 9, 2013, Pritchett used Craigslist.org, an online website, to set up bogus sales of electronic items (such as iPhones and iPads) with six different victims.  Each of the robberies took place in public areas in broad daylight including locations in Tonawanda, Amherst, and Buffalo.  During these robberies, Pritchett displayed what appeared to be a handgun and forced his victims to turn over their cash and property.  One of the six victims was assaulted by Pritchett when he resisted the robbery.

The robbery spree came to a dramatic end when Pritchett stole his last victim’s iPad. That victim quickly notified the Town of Tonawanda Police, who swiftly responded and pursued Pritchett. A K9 officer--a German Shepard named “Tank”--joined in the chase. Having lost his shirt and suffered several bites, Pritchett narrowly escaped Tank’s clutches, at least for a short while.

Pritchett surreptitiously entered and took refuge in an occupied home as the police closed their dragnet. The homeowners summoned the police when they heard noises coming from their basement. Patrolmen arrived at the scene and suggested that immediate surrender was a wise option, especially in light of Tank’s desire re-acquaint himself with his quarry. Pritchett was taken into custody without further incident.

The case was successfully prosecuted by ADA Michael Felicetta and ADA Justin Wallens. DA Sedita also praised the officers and detectives of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department and the City of Buffalo Police Department, stating: “The defendant was arrested because of their dogged pursuit and successfully prosecuted because of the thoroughness and professionalism of their investigation.”

Pritchett faces a maximum prison term of 115 years when he is sentenced on August 5, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. before Hon. Thomas P. Franczyk.