July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Clerk charged in Lodi robbery

LODI — A 19-year-old clerk tied up during a robbery of Circle K in December was charged with complicity and falsification because police now believe he had prior knowledge of the crime.

Lodi police arrested Zachary Conley, 125 Wooster St., at his home Friday and charged the clerk with complicity to commit theft and falsification, both fourth-degree felonies, Police Chief Keith Keough said.

Billy Lafferty, 28, and Jessie Lafferty, 27, both of 219 Liberty St., were arrested hours after the robbery, but police had suspicions they had help, Keough said.

“We had an idea at the beginning that some things weren’t right, but after the Laffertys were arrested … they eventually let it be known (Conley) was in on it,” Keough said.

A warrant was issued based on grand jury testimony implicating Conley in the robbery, Keough said.

Police were called to Circle K, 441 Medina St., about 1 a.m. Dec. 10 on report of a robbery. At the time, police said two men in ski masks entered the store and immediately accosted a male clerk, tied him up and placed him in a storage room while they allegedly stole hundreds of dollars in cash, cartons of cigarettes and lottery tickets.

But the suspects allegedly approached Conley while he was smoking a cigarette outside the store to warn him of the impending robbery and offer him a cut of anything stolen.

“Basically what happened was they approached the clerk while he was out having a cigarette, and told him they were going to rob the store with his help or without it,” Keough said. “They offered him proceeds from the robbery if he went along with it.”

Conley and the Laffertys are not friends but were somewhat acquainted prior to the incident, Keough said.

“They were not closely related, but because Lodi is so small, they knew who they were,” Keough said.

Though not all of the items stolen were recovered after the Laffertys were arrested, Keough does not believe that Conley received any stolen goods. Conley is currently being held in Medina County Jail on $200,000 bond, a spokesman for the jail said.

On Friday, Billy Lafferty pleaded guilty to one count of safecracking, a fourth-degree felony; one count of theft, a fourth degree felony; and one count of possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony. Sentencing is scheduled for April 22.

Jessie Lafferty is scheduled for trial on March 29, though his charges could be amended due to Conley’s arrest, Keough said. Jessie Lafferty will face charges of possession of criminal tools, safecracking, kidnapping, a first-degree felony; and robbery, a second-degree felony.

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.

Maria Kacik contributed to this report.