LAWRENCE — Police yesterday arrested one of two men allegedly involved in last week’s armed robbery of the Super Mas Market at 775 Essex St. and several other recent heists in the Tower Hill area.
Police picked up Remys Fernando Lara, 22, on Haverhill Street, a couple of blocks from his house shortly after 3 p.m.. He was charged with armed robbery while masked, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to commit a felony.
Detectives identified Lara as the shorter of the two masked men seen in a store surveillance video released by the Lawrence Police Department. Police have not yet charged the second man, who was armed with a black handgun and lifted up his black ski mask momentarily as he stood at the counter inside the grocery store.
The two men robbed the store of about $300 in cash and three packs of Newport cigarettes. They also forced a woman and small child who entered the store to the floor at gunpoint, police said.
Interim Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said Lara’s arrest capped an aggressive investigation, which he hoped may soon lead to the capture of the 6-foot-tall gunman.
“It was a combination of detectives, state police violent fugitives apprehension team and members of the newly-formed armed robbery task force,” Fitzpatrick said last night. “They worked diligently over the weekend and the first part of this week to try to catch up with this guy (Lara),” the chief said.
A blue 1999 Honda Civic recovered by police on a tip from a witness who identified it as the getaway car turned up evidence that tied Lara to the grocery store heist, according to police reports. An unopened pack of Newport cigarettes found in the car had Lara’s fingerprint on it. A fingerprint taken from the rear view mirror of the car also matched Lara’s fingerprints, Detective John J. Heggarty wrote in his report.
Police were able to determine that the unopened box of cigarettes contained the same stamp of the cigarettes robbed from the store.
Also in the car, police found a full faced light grayish knit ski mask — similar to the one the shorter robber is seen wearing in the store surveillance video.
During the robbery, the shorter robber is seen jumping behind the store counter with a black Nike book bag. Police found the same type of book bag in the back seat of the Honda Civic.
The car’s owner told police that he loaned the car to Lara, his friend, on the night of the robbery. He said his book bag, which held a blue laptop computer, was in the trunk. Police found the laptop and its external hard drive strewn about the back seat.