Whenever a masked man is sought for a robbery or attempted robbery, an arrest must be looked at carefully by criminal defense counsel because of the potential of a mistaken identification. In Dutchess County, the police arrested a 26-year-old Hyde Park male on felony charges of attempted robbery and criminal use of a firearm for the alleged attempt to rob a gas station owner with the use of a shotgun. The New York State Police report that a masked man entered the store with a firearm and demanded money.
When he reached for the cash register, the owner hit him with a shoe and then came around the counter and chased the man out of the store. Outside, the man fired a shot at the ground prior to taking off in his car. The local police, along with the New York State Police and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, initiated an intensive search.
Apparently with the help of a video of the car, they located a suspect and arrested him the same night. Police also indicate that the video helped to identify the person, but that may be unlikely since he wore a mask. As to the general height and weight of the man, the video may in that respect have been relevant.
The degree and quality of the evidence is unknown at this time, but in light of the serious felony charges and the fact that the man discharged his weapon, a tough sentence may be sought by the authorities. That is why it is particularly important to make the government prove its identification evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if the car was identified with clear evidence, that does not mean that the owner of it was the perpetrator. New York criminal law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt on each element of the charged crime.
Source: poughkeepsiejournal.com, “Arrest made in gas station hold-up where owner fought back“, Geoffrey Wilson, Dec. 19, 2015