Two arrests have been made with more expected, following a reported break-in last week that turned out to be a premeditated home robbery aimed at a safe full of cash from a residence in the city of Cortland.
Investigators with the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office responded to the initial call last Monday (January 6) night around 8:30 p.m., after a motorist reported observing a van dragging its back end on the ground with sparks flying as it travelled down Sunnyfield Drive towards Pendleton Street.
Officers located the van near the intersection of Blodgett Mills and Page Green Roads, at which point one suspect exited the vehicle and fled on foot, who has still not been found.
A movie-like pursuit would follow, as the van headed back towards the city before spinning out shortly after crossing the intersection of Page Green and Saunders Roads – ejecting the safe from the rear and sending it about 50 yards from the van.
The front seat passenger then took off running and was captured a short distance away and taken into custody, identified as 50-year-old Christopher Knickerbocker of Cortland Street in Homer.
At that point, the vehicle’s driver left the scene and has also still not been located
Investigation has continued, and a second arrest was made on Monday of this week (January 13), after police learned 45-year-old Jennifer Brill of Lee Road in Dryden played an instrumental role in the break-in.
City Police Lt. Michael Strangeway says Brill is an acquaintance of the Sunnyfield Drive homeowner and also an ex-girlfriend of the passenger in the getaway van, Christopher Knickerbocker.
Investigation revealed Brill not only told him about the location and amount of money in the safe, but she also helped he and another man draw up a plan several weeks ago to steal it.
The unsuspecting victim was visiting Brill in Dryden last Monday, when she communicated to Knickerbocker that the coast was clear to attempt the burglary in Cortland.
That earned Brill a felony conspiracy charge, and Knickerbocker’s been hit with a felony for burglary charge and a misdemeanor for petit larceny.
The investigation is continuing and anyone else with information that could help police is asked to contact Lieutenant Michael Strangeway at (607) 758-8307.