The Corr Robbery-Homicide Task Force has made a second arrest in connection with the murder of New Hartford Police Officer Joseph Corr. Robert A. Ward, 28, of Philadelphia, was arrested Tuesday evening. Ward is now the second person charged in the New Hartford case.
Police say Ward was one of four men who robbed a million dollars worth of merchandise from the Lennon's W.B. Wilcox Jewelry store in late February.
But instead of leading police to the Byrne Dairy where Officer Corr was murdered, police say he and another man, Marion Pegeses, may have fled in the opposite direction, eventually going back home to Philadelphia. It was there, two days later, that Ward was caught and connected to the 2005 robbery of another jewelry store in Freehold, New Jersey.
New Hartford Chief of Police Raymond Philo said, "We believe that these individuals, perhaps others, were a criminal enterprise that targeted jewelry stores in the northeast and into the midwest."
Police were investigating Ward from the very beginning, and they finally collected enough evidence to charge him Tuesday evening. Philo said, "We believe this is the most complicated and largest criminal investigation in the history of Oneida County."
As for the other people believed to be involved, Marion Pegeses is in custody but not charged in the New Hartford case. The gunman, Walter Richardson, is dead. The fourth man, John Healy, faces a second degree murder charge, just like Robert Ward.
Philo said, "It is very satisfying to have Ward arrested, very satisfying to be able to call up the Corr family and let them know there's been another arrest, so obviously, we're pleased."
Local authorities are now working with cops in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to get Robert Ward to Oneida County for his arraignment.
Second degree murder carries a penalty of twenty five years to life in prison, upon conviction. More charges are possible.
CLICK HERE to watch Wednesday's press conference
CLICK HERE to watch coverage during NEWSChannel 2 at Noon
CLICK HERE to view the official press release from the Joint Robbery/Homicide Task Force
CLICK HERE to view the arrest warrant for Robert Ward
CLICK HERE to see Saturday's story on the arrest of Marion Pegeses