Police apprehend robbery suspects

by Michael Herman | 11/7/03 6:00am

A multi-agency police investigation culminated in the arrest of three suspects yesterday in connection with a string of armed robberies of pizza delivery drivers in the Upper Valley last month.

Angela Bakaitis, 19, from West Lebanon, and Steven Kitchen, 18, from Springfield, Mass., were apprehended in Croyden, N.H. by the Claremont Police Department. Matthew Bakaitis, 17, from West Lebanon was arrested in Lebanon by the Lebanon Police Department.

C&A delivery driver Jim Dupuis was robbed at gunpoint outside of the Alpha Delta fraternity on Oct. 26. That incident was the third in a string of related pizza delivery driver robberies, police said, though it is unclear which of the suspects committed the Hanover robbery.

"I'm glad they caught them," Dupuis said when he heard the news of the suspects' arrests. "I'm very relieved. I've been tense and looking over my shoulder for the last week or so feeling that the guy was still out there."

"I'd really like to thank the Dartmouth students; their concern for me was overwhelming," he added.

The first robbery occurred in Lebanon on Oct. 13, when Matthew Bakaitis and possibly another male allegedly robbed an Everything but Anchovies delivery driver at gunpoint. According to the Lebanon police report, the EBA's delivery man, later identified as Steve Cotting, was delivering pizza to a residence on South Main Street in West Lebanon when Bakaitis allegedly pointed a firearm at Cotting and demanded money. Cotting handed the money over and left. Cotting was unavailable for comment.

The second robbery occurred in Claremont on Oct. 16. According to the Claremont police report, a female Domino's pizza delivery driver was overcome by two males who attempted to take money from her. The report also stated that the driver screamed for help, causing the two suspects to flee. She escaped with minor injuries.

"We made an arrest and [Matthew Bakaitis] is in jail," said Lebanon Chief of Police Randy Chapman. Bakaitis was arraigned yesterday at 10 a.m. and is being held at the Grafton County Jail on $15,000 bail, Chapman said.

"We're continuing our investigation into possible other people involved but he's the only one in custody right now" with regards to the Lebanon robbery, Chapman said. "I can't comment on the relationship to the Hanover case."

According to the Claremont police report, however, Matthew Bakaitis was involved in all three robberies.

Neither the Claremont nor the Hanover police department was available for comment, but according to the Claremont police report, Kitchen was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, which is a class A felony. He was arraigned yesterday in the Claremont court. The presiding judge, John Yazinski, considered Kitchen a flight risk and sent him to the House of Corrections on a "no-bail" hold, the report said.

The third suspect, Angela Bakaitis was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, which is a class A felony. Angela Bakaitis was arraigned in Claremont court and is being held at the House of Corrections on $10,000 bail.

Police are alleging that like Mathew Bakaitis, both Kitchen Angela Bakaitis were involved in all three robberies.