This story has been updated.
PELHAM, N.Y. – A 19-year-old New Rochelle resident committed eight Sound Shore robberies but had no prior criminal record, Pelham Police Chief Joe Benefico said Monday during a news conference at the Pelham train station.
Oliver Famby was arraigned Saturday in Pelham and charged with three counts of armed robbery and one count of possession of a stolen handgun, all felonies, Benefico said. He is being held in the Westchester County Jail with no bail and is scheduled to appear in Pelham Town Court at 6 p.m. Thursday. Five more armed robbery charges are pending in the other communities.
Oliver Famby was sitting inside a dark BMW on the 100 block of Corlies Avenue at 5:20 a.m. Thursday, Benefico said. He had a Czechoslovakian-made handgun in his possession, which police said was reported as stolen from Pennsylvania. Police Sgt. Christopher Casucci was issuing a parking ticket for the vehicle that Benefico said was in violation of the Pelham overnight parking law.
Benefico said Casucci noticed the BMW was occupied and pulled up alongside the car to investigate. Famby “began to make up and change his stories” as to why he was parked in Pelham, he said. That is when Casucci noticed a handgun on the driver’s side floorboard and called for backup, Benefico said. Famby was taken out of his car and placed under arrest.
After a 90-minute interrogation by Pelham Detectives Rick Deere and John Hynes, police said Famby confessed to the three robberies in Pelham in addition to robberies of a similar nature in the village of Mamaroneck, the town of Mamaroneck, New Rochelle and two in Harrison.
In each of the robberies, police said the victims were approached from behind with a black semiautomatic gun and told to lie on the ground, which is when police said they were robbed. All of the robberies occurred by the train station of each community.
Benefico said the detectives' investigation showed that before his arrest, Famby had been at the Larchmont train station looking for someone to rob. “When he didn’t observe anyone suitable, he came to Pelham to see if he could spot a potential victim getting off one of the first trains arriving into the Pelham station,” said Benefico.
Benefico said he was surprised that Famby was ready to strike so early in the morning the day he was arrested and that he had changed his usual robbery plans due to increased police presence in Pelham. The previous robberies occurred between 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
“He did say that he saw in Pelham a higher police presence in the area of the train station and that obviously made his crime committing a little bit more difficult,” said Benefico.
New Rochelle Police Chief Patrick Carroll said Famby, who was working as a New Rochelle cab driver at the time of his alleged first robbery, was “off the radar.”
“We had no prior history of any arrests,” said Carroll. “We knew nothing about him.” Famby also robbed two Iona College students, police said, while they were walking into their off-campus apartment building in January.