Police: Three men charged in Epping armed robbery planned to buy pot
EPPING — Three young men arrested in connection with a violent armed robbery that prompted a two-hour manhunt Wednesday allegedly showed up at the victim’s home to buy marijuana, according to criminal complaints.
The three were arraigned by video Thursday on multiple felony charges.
Benjamin Rouser, 18, of Marlborough, Mass., was charged with armed robbery, burglary, first-degree assault, criminal threatening with a deadly weapon, and conspiracy to purchase drugs.
Travis Garand, 18, of Epping, faces a charge of conspiracy to purchase drugs and three charges of criminal liability for conduct of another person related to criminal threatening, burglary, and robbery.
Raul Natareno, 22, of Framingham, Mass., is charged with burglary, armed robbery, resisting arrest, and conspiracy to purchase drugs.
According to a police affidavit, Garand told investigators that at some point earlier he had received Instagram photographs showing large sums of money, marijuana and a gun from the alleged robbery victim, Dylan Czubaruk.
Garand claimed he showed the pictures to Natareno and Rouser and that the three decided to drive to Epping to rob Czubaruk, the affidavit said.
While charges against Natareno and Rouser accuse them of agreeing with Czubaruk to buy marijuana, Czubaruk is not facing charges. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
In an interview with police, Czubaruk said the men entered the home and one of them, later identified as Rouser, pointed a gun at him and then struck him in the head with the gun. He said they stole a briefcase and his empty 9 mm handgun before running out of the house.
Moments after the alleged robbery, Epping police officer David Loader was patrolling in the area of Lamprey Village Drive and spotted two men running from Czubaruk’s home while a third man was in another yard.
In a police affidavit, Loader said he recognized one of the men running as Czubaruk. When Czubaruk and one of the men saw the cruiser they took off in different directions, but Czubaruk soon returned to his home, the affidavit said.
Loader was able to detain Garand and then began to question Czubaruk.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Morris, who lives in the neighborhood, said she became concerned after she got a call from another neighbor warning her about a suspicious man walking around behind a home on Lamprey Village Drive with a briefcase.
Morris grabbed her phone and went outside to see what was up.
She quickly spotted Rouser and began chasing after him. Morris eventually saw him jump behind Czubaruk’s home.
Morris snapped a photo of Rouser and yelled to see if he needed help. He claimed he was looking for a friend and then walked away.
Still concerned, Morris, a mother of two young boys, called 911 to report a suspicious person.
“Then I looked down at my feet and I was standing literally on top of a gun,” she told the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Startled by the discovery and the encounter with Rouser, Morris ran to the front of the house to notify police about the gun, which was loaded.
“I was beside myself that I had stepped on that gun,” she said.
Morris wondered if police would have discovered the gun allegedly used in the robbery if she hadn’t stumbled across it. She also worried about the possibility of her children or others finding it.
“They could have easily picked up a loaded weapon,” she said.
The incident put the entire neighborhood on alert as police from several agencies spent about two hours searching for Natareno, who was captured unarmed around 3:30 p.m. while hiding in a shed at a home on Pleasant Street.
At their arraignments Thursday, Rouser was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail. Bail for Garand was set at $25,000 cash or bond while Natareno is being held on $25,000 cash only.
The three man are scheduled for probable cause hearings on Oct. 27 at 9:45 a.m.