An East Hampton man was held Tuesday on robbery and kidnapping charges after authorities said he robbed a woman at gunpoint of $8,000 earlier this month outside a school in Springs.
Jay Rowe, 47, of Glade Road, was charged in an indictment with first-degree robbery, second-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree grand larceny.
Rowe, who surrendered to East Hampton Town Police detectives Monday, was held on bail of $300,000 bond or $150,000 cash at his arraignment Tuesday in Suffolk County Court.
Colin Astarita, Rowe's Southampton-based defense attorney, said his client was "in the wrong place at the wrong time" and that the identification is hinged on the fact that he was wearing a camouflage sweatshirt similar to one described by the victim.
"At this point, it appears that Mr. Rowe has been charged based on his proximity to the victim prior to the incident and that he was wearing an article of clothing similar to the suspect," Astarita said. "The evidence is circumstantial and we are not aware of anything that links him directly to this crime. The main issue is the identification of the suspect who was described as significantly smaller than my client and wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The assailant was also wearing a mask and sunglasses making any solid ID difficult at best."
Police said on March 8, Rowe followed a 38-year-old Springs woman from the parking lot of a nearby bank, then accosted her at gunpoint as she sat in her car talking on her cellphone.
Displaying a handgun, police said Rowe forced the woman to drive to nearby Shipyard Lane, a dead end road, where he stole the cash and her phone before taking off on foot.
"What we think is she went to the bank earlier in the day and our belief is this was a crime of opportunity," East Hampton police Capt. Christopher Anderson said. "That she was observed by the defendant."
Anderson said detectives "were able to piece together numerous surveillance images" that led to Rowe "being developed as the prime suspect."
Detectives also have eyewitness testimony identifying Rowe as the prime suspect in the case, Anderson said. The woman was not hurt in the robbery.