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Ted Waddell | Democrat

A KNOCKED-OVER DISPLAY stand is just one of the few indications of the brutal beating and robbery that happened last Friday, February 1, at Roscoe Wines & Liquors.

Store clerk beaten and robbed in Roscoe

By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE — February 8, 2008 — It looked like somebody had poured a bucket of red paint over his head.
That’s exactly how a couple of employees of the local supermarket in Trout Town U.S.A. described 23-year old Josh Appley, when he stumbled into their grocery store on the arm of a good Samaritan after being brutally beaten just moments before in a robbery of the liquor store where he worked.
According to the New York State Police, the robbery and assault occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Friday, February 1 at the Roscoe Wine and Liquor Store on Stewart Ave., during a time when several other store owners were considering closing early due to inclement weather.
As the intensive investigation is ongoing as of press time, spearheaded by about 10 investigators assigned to the NYSP’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), authorities confirm that the are searching for two unknown male assailants who demanded money from the cash register, and after possibly taking an undetermined amount of cash, reportedly struck Appley in the head with a blunt object.
As word of the brutal attack spread through the sleepy little town, residents, store owners and their employees were in a state of shock that one of their own had been so severely injured that he was still listed in critical condition at a major trauma center.
Employees of The Little Store, located adjacent to the liquor store, talked about the incident a couple of days later.
“I feel horrified that something could happen like this in Roscoe, just horrified,” said Joanne Bowers. “The streets are no longer safe.”
Carol Adolf, another general store employee, described the victim as “a nice young man, kind of quiet.”
“We don’t want anybody to put the town down, but it’s not nice what happened,” she added.
Elwin “Woody” Wood owns The Little Store, and serves as legislator for Sullivan County District 3.
He heard the emergency call over a scanner and rushed over to the store.
“My girl who works here called me and I came down and immediately closed the store,” said Wood, noting that by the time he arrived state police were already at the scene.
“We were open the night of the robbery, but my girls didn’t hear anything,” he added.
“This is the first one, in the area, I can’t recall an assault with a deadly weapon as long as I can remember,” said Wood.
“I know the family, and he’s a very good young man. We wish the family well and hope he’s doing well. It’s a shame, he’s a real good kid.”
Asked his take on the tone of the town after the vicious attack and robbery, Wood replied, “Everybody’s going to be cautious… they’re going to continue on with business but watch.”
The Roscoe/Rockland Volunteer Ambulance Corps and paramedics from Liberty Volunteer Ambulance responded to the scene.
Appley was transported to Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Harris, and later transferred to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
As of press time he was listed in stable, but critical condition.
One of the emergency medical services responders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that when they arrived Appley was sitting in the supermarket “waiting for us… The poor guy, he had blood all over him, his head, hands and clothes.
“He tried to talk, but couldn’t… he wrote out a note for the people in the store.”
“When we got there the person (Appley) wrote it down… [claiming] a couple of black [men] hit him in the head with a baseball stick… he walked all the way down from the liquor store to the supermarket.”
Ann Kaur, who owns the local grocery store, wasn’t there Friday night, but had a lot to say about the robbery and assault.
“Being here 20 years, we never had such a thing happen in this town,” she said. “It’s scary, really scary… they can rob and run away, but to try to kill somebody, that’s not a good thing.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, trying to kill him,” added Kaur.
Dawn Lau, 44, has been working at the local grocery store for about a year, She was on duty when Appley walked into the supermarket.
“On Friday night, it was me and my co-worker (Jim Blakey),” she said “I didn’t know anything about it… A woman who was putting money into an ATM (at the Bank of America)... saw him walking down from the liquor store in a daze… and brought him into the grocery store, and then Jim called 911.”
“It was like they poured a bucket of red paint on him,” said Lau. “His face was all blood.”
According to Lau, she and Blakey sat Appley down on a couple of milk crates and using paper towels and peroxide, tried to wash off some of the blood.
“He was in a daze, he couldn’t talk, and his face started twitching,” recalled Lau. “The blood was coming from his head, dripping down his face.”
Because Appley was unable to tell them what happened, Lau and Blakey said they handed him a piece of paper and a pen, and the victim wrote a short note.
“It said, ‘black, baseball bat, lock,’” said Lau. “Then he took a set of keys from his pocket.”
Asked if she saw anything leading up to the robbery and assault, Lau replied, “I didn’t see anyone. That night was so quiet because of the weather storm, it was like a ghost town and people started closing early.”
“Josh is a good person, he works just like I do, very hard,” she added. “For people like that to rob the store, they could have taken the money and not hurt him… it was like icing on the cake, you know.”
“Now I’m kind of terrified.”
Jim Blakey, 53, has been employed at the grocery store for 12 years.
“He came into the store, a woman was helping him, and it scared the hell out of us,” he said.
“It literally looked like somebody threw a bucket of red paint over his head, the poor guy was covered in blood.”
“Roscoe’s a small town, you don’t think of things happening like that.”
Is Blakey concerned it might happen again? Yes and no.
“I’m not too worried, I’m 6'2" and 250 pounds. I think they’d think twice, at least I hope they would,” he said. “But crime happens all the time, and I guess our town’s not any different than anybody’s else’s if somebody wants to do something like that bad enough.”
NYSP Senior Investigator Michael Orrego said some evidence had been recovered and processed, but declined to comment on rumors the incident was possibly gang related or involved some type of gang initiation
“You look into all aspects,” he said.
Asked to describe the robbery/assault, Investigator Orrego replied, “It was a vicious brutal attack.”
“From what we understand about the victim, he was a passive type person. He would have given you the store ‘here’s the keys, lock up on your way out.’”
“It was a vicious attack, totally unprovoked,” he added.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYSP at Liberty (292-6600) or Roscoe (607-4987-5300).

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