Wednesday, August 23, 2006

High school student accused of armed robbery

Complaint alleges teen used shotgun to steal 12-pack of beer

Express Staff Writer


A 17-year-old high school student has been charged with three felonies for allegedly using a loaded shotgun to steal a 12-pack of beer from Veltex Market in downtown Ketchum early Saturday morning.

Samuel Samudio, a junior last year at Wood River High School, could face up to life in prison if convicted of the charges against him. He was arraigned as an adult Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court on charges of robbery by force or fear, kidnapping in the second degree and assault with intent to commit a serious felony.

Samudio was released from the Blaine County Jail Monday after posting $150,000 bond. As a condition of his release, he was placed under "house arrest" and is not to leave his home in Hailey, where he lives with his mother, Kerry Samudio.

Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities are looking for additional suspects in the case. Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas said there may have been three accomplices in the alleged robbery.

"It appears drugs were involved," Thomas said.

According to a Ketchum Police Department statement, officers were called to Veltex Market at 511 North Main Street at about 4:40 a.m. Saturday morning.

The report says a male teenager, "dressed in black clothing and wearing a bandana to hide his identity, approached two Veltex employees taking a break in the parking lot. The teenager pulled a 12-guage shotgun from under a long coat, pointed it at the clerks and ordered them into the store.

"One employee was able to flee, while the second employee followed the commands of the suspect," the report says. "The teenager entered the store and went over to a display and took a 12-pack beer. The teenager then fled on foot."

The report says a Ketchum police officer, with the assistance of Sun Valley police and Blaine County deputies, apprehended Samudio within five minutes of the alleged robbery.

"The loaded shotgun and stolen beer (Keystone Light) were recovered near the scene of the crime," the report says.

"I was scared to death," said Charley Pate, the Veltex employee who went into the store with the suspect. "But it turned out all right. I'm still here. They caught him, and that's it."

Samudio was apparently well-known and well-liked at Wood River High School. Numerous friends attended his arraignment Monday afternoon in Blaine County Magistrate Court. In 2005, he played hockey for the Sun Valley Midgets.

The "robbery by force or fear" charge against Samudio is the most serious of the three offenses. Under Idaho law, the offense is punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of life.

Assault with intent to commit a serious felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while second-degree kidnapping is punishable by up to 25 years behind bars.

Thomas said Samudio faces the kidnapping charge because he allegedly forced the Veltex employee back into the store.

Samudio also faces a firearm sentence enhancement charge, which could add up to 15 years of prison time to any of the other three charges.

Thomas said that terms of Samudio's release from jail specify that Samudio is under house arrest and "cannot leave the house under any circumstances."

"So, if anyone sees him out, please contact authorities," Thomas said.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Ketchum Police Department, he said.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29. Samudio is being represented by Ketchum attorney Robert Fallowfield.

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