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Man, woman arrested in robberies; Both suspects held on bail until hearing.

Byline: Linda Bock

LEOMINSTER - Two 23-year-olds from Winchendon have been charged in connection with a series of armed robberies over the past week, including two on Thanksgiving, according to authorities.

Brian E. Lafrennie, of 24 Cross Road, Winchendon, and Nicole R. Deprimeo, of 705 Alger St., Winchendon, were arraigned on armed robbery charges in Leominster District Court yesterday afternoon. In addition, Ms. Deprimeo was charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Mr. Lefrennie was ordered held on $50,000 bail, and Ms. Deprimeo was ordered held on $25,000. A bail review is set for Monday.

Police in several towns had been searching for Mr. Lafrennie in connection with armed robberies at a Family Dollar Store on West Street in Gardner, a Shell station on Timpany Boulevard in Gardner and a Cumberland Farms store on Elm Street in the Baldwinville section of Templeton. He was arrested Thursday night along with Ms. Deprimeo, who police say may have been the driver of a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt believed to have been used in the robberies.

Leominster police arrested the two at the Clinton Motor Lodge Thursday night, according to Clinton Police Chief Mark R. Laverdure. Leominster Sgt. Ryan Malatos credited the quick arrests, after an armed robbery in Leominster and an armed robbery in Lunenburg, to the cooperation of a number of police departments, including Clinton and Lunenburg.

Police said Wednesday night that Mr. Lafrennie was believed to be armed with a handgun and possibly high on drugs. In one robbery, the clerk was reportedly assaulted. Surveillance tapes led police to suspect Mr. Lafrennie in the robberies and an arrest warrant was issued for him for violation of probation.

Late Thursday afternoon, Leominster police received reports of an armed robbery at the A.L. Prime gas station at 527 North Main St. Officers Kimberly Wihtelin and Jared Phillips watched the station's surveillance tapes and determined the suspect was Mr. Lafrennie.

"Brian was seen brandishing a black medium handgun during the robbery," Sgt. Malatos said. "The clerk ID'd the suspect, as well."

According to a police report, police uncovered information indicating that Ms. Deprimeo let Mr. Lafrennie use her vehicle and that she knew his whereabouts and continued to help him avoid capture.

Meanwhile, CVS Pharmacy in Lunenburg was robbed at gunpoint shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday. The store's surveillance tapes showed a man enter the store with a black semiautomatic handgun and order the clerk to open the cash register, police said. Mr. Lafrennie reportedly was identified by a witness.

The Tuesday night armed robberies occurred within 25 minutes of each other. Templeton Police Chief David Whitaker said the first one occurred about 8:45 p.m. when a clean-shaven man in his late 20s - white, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, and wearing a dark blue or black New England Patriots sweatshirt, a baseball cap and dark pants - calmly walked into the Cumberland Farms store on Elm Street in Baldwinville, brandished a semiautomatic handgun and demanded money.

Chief Whitaker said the man took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled in a small blue car, possible a Chevrolet.

A few minutes later, a man in a similar vehicle robbed the Shell gas station on Timpany Boulevard in Gardner at gunpoint. Gardner Police Sgt. Larry J. Landry said the robber showed a black handgun and, after a brief struggle with the clerk, fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police said the suspect in the Gardner robbery the night before was picked up by a woman driving a new-looking vehicle, similar to the get-away vehicle described in the Templeton robbery.

No injuries were reported in connection with the robberies.

Leominster Police have charged Mr. Lafrennie with armed robbery with a firearm. They charged Ms. Deprimeo with being an accessory after the fact to armed robbery. The investigation is continuing; police said the pair will likely face additional charges.

"This was a multi-town police effort to arrest these two," Sgt. Malatos said. "It's a good grab."
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 27, 2010
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