1 of 3 in 'Scream' robbery admits guilt

News Staff Reporter

One of the three Grand Island girls who tried to rob an island restaurant three months ago pleaded guilty Friday to a felony conspiracy charge.

The robbers, wearing horror film costumes, were thwarted by a mallet-wielding chef.

Caitlin Connelly, who still could be granted youthful offender status and be spared a criminal record for the Feb. 9 incident, pleaded guilty before acting State Supreme Court Justice Joseph M. McCarthy to a pre-indictment felony charge of conspiracy to commit an attempted robbery.

The judge allowed Connelly, 17, of Red Jacket Parkway, to remain free on bail pending her July 30 sentencing. Grand jury action is pending against Kandria Matthews and Krystal Rains.

Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark and Glen Pincus, head of the DA's Juvenile Crime Bureau, said all three high school seniors had an opportunity to plead guilty to the conspiracy count, but Matthews, 19, and Rains, 18, refused and face possible indictment on stiffer charges.

During Friday's court proceeding, Connelly admitted that she, Matthews and Rains entered Cathy & Jim's Del & Herb's restaurant, at 1270 Baseline Road, wearing "Scream" masks and loudly ordered the employees and patrons to get down on the floor and not touch any telephones.

The three, armed with BB pistols, a hacksaw, a pry bar and the steel mallet that Litzel grabbed, came in through a side door dressed in black capes and hoods marked like those worn in the "Scream" horror movies, and one of Connelly's cohorts knocked a patron off a bar stool.

Clark and Pincus credited fast action by chef Michael Litzel with thwarting the bizarre robbery attempt. He grabbed a mallet and hit Connelly on the head, and the girls ran away.

Patrons got the license number of the getaway car. Erie County sheriff's deputies and Town of Tonawanda police stopped the car on the Youngmann Highway and arrested all three suspects.

Employees of the restaurant later told authorities Rains had worked there as a dishwasher last year before quitting in December.