Tow truck driver turned detective
Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 05:25 AM EST
Honeoye, N.Y. - A local businesses owner and his employee used Google Maps and some good detective work to help investigators track down the man suspected of robbing a bank in Honeoye.
“When someone robs a bank in this town it puts everyone in fear,” said Eric Lang.
Lang owns Bald Hill Automotive, which is on the same street as the bank. He said that the crime that brought out his inner detective.
“I was thinking to myself this case could go unsolved,” he said.
Saturday morning, a man walked into the Canandaigua National Bank and deputies said he handed a teller a note, demanding cash. No one was injured and the suspect left with an undisclosed amount of money.
The only clue was the suspect’s car - a white Dodge Caliber.
“I’ve towed so much,” Lang said. “It’s been a busy time. I’m trying to remember, and then it clicked. ‘That was a Dodge Caliber.’”
On Tuesday, four days before the bank robbery, Lang towed a Dodge Caliber from a snow bank, but his customer couldn’t pay the $100 bill.
“So I go, let me take your credit cards back to the shop and I’ll run them from there. And he said well I’ll come in tomorrow anyway to pay in cash,” Lang said.
Lang said that the man didn’t come into the shop and all three of his credit cards were declined. While Lang didn’t get his money, it did give him a lead - John Burgio.
Believing the man he towed from the snow bank could be the suspect, Lang went through the shop’s old receipts. Lang said that’s where he found another clue.
“We did one job before for him,” Lang said. “Justin was the one who towed a junk car for him.”
Lang immediately called up his employee, Justin Knapp to ask if he remembered the job.
It took him a second, but Knapp said this was call that stuck out in his head. He remembered that it took three hours to tow a car from the long driveway out in the woods.
“He lives in a place where you want to hide out,” Land said. “That’s the place to be because it’s in the middle of nowhere.”
Without an address or even a street name, the two men opened up Google Maps to look for the location. As they scrolled through satellite images, Knapp recognized a “y” shape in the road.
“Just to the left there, and if you look at it that might even be the white Dodge Caliber there,” Lang said as he pointed to the computer screen.
“I took the investigator and I said this is where it is,” Knapp said. “Exact house. Exactly what the house looked like and everything, and we caught the guy.”
Around midnight Sunday morning, about 15 hours after the bank robbery, deputies arrested John Burgio, 50, of Holley. Investigators said they found Brugio, along with most of the stolen money, in a cabin in Springwater, a remote area in Livingston County.
Burgio is now at the Ontario County Jail facing grand larceny and robbery charges.