BARRE — A Berlin man is accused of robbing a Barre Town store in February.

Craig J. Leibold, 26, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to a felony count of assault and robbery with a weapon. If convicted, Leibold faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

He was supposed to be arraigned on the charge in April and a warrant had been issued for his arrest, but Stephen Craddock, Leibold’s attorney, said in court Tuesday his client has been in Hawaii working for the past few months. Leibold turned himself in Tuesday and was released on a $25,000 unsecured appearance bond.

In an affidavit, Barre Town Police Sgt. Paul Thayer said a robbery was reported Feb. 9 at Rickie’s Indian Restaurant, which is also a convenience store, on South Barre Road. Thayer said he went to the store and spoke with the owner who reported he was standing behind the cash register when a male walked in, pointed a knife at him and demanded money.

The owner told Thayer he threw coffee at the robber and the robber grabbed the cash register drawer and took off. The drawer had about $500 in cash in it.

Thayer said he reviewed the store’s surveillance footage which showed a white male walk up to the store, mask his face and brandish a 6-inch to 8-inch knife at the store’s owner, who in turn throws coffee at the robber.

Thayer later spoke with an employee at the store who was there at the time of the robbery, and had spoken to a female who was a passenger in the getaway car and had recorded her telling him about the crime.

In the recording, Thayer said the female told him Leibold was the owner of the vehicle and she didn’t know he planned to rob the store when they pulled up to it. She told the store employee Leibold was wearing a mask during the robbery and “stole a bunch of money.”

The employee told Thayer he met Leibold at a home in Barre City after the robbery and Leibold recognized him and apologized for robbing the store.

Thayer said he later spoke to the female who was in the getaway car and she confirmed what she had said on the recording, identifying the robber as Leibold.

eric.blaisdell @timesargus.com

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