Man charged for increasingly violent Sedgwick neighborhood crimes

      Mario Clark / photo: SPD

      Calling him a coward and a terrorist, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler announced the arrest of Mario Clark.

      Clark has been charged in connection with four incidents involving robberies and burglaries in the Sedgwick area of Syracuse. The suspect was picked up by the New York-New Jersey Regional Task Force after a brief chase at an apartment complex in Brockport. Fowler says the Syracuse Police Department warrant squad worked closely with the task force to track down Mario Clark.

      The chief tells us that Clark's alleged crimes were becoming more violent. He's charged with multiple counts of petit larceny, burglary, robbery and unlawful imprisonment. During two of the robberies on December 13th and February 12th, Clark was allegedly shoveling snow at residences, when he gained access to homes and stole money.

      On May 20th investigators say Clark burglarized two homes in one day terrorizing the elderly residents even holding two women in chokeholds in order to steal cash.

      Laura Brown says her mother, Elizabeth Belge, 80, was one of those victims. Brown says Clark came to the house and offered to do odd jobs for her elderly parents. Then, one day, when he came over to shovel, police say he asked Belge for a tissue and stole $120 out of her wallet while she was out of the room.

      "It was sad that someone would do that," says Belge. "It was frightening that this man could earn their trust and then rob them."

      Clark was arraigned Friday morning in Syracuse City Court. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded to the Onondaga County Justice Center without bail. He is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday, June 14.

      Police say the 40-year-old Clark appears to have spent the majority of his time in Erie County in western New York. He has prior convictions in the Buffalo area for robbery, criminal possession of stolen property, and petit larceny. Fowler says Clark may have been involved in other incidents. Syracuse Police are asking people with information to contact them at 442-5222.