August 5, 2008

Two Held in Early-Morning Holdup

By Julie Manganis, The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.

Aug. 5--BEVERLY -- Two men are being held without bail on charges that they robbed two other men of $7 in cash, a cellphone and an empty wallet early yesterday morning in downtown Beverly.

Edwin Mbugua, 20, who is homeless, and Ronnie Alford, 17, of 245 Rantoul St., Beverly, pleaded not guilty to two counts of armed robbery yesterday during their arraignments in Salem District Court.

Prosecutor James Steinberg said the two victims went to police along with a friend just before 1:30 a.m.

The men said they were walking near West Dane Street when they saw a group of four men. Two of the men approached, one of them holding a Swiss Army-style knife, which he held to the neck of one of the victims.

The robber went into the man's pockets and pulled out $7 and a cell phone, which was found broken in some bushes nearby. The other victim was ordered to hand over his wallet, which turned out to be empty.

The robbers dropped the wallet and fled.

Police asked the victims to follow them around downtown until they recognized their robbers.

After the arrest, police found a red folding knife and $7 on Mbugua, the prosecutor said.

Judge Robert Cornetta ordered both men held without bail until a hearing next Monday to determine whether they pose a danger to the community if released.

Mbugua is also facing a hearing into whether he has violated his probation in an earlier case.


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