Rome woman charged in pair of armed robberies

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A Rome woman has been charged with two armed robberies at separate businesses inside the city, according to the Rome Police Department.
 
Meanwhile, investigations remain ongoing for other, similar robberies outside of Rome, the law enforcement officials added.
 
Police said Camille L. Dyous, 30, was taken into custody on Thursday following separate armed robberies in Rome from the fall of 2020.
 
Police said Dyous robbed OJ’s Smoke Shop on South James Street on Sept. 16, as well as Bill’s Variety of West Thomas Street on Nov. 19. In both instances, the law enforcement officers said that Dyous displayed what appeared to be a firearm and demanded money from the store personnel.
 
Police said that Dyous stole cash, cigarettes and cell phones from the smoke shop, and that she stole cash from the Bill’s Variety store.
 
Dyous was taken into custody Thursday morning on two counts of felony second-degree robbery, police stated.
 
The owner of OJ’s Smoke Shop gave a statement to police detailing the encounter.
 
The owner said a woman came into his shop wearing all black, including a black motorcycle helmet. He told police the woman tried to buy a pack of cigarettes and then began to “fumble” around in her jacket, as if reaching for some money to pay.
 
“All of a sudden, the female pulled her right hand out of her jacket and raised, to me, what I believed was a black handgun. She then shouted to me ‘give me all the money’,” the owner told police.
 
“I was immediately afraid for my life and the life of my wife because the female had a gun so I gave her the money. She then kept shouting at me saying ‘give me the money in the safe.’ I stated to her, ‘I don’t have a safe.’ At this time, the female then demanded I give her all the Newport cigarettes I had, all the while still pointing the gun at me and my wife.”
 
The owner said the thief then demanded the cordless telephone off the wall and his wife’s cell phone, both of which he turned over. The thief then fled the store.
 
The wife told police that the gun appeared to be hidden in a “black cloth or mitten,” according to her own statement.
 
The owner of Bill’s Variety and a witness in the store also described their encounter with Dyous to police.
 
“A person threw open the front door and stormed inside and up to the counter,” the witness at Bill’s Variety told police in a statement.
 
“I could tell this person was immediately acting aggressive. The person, which was a female, was throwing around her left hand, while holding a black sock with something long and hard in it. When she started banging her left hand on the counter, I knew that the thing in the sock was something metal.”
 
The witness told police that the robber was shouting, “Give me the money, give me all of it” and “I want the money now”, but the witness said he “did not know how to react. I did not know if a kid was messing around, or if this was actually happening.”
 
The owner of Bill’s Variety said he was in the back room at the time, and he moved to the counter when he heard the shouting and saw the masked woman. He said she was wearing a black paintball mask. The owner said he pressed the silent alarm and tried to engage with the thief.
 
The owner said he gave her a couple of bills out of the register and then locked it closed.
 
“I twisted the key and she got pissed off, reached over the counter, trying to unlock the drawer with my hand on it,” the owner said.
 
“When she did this, I was able to grab her left hand, and I got a hold of the sock with the metal object inside. I was fighting to get this sock and object away from her...when I finally get it, she falls back, hitting the newspaper rack and falling into the side of the cooler.”
 
“She is looking at me, and I said to her, ‘So what’s up?’ She ran out of the front door,” the owner told police.
 
Both owner and witness said they followed the thief out but they did not see where she went.
 
The owner told police that he looked in the black sock and found what appeared to be a silver handgun with no handle.
 
Dyous pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Rome City Court Thursday morning, according to court officials. She was sent to the Oneida County Jail in lieu of bail and is scheduled to return to court for a felony hearing on Jan. 18.
 
Rome Police said the investigations remain ongoing and more charges are possible.
 
According to Rome Police, Dyous was taken into custody on two prior occasions in 2020.
 
In May, police said Dyous was charged with giving a false name to officers who identified her from a City Court bench warrant.
 
In October, police said Dyous tried to steal a bottle of liquor from Northern Wine & Spirits. Those cases also appeared in city court.
 
Meanwhile, other local law enforcement agencies continue to investigate store robberies in the area in which a masked woman was identified as a suspect. The Circle K Gas Station in Verona was robbed on Nov. 17, the Sunoco Gas Station in Lee was robbed on Dec. 10, and Colonial Liquors in Whitesboro was robbed on Jan. 6.
 
While police say they have solved the case of the two armed store robberies, authorities are still seeking suspects in three bank robberies in Rome in the past three weeks. Those cases remain under investigation with no arrests so far, authorities said.
 
• On Dec. 21 at about 9 a.m., there was an attempted robbery at the NBT Bank on Black River Boulevard. Police said a white male presented a teller with a note, but no money was turned over and the attempted robber fled empty-handed. The thief was described as having a medium build and being about 5-foot, 5-inches tall.
 
• On Dec. 28 at about 4 p.m., the same NBT Bank was robbed. Police said a white male entered the bank and threatened the tellers with a gun, then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. The thief was described as 6-feet-tall with a medium build.
 
• On Jan. 7 at about 4:30 p.m., the Key Bank on Black River Boulevard was robbed. Police said a white male presented the teller with a note and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. The thief was described as 5-foot, 4-inches to 5-foot, 6-inches tall with brownish eyes and a scraggly, brownish beard.
 
Anyone with information can call the Detective Division at 315-339-7715 or the Rome Police tip-line at 315-339-7744.

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