Nashoba Publishing/Mary Arata

From the left is Ayer attorney Christopher Reardon, his client, 21-year old Richard St. Peter of Athol, Lowell attorney Gabriela, who was appointed to represent 20-year old Joshua Voight-Poirier of Gardner. The two defendants are charged with participating in the armed robbery of Patridge Automotive on Littleton Road (Route 2A) on Sunday, Jan. 6.

Surveillance photo

Ayer Police seek the public's help in identifying this man, captured on surveillance video entering the Partridge Automotive (Smart Fuel) gas station on Sunday night.

By Mary E. Arata

AYER -- Two men have been charged in connection with the Sunday, Jan. 6, armed robbery of Partridge Automotive on Littleton Road (Route 2A) in Ayer. The two were arraigned Monday at Ayer District Court. Each was ordered held on $5,000 cash or $50,000 surety bail by Judge Peter Kilmartin.

Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Briggs said 20-year-old Joshua Voight-Poirier of Gardner allegedly entered the gas station while wearing a mask over his face and wielding a 6- to 8-inch knife. Briggs said Voight-Poirier ordered the clerk to shut off the lights at the gas station before robbing the clerk of money on his person as well as the contents of the cash drawer.

The store was due to close for the evening 10 minutes later. The event was captured on the store's surveillance camera.


Briggs said the mother of the alleged co-conspirator and driver of the getaway car, 21-year-old Richard St. Peter of Athol, told police that Voight-Poirier had recently been fired from the store and had threatened to return to rob the Ayer business.

Interviewed by Ayer police Detective Andrew Kularski at his parent's Gardner home, Voight-Poirier allegedly confessed he has a "bad drug problem," said Briggs. Voight-Poirier also allegedly admitted to robbing the store and taking $1,082 from the premises.

Voight-Poirier allegedly relinquished to the police the clothing he was wearing on the night of the robbery and the knife used. All fit the image of the man videotaped by the store's security cameras.

Voight-Poirier also allegedly turned over the remaining portion of the cash taken, stating that St. Peter collected $500 of the plunder for his services. Voight-Poirier also advised police that St. Peter wouldn't confess to the crime absent photographic evidence placing him at the scene of the crime.

Ayer Police arrested Voight-Poirier. Meanwhile, Massachusetts State Police troopers arrested St. Peter at his Athol home. St. Peter appeared first Monday morning in Gardner District Court before he was transported to Ayer for arraignment in the early afternoon aside Voight-Poirier.

While Voight-Poirier has "some record," Briggs advised the court that St. Peter has a "more extensive" history in the criminal justice system.

Lowell attorney Gabriela Tal Robin said Voight-Poirier was living with his parents and has a Fitchburg factory job. She suggested a "low cash" bail and suggested conditions for release such as a curfew, or requirement that he continue residing with his parents.

Ayer attorney Christopher Reardon, representing St. Peter, said there was no evidence linking his client to the crime. "This guy is the guy who went in," said Reardon, pointing at Voight-Poirier.

In issuing his bail order, Judge Kilmartin ordered both men to stay away from the clerk who was on duty during the night of the robbery, and to stay away from Partridge gas station. Nashoba Publishing does not identify the victims in robberies, though the clerk's name was used in making the stay-away order.

The two are to return to court on Feb. 14 for a probable-cause hearing.

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