Deputies investigating possibility that Potsdam home invasion could be a hoax; arrest could be imminent
Monday, September 17, 2018 - 11:46 am

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM – A lead detective confirmed Monday morning sheriff’s deputies are investigating whether a Sept. 11 report of a home invasion in which a woman claimed she was tied up and gagged could be a hoax.

Mary Widmann said two men brandishing handguns walked into her house “wearing masks and gloves with guns out,” demanding marijuana.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Det. Sgt. Tom Caringi confirmed he had heard rumors that the report could be fraudulent and he said an arrest could could come as soon as today or tomorrow.

But he would not say if the possible arrest would be connected to the alleged home invasion and assault or his investigation of the case as a hoax.

On Friday, Caringi said he was still looking for two men who invaded a Potsdam residence, tied a woman to a kitchen chair and terrorized her and her daughters at gunpoint.

A $1,000 reward for useable information has been offered by a member of the family that reported the home invasion and assault the evening of Sept. 11 in a cabin off of State Rt. 56 south of the village.

On Friday Det. Sgt. Caringi said that so far no suspects had been identified and there were no solid leads, but that the case was “active and open. We’re checking with neighbors and surveillance video” from the vicinity that might have caught something they can work with.

Mary Widmann said she was home when two men brandishing handguns walked in somewhere around 7 p.m. that Tuesday evening.

“They just walked in wearing masks and gloves with guns out,” demanding marijuana, she said.

“They were looking for weed. They said they wanted to know where the weed was or they were going to kill me and my daughter. They were pretty mad.” She said they tied her to a kitchen chair, bound her hands and feet.

But if they were looking for marijuana they were looking in the wrong place, according to Mary, her father Gerald Widmann and his brother Charles, who is putting up the reward.

“They don’t use. I don’t use,” he said.

Charles, a chauffeur in the St. Louis area, said he was “angry. They came in with guns. My niece has two children. They held a gun on my niece and her two daughters. I want these a**holes found,” he said.

About Charles Widmann’s offer of a $1,000 reward for information, Det. Sgt. Caringi said, “if he’s willing to, great, if it can help.”

Caringi will take any serious information about the case at 315-379-2222, and Charles Widmann said he will talk to people with potentially useful information at 336-520-4623.