Robbery suspect called News10NBC with threat

Berkeley Brean
Created: September 18, 2019 09:28 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Less than 24 hours before an armed robbery in Ontario County, police say Brandon Burgess called the News10NBC newsroom and anonymously threatened that he was going to do something.

That’s when News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean and our staff alerted police.


Within 15 minutes of the call, the newsroom emailed the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office about it.

On Wednesday, we confirmed that it was Burgess who called us.

Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts: “I actually received an email from you with concerns that your news room had received a call that there was going to be a big incident in Lyons (Wayne County). The call to your newsroom actually came from Burgess’s cell phone.”

The call from Burgess came early Monday afternoon, where it was answered by one of our producers. 

Producer: “He said [that] ‘at eight o’clock tomorrow your team will be interested in seeing something that’s going on in Lyons, New York.’ I said ‘OK, great, what’s going on with Lyons New York?’ He said ‘I can’t tell you much, but what I can tell you is that bad things are going to happen.’ I turned to Berkeley and I said, ‘Hey, I don’t think this is one of our typical calls. I think we should do something.’”

Early Tuesday morning, police say Burgess robbed the 7-Eleven in Phelps with a gun and before long schools in Lyons and two other Wayne County districts were in lockout.

Brean: “So one of the reasons why the schools went into lockout and maybe Lyons closed today was because of the threat that he shared with us?”

Sheriff Barry Virts, Wayne County: “Well I think it was part of the threat to your News10 newsroom, [but] also the robbery. He had what appeared to be an M4 assault rifle.”

At a news conference Wednesday morning, Sheriff Virts said they don’t believe a student or staff was a target, but every threat is taken seriously.

Brean: “And that’s why we contacted you, because it was such an unusual call. It seemed threatening. And we thought you should at least know about it.”

Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts: “Absolutely appreciate it. You did absolutely the right thing to email me.”

Brean says he hears it from police all the time: If you hear or see something that isn’t right, call them.

Let police decide if it’s something serious.

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