Man Charged in Rochester Jewelry Store Robbery Was Area Soccer Coach
Kevin Papuga faces two counts of armed robbery in connection with the November incident at a downtown Rochester shop.
One of the two men facing armed robbery charges in connection with a jewelry store heist in downtown Rochester was coach of a high school girls' soccer team.
Kevin Andrew Papuga, 22, of White Lake, was also an assistant coach in a regional youth soccer organization.
Papuga and Johnny Matthew Hall, 32, of Troy, were charged in connection with the Nov. 2 robbery of Antiques and Fine Jewelry by Pamela, police in Rochester announced this week. They say three men wearing hats, hoodies and sunglasses restrained a store employee with duct tape while robbing the store at gunpoint.
A third unnamed man is "cooperating with police" in connection with the case; he faces charges in Macomb County on an unrelated narcotics charge, according to Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm.
Papuga was a former coach of the junior varsity team at Milford High School in the Huron Valley School District.
According to Huron Valley Communications & Community Relations Director Kim Root, Papuga has not been affiliated with the school in over a year.
Root said that Papuga, who was never an official employee, was coaching as contracted staff until a full-time school employee took over the team. “He was never a Huron Valley school employee and even though he worked as a coach and obviously represented the school district, that hasn’t been the case for some time now,” Root said.
Papuga is also listed on the roster of the coaching staff for Vardar Michigan, a regional youth soccer organization. A Vardar representative confirmed that Papuga was an assistant but said he was not on the organization's payroll and did not coach his own team.
Papuga turned himself in. He was arraigned March 4 in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills on two counts of armed robbery; he posted bond and was released.
Papuga's attorney, Stanley Dobry, did not want to comment on his client or the case, but said "we'll address it in court." Papuga is set to appear before District Court Judge Nancy Carniak for an exam on April 17.
Hall was arraigned Monday in the court on one count of armed robbery; his bond was set at $150,000 and he remains in the Oakland County Jail. He appears before Carniak on Monday for a preliminary exam.
Police were tipped off about the identity of the suspects in the robbery by employees of Chicken Shack in Rochester, located about three blocks from the jewelry store.
"The owner and a manager at Chicken Shack called (after receiving an email alert about the robbery) to provide information that three suspicious subjects had been in their business just prior to the crime," Schettenhelm said. "They were also able to provide information that led to the name of one of those individuals."