March 08, 2002 11:00 pm

A suspect in two recent armed robberies and a burglary was taken into custody Friday morning by La Grande Police.

Det. Phil Myer said that Gary J. Smith, 41, of La Grande was arrested in connection to an early morning robbery at the Gem Stop, 2708 Island Avenue.

He was also arrested for allegedly committing a robbery a day earlier at the By-Rite Exxon, 2112 Island Avenue.

Further investigation of Smith by the police also resulted Friday in an additional charge of first-degree robbery related to the armed robbery Dec. 28 at La Grandes Bank of America branch.

In that incident, a masked and believed armed man entered the bank and fled with several thousand dollars in cash.

Police, sheriffs deputies and FBI agents tried to use a video tape taken during the late afternoon bank robbery to identify the suspect, but

after weeks were without any leads.

Police were unavailable for further comment late Friday.