Troopers on Patrol
On March 21, 2017, at 1:30 PM, Trooper Brandan M. Voss, SP Olean, responded to a residence in the town of Allegany, NY, for report of a male subject who had made threats to harm himself. Upon arrival, Trooper Voss discovered that the male had driven his truck into a field behind his residence and was in possession of a high powered rifle. Trooper Voss made the proper notifications and began surveillance of the subject from within the residence. Captain Eugene J. Staniszewski, Lieutenant R. Gregory Peron, Zone 4 – SP Amity, Sergeant/SC Jared R. Zeigler, SP Amity, Sergeant Nathanael J. Propert, Troopers Christian E. Kosmoski, Mark R. Jones, and David E. Kendzior, SP Olean, plus multiple Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Deputies and two Allegany Police Department Officers responded to assist. SORT Team West was in the area and quickly responded to assist. Troop A Negotiators- Senior Investigators Daniel T. Howard, SP Amity, and Guilo R. Giardini, SP Machias, and Investigators Brian T. Howard, SP Machias, and Cyle J. Pomeroy, SP Amity, also responded. Lieutenant Martin E. Mckee, BCI, and Troop A BDU Trooper Brian M. Pazderski with his truck and robot, along with .308 riflemen and K-9 responded to the scene.
Road blocks were set up at a safe distance on both sides of the scene and area residents were notified of the situation. SORT team members established several positions for security and surveillance and the Bearcat was brought to the scene. Telephonic contact with the subject was made and negotiations began. The subject was highly uncooperative and very agitated. He was suffering from a combination of PTSD and depression, and was highly intoxicated. He became even more upset when he saw the patrol vehicles and helicopter. Interviews of neighbors and family indicated that he was known for his quick temper and that he would target practice behind his house regularly.
Negotiations lasted several hours. As evening approached, the subject was advised that the Bearcat was going to be driven close to his position to provide lighting. The subject became more upset and began to drive between several locations in the field and woods, making surveillance more difficult. The negotiation team worked diligently to establish a connection with the subject and eventually obtained the assistance of his best friend.
They were able to convince him to drive the truck near the house and place the rifle outside of his truck. Suddenly, the male pulled the rifle back into the truck and drove toward the roadway. The Bearcat quickly blocked his path and he was forced back into the field. He again drove to multiple locations around the field and woods.
At approximately 8:30 PM, the negotiation team convinced the subject to park near the residence and place the rifle outside the truck. At 8:45 PM, after verbally attempting to have the subject cooperate and exit the vehicle, he was removed from the vehicle and placed into custody without incident. He was transported to Olean General Hospital by the local ambulance and was later admitted to the VA Hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
This case highlights the importance of handling a delicate situation with professionalism and patience. Good communication was established and maintained between multiple agencies and special units. All units and teams worked together to protect the community and safely contain and defuse a potentially deadly situation.
On February 28, 2017, Trooper Jesse S. Fadis, SP Liberty, investigated a reported burglary in the town of Liberty which occurred during daytime hours. The homeowner reported the theft of jewelry as well as a .22 caliber pistol. Trooper Fadis advised the SP Liberty BCI. Senior Investigator Jan B. Golding, Investigators Michael T. Kelly and Kurt J. Labuda responded to the scene. A recent rash of crimes with similar patterns started to develop as Zone One Troopers and other area police agencies found they were concurrently investigating residential daytime burglaries. Sr. Investigator Golding took the lead in coordinating a joint investigation. This developed into a multi-agency task force involving the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Fallsburg Police Department and the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office. Over the next couple of weeks, Zone One Troopers were instrumental in providing vehicle descriptions, leads, and assisting with the surveillance of suspects. Some of the items stolen were recovered from a local pawn shop and additional leads were developed.
On March 14, 2017, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Electronic Surveillance Unit provided additional assistance with the placement of GPS tracking devices on two vehicles driven by the suspect and his girlfriend. Utilizing this technology, more evidence was developed.
On March 20, 2017, utilizing live GPS tracking, a team comprised of almost 20 SP Liberty Uniform Troopers and BCI, Sullivan County Sheriff deputies and Fallsburg Police began active surveillance. The 29-year-old suspect from Woodbourne, NY, was caught in the act of breaking into a residence in the town of Fallsburg. He was taken into custody and transported back to SP Liberty. Interviews of the suspect and other associated persons, along with the execution of four search warrants, resulted in the recovery of a large amount of stolen property.
The 29-year-old suspect, a NYS Parolee, was subsequently charged with numerous counts of Burglary 2nd, Attempted Burglary 2nd and Possession of a Weapon 2nd, all felonies. A 31-year-old man from Woodbourne, NY, was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd, a felony. A third man, a 33-year-old from Montgomery, NY, was charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, both felonies. All three subjects were arraigned in the Town of Liberty Court and are being held in Sullivan County Jail on bail. The investigation is continuing with additional charges expected to be filed.
All Uniform and BCI members are to be commended for the time, effort, cooperation and coordination required in this investigation. They were able to develop suspects and perform surveillance to ultimately remove dangerous individuals from the community.
On November 7, 2016, Trooper Jon T. Malone, SP Brunswick, responded to a burglary complaint in the town of Pittstown. The homeowner had arrived at his residence to find that a subject had entered his house and stolen numerous items including three large TVs. Investigator Michael J. Painter, SP Brunswick BCI, and Trooper Diane A. Kritz-Garner, SP Sand Lake, responded to assist. Trooper Kritz-Garner processed the scene for latents and DNA, while Investigator Painter launched a months’ long investigation.
Investigator Painter, assisted by fellow Brunswick UF and BCI members, conducted numerous interviews of neighbors, pawn shops, and various other commercial establishments which may see contact with used property. During one interview, Investigator Painter was advised by a pawn shop dealer that he had received a phone call from a person wishing to sell a large TV. The pawn dealer remembered the conversation because the TV did not come with a stand which would make selling the item difficult. This description matched the stolen property. At the time, the pawn dealer advised the subject that he was not interested in buying the item. The only information that could be obtained on the identity of the caller was a phone number retrieved from a caller ID.
Investigator Painter used several resources in attempts to determine the owner of the phone number. The identity of the suspect was eventually determined based on a Field Interview Card submitted to NYSIC by Trooper Danielle L. Janczak, SP Brunswick, six months prior to the burglary. During a traffic stop for tinted windows, Trooper Janczak observed the odor of marihuana, and during a subsequent search of the vehicle she observed loose door panels and other compartments in which contraband could be hidden. Though she did not develop probable cause for arrest, Trooper Janczak reported the suspicious activity via the Field Interview Card. During the traffic stop, Trooper Janczak noted that the suspect was operating a vehicle registered to his girlfriend’s mother.
Investigator Painter responded to the mother’s residence in an attempt to locate the suspect. During an interview at the residence, Investigator Painter observed a large flat-screen TV in the residence. The owner of the residence admitted that the TV came from the suspect. A check of the serial number confirmed that the TV was proceeds of the burglary. Having obtained the suspect’s current residence, Investigator Painter then proceeded to that location. Unable to gain consent from the suspect, who was now actively avoiding Investigator Painter, SP Brunswick UF patrols secured the residence as he obtained a search warrant. During the search, two shotguns were located and seized from the residence of the convicted felon.
Attempts to locate the suspect during the following weeks became difficult as he would flee an area whenever patrols came within sight. On February 19, 2017, Brunswick UF patrols developed information on the suspect’s location from a traffic stop. Investigator Thomas J. Judge, Trooper James P. Diederich, and Trooper Janczak responded to a restaurant in the town of Colonie, NY. The suspect attempted to flee again and resisted arrest, but the members were able to secure him. The suspect was charged with Burglary 2nd, Criminal Possession of a Weapon 4th, Resisting Arrest, and remanded to the Rensselaer County Jail.
For the next few weeks, Investigator Painter reviewed jail phone recordings. The suspect made numerous admissions regarding the burglary. The suspect made the phone calls in violation of a full stayaway order of protection. On March 20, 2017, the suspect was arrested for four counts of Criminal Contempt 1st.
Exhaustive investigative steps and use of assets such as NYSIC brought this case to a successful closure.