Crime

Walton man arrested on drug and weapon charges after car accident

A 47-year-old Walton man was arrested on Tuesday morning at the scene of a one-car accident on County Route 14 in Franklin, when Delaware County sheriff's deputies found drugs and weapons in the car he was driving.

Rafael Macken was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs (a misdemeanor), one count each of second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon (class C and D felonies), fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (a class D felony), two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon (misdemeanors), unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to keep right.

According to a news release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, an investigation of Macken's car after the accident turned up a loaded .22 caliber handgun, a silencer, switchblade and metal knuckle knives, a number of unspecified controlled substances and marijuana.

Macken was arraigned in the Town of Franklin Court and remanded to the Delaware County Correctional Facility in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $25,000 bond.

Truck strikes and kills Deposit woman; driver faces manslaughter charge

On Saturday evening, March 2, a truck towing an empty snowmobile trailer on State Route 8 in Deposit struck and killed a woman. The truck's driver is charged with vehicular manslaughter, according to a news release from the New York State Police.

The victim, 79-year-old Barbara Seymour, was walking on Route 8 near her house around 6:55pm when the truck hit her. Seymour was rushed by ambulance to Wilson Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The driver of the truck, 56-year-old James Gruscavage of Deposit, was charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree. He was arraigned in the Town of Deposit Court and remanded to the Delaware County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

The New York State Police is still investigating the incident.

Police foil burglary in Gilboa

State police say they caught two burglars red-handed in the process of stealing copper piping, electronics and tools from a house on Potter Mountain Road in Gilboa early Friday morning. 

According to a news release from the New York State Police, troopers Jason Seaman and Mark DeMichele discovered a burglary in progress at the house, at 1:55am Friday. As they approached the house, two people attempted to drive away in a 1999 Mercury. The troopers stopped the car and found copper piping in the trunk, and a sign on the door of the car advertising "Free Salvage Removal." 

Arrested were 41-year-old William Person of Northville and 52-year-old Wendy Ryan of Middleburgh, the owner of the car.

Police say Person and Ryan stole a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, and a tool box from the house, and entered a crawlspace to remove the copper piping, destroying the home's heating system.

Person was arraigned in the Town of Cobleskill court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. Ryan was released on her own recognizance.  Read more

Armed men break into home in Esopus

The Ulster County Sheriff's Office is looking for two men who broke into an Esopus home on Wednesday evening, pistol-whipped an occupant of the house, robbed the house, and fled on foot.

The home invasion occurred around 7:30pm at Lampman Avenue in Port Ewen. In a news release, sheriff's deputies describe the suspects as "two black males, one about 5’10” and skinny, the other about 5’04” and skinny, both wearing ski masks."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ulster County Sheriff's Office at 845-340-3958, e-mail the case agent at clut@co.ulster.ny.us or send a message to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. Police say all information received will be kept confidential.

New York State toughens law on hydrocodone prescription

Photo by Flickr user Jeff Adams; published under Creative Commons license.

A new state law intended to combat illegal recreational use of hydrocodone, a highly addictive opiate that is the main ingredient in Vicodin and other prescription painkillers, went into effect this week.

The law reclassifies hydrocodone from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug, tightening restrictions on prescribing the drug and banning automatic refills. It also establishes a new statewide online database for doctors and pharmacists to report and track controlled narcotics, dubbed the Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing, or I-STOP.

Other opiates with high addictive potential, like oxycodone, have been on the Schedule II list for some time. Many public health advocates have argued that hydrocodone deserves to be regulated more strictly, citing the drug's widespread abuse, addictive nature and the frequency of hydrocodone-related deaths.   Read more

Rumors of more bodies in Walton case untrue, cops say

Above: Lieutenant Erik Dauber of the New York State Police briefs local news reporters on an unfolding homicide investigation at Troop C's Sidney headquarters on Tuesday. Source: New York State Police's Facebook page.

Number of bodies found so far in a gruesome Walton case of suicide, homicide, arson and deceit: Three. (Four, if you count the dog.)

Persistent rumors have been swirling in the small community, and on social media, that other bodies were discovered in the course of the investigation. On Wednesday, Lieutenant Erik Dauber of the New York State Police, who is involved in the Walton investigation, emphatically denied the rumors.

"I have heard that rumor a bunch of times, and it's just not true." Dauber said. "Those three are the only bodies we have in this case. Let's hope it stays that way."

Here's what is known about the case so far:  Read more

Cat hoarder faces cruelty charges -- but her 99 live cats are on the mend

A few of the 99 cats seized in January from the home of a cat hoarder in Wright settle into their new surroundings at the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley. Photos from the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley's Facebook page; used with permission.

A month after 99 cats and a dog were seized from her filthy home on Route 146 in Wright, 50-year-old Irene VanDyke was arrested Monday and charged with animal cruelty, according to several news accounts.

VanDyke is slated to appear in Town of Wright Court on March 11 to answer to charges of animal cruelty and failure to provide sustenance, the Daily Gazette reports.  Read more

Yulan residents arrested for burglary

Two residents of Yulan were arrested on Thursday for burglarizing a home in the town of Tusten earlier this month, according to a New York State Police press release.

Michael Darch, 27, and Gabrielle Paolini, 25, are accused of breaking into a home located on County Route 22 and stealing copper piping and other items on February 5.

After an investigation by State Police and the constables of the towns of Lumberland and Highland, Darch and Paolini were charged with burglary, criminal mischief and petit larceny, the press release said.

The two were arraigned in the town of Tusten Court and sent to Sullivan County Jail.

New details emerge on Walton deaths: Randy Sundstrom's body was found in a barrel

More disturbing details are emerging from the police investigation into an apparent murder-suicide and arson that occurred last week in a Walton home.

On February 19, two people were found dead at a house at 294 John Lockwood Road, which was set on fire shortly before gunshots were heard from within. The two were identified as 48-year-old Debra Sundstrom of 1884 South River Road, whose death was ruled a suicide by gunshot to the head, and 51-year-old Dominick Bosco, who lived in the house. Bosco's death was ruled a homicide.

The body of Debra's husband, Randy Sundstrom, was later found by police at the Sundstroms' home at 1884 South River Road.

On Tuesday, New York State Police troopers revealed a grim detail in the unfolding case: Randy Sundstrom's body was found stuffed into a barrel behind the Sundstrom house.

Randy Sundstrom had been dead since roughly February of 2010, police said. His death has been ruled a homicide.  Read more

Body of suicide victim's long-dead husband found during investigation of Walton fire

A long-dead body has been found during the investigation of an arson-suicide at 294 John Lockwood Road in Walton, where 48-year-old Debra Sundstrom committed suicide by gunshot on February 19.

On the afternoon of February 19, two local police officers -- who were outside the house at the time conducting a criminal investigation -- heard gunshots, then entered the house to find it ablaze. Two bodies were recovered from the house after the fire, which was later found to have been set intentionally.

While investigating the incident, state police have found and identified a third body at 1884 South River Road in Walton: Debra Sundstrom's husband, Randy Sundstrom. Police say Randy Sundstrom was the victim of a homicide sometime around February of 2010.

Lieutenant Jeffrey VanAuken of the New York State Police told the Watershed Post that Randy Sundstrom was never reported missing.  Read more

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