Police investigate assault and apparent suicide in Hancock

An argument in the Delaware County hamlet of Fishs Eddy in the early hours of Saturday morning took a deadly turn, when a man apparently injured a woman and then took his own life. 

State police responded to a report of an assault at 479 County Route 28 in Fishs Eddy, in the town of Hancock, around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. Arriving on the scene, troopers found a woman with injuries to her face, who said she had been in an altercation with 52-year-old Ronald Milke Jr., and had escaped the house after being injured.

Police were unable to contact Milke inside the house. Around 8:45 a.m., troopers entered the house to find Milke dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

The house at 479 County Route 28 is on a small lot in a residential neighborhood. Milke is listed as the owner of the property in the Delaware County property database.

The woman, who was not identified by police, was taken to Wilson Hospital. An investigation is ongoing.

Three arrested in Bloomville heroin bust

Left to right: Alamin McMillon, Nakota Lame and Tammy Fairbairn. Photos from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

A local mother and daughter and a Syracuse man were arrested in the tiny Delaware County hamlet of Bloomville last Thursday, after 130 bags of heroin were found in a search of a Bloomville home.

Arrested on Thursday, Nov. 14 were 46-year-old Tammy Fairbairn and 20-year-old Nakota Lame of Bloomville, and 26-year-old Alamin McMillon of Syracuse. Police had obtained a search warrant for Fairbairn's home after an investigation by the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. 

The search was carried out by Delaware County law enforcement, including the county's new K-9, "Ozzie," with help from a Chenango County K-9 unit and New York State Police narcotics investigators. Along with the 130 bags of heroin, police seized about $1,100 in cash and public assistance benefits cards.  Read more

Convenience stores in Davenport and Stamford robbed at knifepoint

Above: The Stamford Country Store on 2 Harper Street, which was robbed on Saturday by a masked man wielding a kitchen knife. Source: Google Street View. 

As if Halloween in the Catskills weren't scary enough: In the last few days, two Delaware County convenience stores were robbed at knifepoint.

The two robberies -- both committed by a man wielding a large kitchen knife, and wearing a blue knit balaclava that covered his face -- were similar enough that police believe they were committed by the same person. 

According to a news release from state police at Oneonta, the Stamford Country Store was robbed around 10pm on Saturday, October 26. The suspect brandished a large kitchen knife, demanded cash from the register, then fled on foot. Police say he was wearing a green or black jacket, work pants with zippers on the bottom, gray gloves and a blue knit hat with eye and mouth holes cut into it.   Read more

Police seek help investigating Grand Gorge fires

Above: Investigators comb through the rubble at Becker's Tire Service, a longtime Grand Gorge business destroyed by fire on Friday, September 27. Photo by Lissa Harris.

In the last month, two beloved businesses in Grand Gorge were destroyed by fire: first Becker's Tire Service on Route 30, on Friday, September 27, then Sundae's on Route 23 on Monday, October 14, just a few weeks later.

At first, neither fire was considered suspicious. But after reviewing the evidence, Delaware County police believe that the fires may have been intentionally set.

Undersheriff Craig DuMond told the Watershed Post that neither fire has been officially found to be caused by arson, but that police are investigating the possibility.

"At this point, the only thing our investigators want to say is that the fires have been deemed suspicious," DuMond said.  Read more

Walton woman jailed for swearing

In today's Walton Reporter is a must-read story about the case of Jeanie Groat, a Walton resident who is serving a two-week jail sentence for disorderly conduct, after cursing at an official at a horse show in 2010.

According to the Reporter, the charge stemmed from an F-bomb-laden argument between Groat and Jeannette Moser-Orr, then an official with Delaware County 4-H, after Groat's daughter was disqualified from the event she was competing in. Moser-Orr filed a complaint, and Groat was arrested.  Read more

Two Olive men arrested for arson and burglary

A fire at an Olivebridge home led to the arrests of two local men on Monday. Police say the two stole guns, motorcycles and other items, then set the home and its garage on fire to cover up the crime. 

On Monday, state police responded to a home at 622 Acorn Hill Road in Olivebridge, and found it fully engulfed in flames. The home was unoccupied at the time, and no one was injured in the fire.

According to a statement from the New York State Police at Kingston, a police investigation found that two men had broken into the home and its detached garage, stolen property, and set the fire. Arrested were 20-year-old Justin L. Elmendorf and 18-year-old Michael S. Sanicola, both of Olivebridge. The two face charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and third-degree arson. The stolen items included a 9mm handgun, three long guns, two motorcycles, chainsaws, and other items, all of which were recovered by police.  Read more

Three arrested in Delaware County for 2012 armed robbery

Photos courtesy of the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

After a year-long investigation, Delaware County police have made three arrests in the case of a 2012 armed home invasion and robbery in the town of Tompkins. 

Arrested on Tuesday, on sealed grand jury indictment warrants, were three Delaware County residents: 27-year-old Andrew Dougherty of Delhi, 27-year-old Amanda Gahan of Walton, and 32-year-old Leon Grizzard of South Kortright, according to a statement from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office. The three are accused of breaking into a Tompkins home in June of 2012, and robbing the residents at gunpoint of cash and drugs. All three face charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, petit larceny and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The first-degree burglary and robbery charges are both class B violent felony offenses. If convicted, the three could face up to 25 years in prison.   Read more

K-9 Osman "Ozzie" Steele makes his first arrest

Above: Deputy John Demeo and K-9 Osman "Ozzie" Steele, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office's newest drug law enforcement team. Ozzie is the namesake of a famous Catskills officer of the law: Undersheriff Osman Steele, who was the only casualty of the Anti-Rent War in Andes, shot by protesting tenant farmers on August 7, 1845. Photo courtesy of the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Just one day out of the academy, Delaware County's newest "officer" was already making arrests.

Osman "Ozzie" Steele, a young German shepherd who recently joined the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, graduated from K-9 Narcotics Detection School on Friday, September 6, along with his human crimefighting partner John Demeo. Just over 24 hours later, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ozzie and Demeo made their first arrest: A drug bust in the village of Walton.   Read more

16 arrested in Ulster County drug raids

A three-month investigation into illegal drug activity in Ulster County came to a head in the pre-dawn hours on Thursday morning, when police raided homes and arrested 16 people in Ulster, Dutchess and Orange counties on multiple drug sale and possession charges. 

The investigation carried out by the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT), a collaboration between local, state and federal law enforcement. During the investigation, undercover URGENT officers bought about 20 grams of cocaine, 1000 decks of heroin, and black-market prescription drugs from those arrested. 

Of the 16 people arrested, police say, 13 were indicted by an Ulster County grand jury, and sealed indictment warrants were issued for their arrest. The remaining three were arrested on warrants.

Arrested during the raids on Thursday:

-Iqwan Mandiville, age 21, of 78 Clinton St., Napanoch
Charges: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance (3 counts), third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (3 counts) 
Bail: None  Read more

The longest day: Inside the Bovina standoff

Above: Justin Geraghty and his son in 2013. Photo courtesy of Liahna Cole. 

Around lunchtime last Sunday, Peter Mullin and Victoria Charkut were in their Catskills backyard in the town of Bovina, enjoying the warm August sunshine. Showtunes played on the radio and laundry hung on the fence as Charkut knitted on the back porch. Mullin was working on their new deck. 

Suddenly, there was a man in their yard, twenty feet away, aiming a shotgun at them. Get in the house, he told them. He threatened to kill them if they didn't. 

Terror ripped through the couple. Mullin, the gun trained on him, began to walk up the steps, but Charkut, frozen with fear, was rooted to the porch. She asked the gunman not to hurt them. He aimed the gun at her and told her, again, to go inside.

It looked to Mullin and Charkut like the man had been running. He was sweaty and covered with dirt, and smelled like alcohol. But the hands aiming the gun at them were steady.

Above: A stretch of County Route 5 the day after the standoff. Mullin and Charkut's house is in the stand of trees on the left. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

For Mullin and Charkut, that was the moment that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. For 32-year-old Justin Geraghty, the gunman, it was a moment of no turning back.

Twelve hours later, after a standoff with police that had the entire town of Bovina sheltering in fear, Geraghty was dead in Mullin and Charkut's house, his body found in a wooden sauna located in a second-floor bathroom. He had killed himself.

  Read more

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