Crime

Murder-suicide plot by Phoenicia man foiled, say Saugerties police

A truly tabloid-worthy story in today's Daily Freeman: Saugerties police have arrested a Phoenicia man who allegedly plotted to shoot his ex-girlfriend and then himself.

John R. Howland of Church Street in Phoenicia, 63, was arrested after a Saugerties resident called police to report that Howland was on his property with a shotgun making threats. Howland then led police from several agencies on a dramatic car chase from Saugerties to Woodstock. The Freeman writes:  Read more

Schoharie County to post armed guards at Richmondville DMV

Photo of armed officer by Flickr user grendelkhan. Published under Creative Commons license.

Security will soon be beefed up at a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Schoharie County. Prompted by fears of mass shootings like the recent school killings in Newtown, and worries about the security of the DMV's temporary space, county supervisors voted at their regular board meeting last week to install a security camera and hire two new part-time deputies to guard the office.

Since the fall of 2011, when their Schoharie village office was damaged in the Irene floods, the Schoharie County DMV has been located in a temporary space in the Lancaster Development office in Richmondville. The Daily Gazette reports in a story about the decision that security has been an increasing problem at the Richmondville DMV for some time, but that the Newtown massacre made it a more pressing issue:  Read more

Local schools respond to Newtown shooting

In the wake of last Friday's horrifying shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, schools around the Catskills are increasing their security. 

The Daily Mail reported this week that students at both schools in Catskill in Greene County will now find an armed police officer at the door when they arrive in the morning. An officer will be present throughout the school day, and doors will be checked on an hourly basis to make sure they remain locked. The plan will remain in place for the immediate future.

Catskill Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Farrell, also present at Darling’s office, said it will continue at least until the end of the Christmas break, Wednesday, Jan. 2, when students return to school.  Read more

Schoharie man arrested for string of Schenectady County burglaries

A Schoharie resident is charged with committing three separate burglaries in Schenectady County, the most recent of which involved the theft of an ATM machine and the vandalization of a jukebox at a Quaker Inn in Duanesburg.

On Sunday night, state police arrested 28-year-old Scott A. Clapper during a routine traffic stop, when a trooper noticed 90 crisp, new $20 bills and several hundred $1 bills in Clapper's car.

A search performed later at Clapper's home discovered items that linked him to a burglary in Schenectady County and an attempted burglary at Jonathan’s Restaurant in Duanesburg.

Clapper is charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and one count of third-degree attempted burglary.

Clapper was arraigned in the Town of Princetown Court and remanded to the Schenectady County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Duanesburg Court on Wednesday, December 12 at 7pm.  Read more

Ulster County DA links Kingston teacher's drug arrest to death of Hurley man

The Daily Freeman has dug up a shocking new piece of information about the Sunday arrest of 42-year-old Matthew DiDonna, a social studies teacher at Kingston High School and Hurley resident, on felony drug charges: DiDonna was arrested after a neighbor's sudden death.

Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright told the Freeman that DiDonna was arrested after 38-year-old Mark Conlin, a father of three and a resident of DeWitt Mills Road in Hurley, ingested some hallucinogenic mushrooms and later died in his wife's arms:  Read more

Heroin bust in Downsville Country Store parking lot

The Delaware County Sheriff's Office reports that two men were arrested in Downsville on Friday, December 7, after they tried to sell 73 bags of heroin to an undercover police informant.

Arrested were 29-year-old Patrick Ladd and 30-year-old Walter Lewis II, both former Delaware County residents now living in Pennsylvania. Police say the drug deal and subsequent arrest took place in the parking lot of the Downsville Country Store.

Both men were arraigned at the Town of Colchester Court and remanded to the Delaware County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000.00 cash bail each.  Read more

Hurley man charged with selling drugs from his house

A Hurley man, 42-year-old Matthew DiDonna of Wayside Drive, was arrested on felony drug charges early Sunday morning after state police got a tip that DiDonna had sold drugs from his house the previous day.

A search warrant executed at DiDonna's house found psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana. DiDonna faces charges of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance, both felonies, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

DiDonna was arraigned at the Town of Hurley Court and remanded to the Ulster County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail or $100,000 secured bond. He is scheduled to re-appear in the Town of Hurley Court on Monday, December 10 at 6pm.  

Update, 12/10: On Sunday, Kingston High School released a statement that a teacher at the high school had been arrested on drug charges, and placed on leave while the case proceeds. The teacher was not named in the statement.  Read more

23 arrested in drug crackdown in Ellenville

An investigation into drug activity in and around Ellenville, which has been underway for thirteen months, has paid off in the form of 23 arrests by the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) and the Ellenville police.

Most of the arrests were made during pre-dawn raids today in the village of Ellenville and the town of Wawarsing, in which 21 people were swept up and arrested. Another two were already incarcerated, and now face additional charges.

The drug charges faced by the suspects involve a range of substances: heroin, crack and powder cocaine, pharmaceuticals and marijuana.

In a press conference held this morning, Ulster County authorities told reporters that two of those arrested were gang members with the Crips, and two had sold drugs within 1,000 feet of a school zone, according to accounts in the Daily Freeman and Times Herald-Record.  Read more

Drug deal gone bad in Palenville ends in a stabbing -- and three arrests

Three Ulster County residents were arrested after the stabbing of a Palenville man on Tuesday, an assault police say occurred after an argument over a drug sale.

Around 11:30pm on Tuesday night, according to a New York State Police press release, a 23-year-old Palenville man was involved in an altercation over a drug sale with three people: 31-year-old Jason A. King of Modena, 19-year-old Alyssa Berinato of West Camp, and 19-year-old James Guiditta of Saugerties.

During the fight, police say, King, Berinato and Guiditta forcibly stole drugs from the man, and King stabbed him several times.

The Palenville man, who police did not name, was transported by friends to Kingston Hospital and does not have life-threatening injuries.

King faces charges of first-degree robbery, a class B felony; second-degree robbery, a class C felony; second-degree assault, a class D felony; and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned before Town of Catskill Justice William Wootton, and remanded to the Greene County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.  Read more

Hunter who shot himself in the foot could face charges

Staten Island hunter James Sperring shot himself in the foot while hunting with his brother in the Sullivan County town of Lumberland on Tuesday -- and his problems don't end there, the Times Herald-Record reports.

James Sperring, 53, was using a rope to pull a loaded gun up to a tree stand off of White Road around 6:45 a.m., said Lt. Deming Lindsley of the DEC police. The gun discharged when Sperring reached to grab it, with the bullet striking his right foot, Lindsley said...

...Both the DEC and state police are investigating the shooting for possible violations of state environmental and penal laws.

Penal laws? Maybe there's more to this story...


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