Crime

Police hope to return burgled loot to rightful owners

Above: A Flickr slideshow of photos of items recovered from burglaries committed by Corey Hunt, a Schoharie man currently serving 3 to 9 years in prison for burglary. Photos by New York State Police Troop G.

State police in Princetown are looking for the rightful owners of a collection of loot from their evidence locker -- all traced back to a series of home burglaries committed in the summers of 2011 and 2012 by Corey Hunt, a 27-year-old Schoharie resident who is currently serving 3 to 9 years in state prison for burglary. 

The objects seized are a motley collection: jewelry, coins, a Winnie-the-Pooh piggy bank, a Yankees wall clock, a guitar, and more. 

Police say they do not know which objects came from which of Hunt's burglaries, which ranged across several counties. 

All of the items are available for inspection and claim at the State Police Barracks in Princetown. People wishing to claim items should call the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 518-630-1712 for an appointment.   Read more

For man charged with drunkenly mowing down Ulster Park teen, history repeats itself

When Paul DeGraff Jr. got behind the wheel of his GMC Sierra pickup truck last Thursday night, police say, he had a blood alcohol level of over 0.18 percent. 

That night, police say, DeGraff cut a trail of wreckage across Salem Street in Port Ewen that took the life of 18-year-old Derek Wood, who was walking along the shoulder of Salem Street when DeGraff's truck jumped a guardrail and ran him down.

DeGraff now faces vehicular manslaughter and DWI charges in Wood's death. Incredibly, it's not the first time DeGraff has faced prison time for manslaughter: In 1994, DeGraff was sentenced to six years for manslaughter in the shooting death of his girlfriend Debra Scism, a sentence he served two years of.  Read more

Man charged with DWI and manslaughter in death of Ulster Park teen

A Port Ewen man was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, after striking and killing an 18-year-old pedestrian on Salem Street in Port Ewen on Thursday evening. 

According to a statement from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, 44-year-old Paul L. DeGraff Jr. was driving a 2009 black GMC Sierra pickup truck eastbound on Salem Street in Port Ewen at 11:25pm, when his truck failed to negotiate a curve and struck a guardrail. The truck mounted the guardrail and continued driving along the eastbound shoulder, where it struck a pedestrian, 18-year-old Derek J. Wood of Ulster Park.

The truck then struck a tree and rolled over, trapping DeGraff inside. 

Wood was transported to Kingston Hospital, where he died of his injuries. First responders freed DeGraff from the truck and transported him to Kingston Hospital, then to Albany Medical Center, where he is being treated for a possible fractured neck. 

DeGraff's blood alcohol level was measured at over 0.18 percent.  Read more

Fingerprint leads to arrest in two-year-old Gilboa burglary

A Gilboa man was arrested recently and charged with committing two home burglaries in November of 2011, after police matched him to a fingerprint taken during the investigation. 

On Monday, March 18, New York State Police arrested 29-year-old Josh McMullen of Gilboa, who is charged with two counts of second-degree burglary for allegedly breaking into two homes on Maybie Road in Gilboa. Police say cash, food and a rifle scope were stolen in the break-ins.

According to a police press release on McMullen's arrest, the New York State Police forensic unit in Latham identified McMullen's fingerprint in early 2012, but did not track down McMullen's whereabouts until recently. The release states that McMullen has a history of burglary convictions, and has been living in several rehabilitation and halfway houses. 

McMullen was arraigned in the Town of Gilboa Court and remanded to the Schoharie County Jail in lieu of $7,500 cash or $15,000 bond. State police are working with the Schoharie County District Attorney’s Office.

Times Union digs up more detail on Cairo police chief's arrest

State police have released little information in the case of Cairo police chief Christopher Sprague, who was arrested last Wednesday on felony charges of evidence tampering. But a couple of enterprising reporters at the Albany Times-Union have turned to court records and anonymous insider sources to dig up some more detail on the case. 

According to a story published in the Times Union on Saturday, Sprague is accused of wiping fingerprints off a .380 caliber handgun connected to a criminal investigation, and instructing a man who possessed the gun illegally and turned it in to lie about it:  Read more

14-year-old charged with making bomb threat to Marbletown Elementary

A 14-year-old student at the Rondout Valley High School was arrested Thursday for allegedly making a threat to bomb the Marbletown Elementary School, in a case police say is unrelated to previous threats made to the school. 

On Thursday, the Rondout Valley Central School District evacuated the Marbletown Elementary School in response to a threat made at the high school. According to a statement from the New York State Police, an investigation conducted by state and Ulster County police found that the threat was not credible.

Times Herald-Record reporter Pauline Liu reports that the threat was made with tinfoil at a lunch table:

Investigator James Charlonis said several students were writing messages during lunch Thursday on a Rondout Valley High School cafeteria table using tin foil.

One of those messages was deemed to be a bomb threat, he said.  Read more

Cairo police chief charged with evidence tampering

The chief of police in the Greene County town of Cairo has been arrested on felony charges, in what state police say is a case of evidence tampering. 

A New York State Police statement has little specific information about the case, but states that 48-year-old Cairo police chief Christopher Sprague is charged with tampering with public records and tampering with physical evidence in the first degree, tampering with a witness in the fourth dgree, and falsely reporting an incident in the first degree. 

From the statement:

The charges are the result of Sprague's improper handling of evidence and falsely reporting information to the State Police.   Read more

Delaware County sheriff: We can't sweep local drug problems under the rug

Hiding in the bucolic Delaware County landscape: A burgeoning problem of drug dealing and addiction-fueled crime. Photo of tractor-crossing sign sporting a few bullet holes taken in Bloomville by photographer Mark Zilberman; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.

Upstate New York's rural drug problem is growing, officials say. And as local police crack down on drugs, the problem is also generating a growing pile of lurid local news headlines.   Read more

Murder in the mountains: The troubling case of Debra Sundstrom

A sign on the door at 1884 South River Road in Walton, the former home of Debra and Randy Sundstrom. Photo by David J. Krajicek.

WALTON, N.Y.--When Randy Sundstrom disappeared three years ago, his wife had an explanation that prompted hugs of sympathy, not arched eyebrows of suspicion.

“He ran off with another woman,” Debra Sundstrom said. “Believe me, you didn’t know the real Randy. Good riddance.”

She repeated the story to friends, neighbors, coworkers and, eventually, even to the mother of her own new love interest. Sometimes she added more gasp-inducing details—that the new girlfriend was pregnant, for example, or that Randy beat her.

But Randy Sundstrom had not run off. He was dead -- at Debra’s hand, the authorities say. And for more than 1,000 days, his remains were hidden in plain sight, moldering inside a barrel 25 paces from the back door of the old farmhouse they renovated outside of Walton.

The murder came to light on February 19 -- curiously, the three-year anniversary of the date that Randy Sundstrom was last seen alive.  Read more

Three charged in Margaretville-area cocaine bust

A three-month investigation into cocaine sales in Delaware County netted three arrests in the Town of Middletown on Wednesday, state police say.

According to a statement from the New York State Police, three people were arrested at a home at 104 Frog Alley Road at 7:45pm on Wednesday: 57-year-old Victor Perez and his wife, 47-year-old Kris Perez, both residents of the Frog Alley Road home, and 53-year-old John D. Gilchrist of 2 Olga Drive in Margaretville.

Troopers searched the house and seized 46 packets of cocaine packaged for sale, with a street value of about $2,300, as well as packing materials and a 12-gauge shotgun with ammunition. Gilchrist, who was in the driveway of the home, was found in possession of cocaine.

Both Victor and Kris Perez are charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony. They were arraigned in the Town of Middletown Court and remanded to the Delaware County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail.  Read more


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