In a December 2019 letter to NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, six non-governmental organizations from the Adirondacks and Catskills announced their firm opposition to any future merger of the DEC Forest Rangers with the DEC Environmental Conservation Officers.
“Each time the issue has arisen, a diverse coalition has made the case why such a move would trigger a firestorm of protest and prove a disaster for the State’s public lands and the outdoor recreating public,” the letter states. “We continue to feel this way – and felt it was timely to write to you as we have to prior commissioners.” Signing the letter (See Letter to Basil Seggos) were the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, Catskill Center, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Protect the Adirondacks! » Continue Reading.
The New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Ray Brook is investigating a fatal skiing accident that occurred on Whiteface Mountain on Monday, December 23, 2019.
According to police, Nicholas Koch, age 21, from Danville, Pennsylvania, was visiting at Whiteface with family. On December 23, 2019, at approximately 12:30 pm, Koch was descending Lower Northway Trail on skis when he exited the trail and struck a group of trees. » Continue Reading.
NYS Police say that at approximately 8:48 pm on Tuesday, December 10th, they were dispatched from the Mayfield barracks to a single-family residence on Old Piseco Road in Arietta for a person experiencing mental health issues.
Trooper Ryan Mousaw, who responded, reported that he began interviewing the resident, 55-year-old Daniel E. Condon, who was exhibiting signs of instability. Trooper Mousaw said that when he tried to transport him to the hospital for evaluation, Condon began to struggle with him. » Continue Reading.
New York State Police have announced that on November 8, 2019, State Police responded to a report of a larceny and criminal mischief at a hunting tree stand located in Handsome Pond Hunting Club, off of State Route 30 in Long Lake, in Hamilton County.
Police say their investigation revealed that on October 12, 2019, an unknown white male tampered with a tree stand and stole two memory cards from trail cameras. » Continue Reading.
State Police in Ray Brook say they are continuing to investigate the 1984 homicide of 20-year-old Dawn Andrea (Prentiss) Svocak, also known as “Magic.”
Dawn Svocak was reported missing to the Plattsburgh Police Department on August 17, 1984, when she failed to return to her apartment at 71 Clinton Street, apartment #10, in the city of Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.
State Police reported that on Tuesday, October 8th, at approximately 2:04 pm, a State Trooper conducted a traffic stop on a 2008 Honda Accord for traveling 90 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 87, northbound near exit 34.
Upon the trooper approaching the vehicle, the operator fled from the scene. State Police attempted to pursue the vehicle as it exited the interstate, speeding through the towns of Peru and AuSable. The trooper reported the vehicle came to a stop in the roadway on State Route 9 in the town of AuSable, and the operator fled on foot into the woods. » Continue Reading.
A new UH-1-A “Huey” helicopter, based in Saranac Lake, was put into action Tuesday, April 23, to help DEC Forest Rangers rescue a group of teens unprepared for conditions near the summit of Mount Colden.
Four 17-year-olds from the Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs area, one with a leg injury, were stranded near the summit of Mount Colden. They were wearing sneakers, without snowshoes, and stuck in deep soft snow, according to reports by State Police and Forest Rangers, who were dispatched to the rescue.
A hiker from New York City died after falling 80 to 100 feet from the top of Roaring Brook Falls in St. Huberts on Saturday afternoon.
State Police identified the victim as Joann N. Restko, 37, of Staten Island. Troopers said Restko, who was hiking with a friend, slipped while taking photos.
State forest rangers got an emergency call about 12:40 p.m. They found Restko lying face down in a pool of water, already dead. An autopsy concluded she died from multiple injuries suffered in the fall. » Continue Reading.
Recent news stories about 420 events (groups openly indulging in the use of marijuana) used the terms protest, counterculture, and anti-establishment, calling to mind two things for me: life as a teenager in the 1960s, and the 40-year-old so-called “War on Drugs.” Just as invasive searches of elderly and very young airline passengers is a massive waste of money and resources today, the war on drugs has squandered untold billions of dollars battling the use of marijuana, a drug far less costly to the nation than alcohol. (And no, I’m not anti-booze.) Hard drugs deserve the attention of the law (their use leads to so many other crimes), and as a former employee of a major pharmaceutical firm, I’d suggest that many common, legal drugs should be used sparingly at best. But I digress. » Continue Reading.
Lawrence P. Gooley has published another outstanding chronicle of Adirondack history, Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow. The book chronicles the story of Garrow, an abused Dannemora child, turned thief, serial rapist and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders, although police believed there were many more. Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow sued the State of New York for $10 million for negligence in his medical care. In exchange for dropping the suit, Garrow was moved to a medium security prison. He was shot and killed during a prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. » Continue Reading.
December 5th marks the anniversary of the end of Prohibition in 1933. To remember that time when the social life of so many Americans was made criminal overnight, I thought I would offer this little nugget from the July 2, 1931 Ticonderoga Sentinel.
One wonders if the men arrested here ever served any hard time. I suspect they did. » Continue Reading.
A strange thing happened after a windstorm a couple of weeks ago. I saw a New York State Police car show up at my neighbor’s camp. The trooper got out, and carried into the nearby woods the fairly large top of a tree that had fallen in front of the building. It took him four or five trips to get all the branches into the woods. When he was done, he climbed back into his car and drove away.
So what was the State Trooper doing clearing my neighbor’s yard of blowdown? Turns out, my neighbor is one of many part-time residents in the region who get New York State Police protection for seasonal camps as a part of the State Police’s Posted Property Program. A program, that “has been around longer than anyone currently with our agency can remember,” according to a State Police spokesperson. Homes so designated are posted with the sign you see here. “As a service to the public, we post and inspect summer homes, summer camps and similar buildings that are unoccupied from October 1 to May 1,” I was told in an e-mail, “this merely entails occasional checks of the property when a trooper is on patrol in the area of the property.”
The next time I saw a trooper make a stop at the cabin across the way (he was checking the door handle), I asked why he cleared that downed treetop. He told me he had cleared the debris because he didn’t want the house to appear unoccupied. He also told me that he stops every time he patrols the area – I’ve seen him show up every few days, and no doubt have missed a few of his visits.
According to the State Police spokesperson, the agency does not post buildings located in villages that have an organized police departments, buildings that are not secure, or summer motels, hotels or other commercial property. Presumably they are required to protect their own property by using a local security firm.
I suspect the State Police keep the program pretty hush-hush. After all, it wouldn’t take too many folks taking advantage of their free home security program to keep police too busy for speed traps or safety belt road blocks.
According to the State Police, property owners who want their tax supported local security services between October and May should send a letter to their local Troop Commander and include the following information:
—the exact location of the property
—the owner’s name, winter address and a phone number where they can be contacted in an emergency, and
—if there is a caretaker, their name, address and phone number(s)
Oh . . . and don’t forget to call the security folks in town and let them know you’ve found someone better—someone who actually keeps the yard clear, and carries a gun.
The New York State Police are continuing their investigation into the armed bank robbery at the Community Bank in Tupper Lake on April 10th. They have released the following identifying information on $50.00 bills that were stolen during the robbery: Serial Number / Federal Reserve Bank District # / Series
The State Police are requesting folks compare $50.00 bills in their possession with the ones reported stolen during the robbery. If anyone has information about this currency, they should contact the New York State Police at 518-897-2000.
The robber of a Tupper Lake bank (in a presumably fake beard and mustache, left) is still at large, six days after the heist. This is unusual in the Adirondacks. The general wisdom is that nobody has pulled off a bank robbery inside the Blue Line, at least in recent memory. Hold up a bank? Sure, quite a few have done that. But get away? That’s the trick.
There are only so many forest-lined roads in and out of any Adirondack town, and if the police are quick with roadblocks, the theory goes, it’s simple enough to sweat out the thief. In the 1970s, cops caught the robbers of a Willsboro bank waiting for the Essex ferry to Vermont. Others, such as a husband and wife in St. Regis Falls, were picked up locally within hours, and a guy who took off on foot from Adirondack Bank in Lake Placid was met by police on the Saranac Lake end of the Jackrabbit Trail.
Jack Lawliss, retired commander of State Police Troop B, began his career as a Trooper in Tupper Lake in 1955. He worked on several bank cases inside the Blue Line, all solved. The Willsboro case stood out in his memory because the same bank was the victim of an unrelated robbery a week earlier, and those thieves were apprehended in Reber, five miles away. The institution had operated without incident for a century before then.
After Lawliss retired, a 1992 robbery of a Key Bank in Au Sable Forks ended in the arrest of Robert Jones, who had also held up a bank in Plattsburgh with his wife as getaway driver and their two kids in the back seat. To reduce his wife’s sentence, Jones later confessed to the kidnapping and murder of Kari Lynn Nixon, a 16-year-old Au Sable Forks girl who had been missing for seven years.
Admittedly, an exhaustive search of Adirondack police blotters and newspaper archives dating back to the creation of the park in 1892 is a daunting project that we have not undertaken, so if you know of any successful in-park bank robberies please tell us.
Meanwhile, bank hits seem to be a nationwide trend, and there have been three unsolved hold-ups recently in Canton, north of the Blue Line.
The manhunt continues around Tupper Lake. Roadblocks, dogs and a helicopter Friday afternoon failed to net the gunman, who is reported to have fled on foot in the direction of Saranac Lake. “Solitary robbers usually target a bank that is close to their place of residence, making a car unnecessary,” wrote George Bryjak, retired professor of sociology at the University of San Diego, in a scholarly look at bank robber demographics in Wednesday’s Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Police agencies have not said how much money was taken. Following is the State Police’s complete press release:
On April 10, 2009, at 12:15 p.m., the New York State Police responded to an armed bank robbery at the Community Bank, located on Hosley Avenue in the town of Tupper Lake. The preliminary investigation has established that a suspect entered the bank and displayed a handgun. The suspect fled the bank with an undetermined amount of cash.
Suspect is described as a white male, tall with a thin build, last seen wearing a tan hooded jacket and blue jeans. Subject may have tried to disguise himself with a moustache and or goatee and wearing sunglasses.
State Police Aviation, Canine, Uniform and BCI personnel, Tupper Lake Police Department, Saranac Lake Police Department and New York State Forest Rangers remain on scene and are continuing interviews of witnesses and searching the area for evidence.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the New York State Police, Troop “B” Headquarters, Ray Brook at 518-897-2000.
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