New York Cuffs & Collars – June 28th, 2013

Finback whale
(Suffolk County)

On Jan. 13, a 58-foot long finback whale that was estimated to weigh over 30 tons was discovered washed ashore in the hamlet of Amagansett in East Hampton. The reduction of the whale to manageable pieces and subsequent transport to the East Hampton Town transfer station took all day on Jan. 14. ECO Liza Bobseine and Lt. Frank Carbone worked with East Hampton marine patrol officers on crowd control so the public could safely observe the event. Montauk’s entire sixth grade class was bused to the site so students could get a first-hand look. The creature was estimated to have been dead for one to two weeks and the cause of death of the mature female whale was not immediately determined by the Riverhead Marine Foundation staff, who orchestrated the dissection.

Ice fishing derby
(Washington County

Ice anglers of all ages enjoyed a day outdoors learning something new when ECO Stephen Gonyeau organized an ice fishing derby for children and adults who had never fished on ice before. The event was held on Lily Pond near Hartford. Region 5 ECOs helped bait hooks for the 40 anglers who came out, checked their lines and kept everyone safe, too. In addition, the New York State Conservation Officers Association contributed bait for the derby and hot dogs for participants.

Evening run
(Suffolk County)

On Jan. 12 just after dusk, ECO Dustin Oliver received a complaint of two people hunting deer with crossbows in Connetquot State Park. The ECO quickly responded and met with the complainant, who said he was in the park hunting for shed deer antlers when he saw two men armed with crossbows stalking deer. He said the hunters eventually noticed him and ran toward the exit of the park. Following a hunch, the complainant conducted a quick search of the area and found where the men had stashed their equipment under a brush pile. He was able to lead the ECO directly to the two crossbows, camouflage coat and backpack. Oliver gathered the equipment and returned to his vehicle, where he met ECO Josh Wolgast. Together, the officers waited under the cover of darkness to see if the men would return for their property. A short time later they observed a brief shine of light through the woods. Moving closer, the ECOs could see the two individuals had returned looking for their crossbows, using flashlights only long enough to get their bearings then continuing to search in the dark. Maintaining the element of surprise, the ECOs were able to sneak within 70 yards before revealing themselves but, in the split second their flashlights came on, the two poachers took off running to escape. The officers gave chase and within moments had caught up and placed one individual in handcuffs. The second individual, unfortunately, used this window of opportunity to escape into the darkness. After a brief interview, the suspect was arrested and taken to the state police barracks in Farmingdale to be processed. He faces charges in criminal court of trespass and possessing a weapon in a state park.

Out for revenge
(Wyoming County)

On the day after Thanksgiving ECO R.J. Ward received information that an individual may have taken two bucks in the town of Warsaw on the opening weekend of the regular season. The informant said he saw a photo of the man on Facebook with a smaller buck and then he heard the same individual shot a mature, large antlered deer the following day. The informant was unable to supply Ward with any photographs of the deer or any direct knowledge that two deer were taken. A check of the harvest reports showed that the individual reported harvesting a buck on Sunday of the opening weekend, and his wife reported taking a buck on Saturday. Ward went to the hunter’s residence and interviewed his wife. She was confined to a wheelchair as a result of the injuries she sustained from a serious car-deer accident on Oct. 16. During the accident, an antlered deer was struck by an oncoming vehicle and launched airborne into her path. The deer came through her windshield, causing her facial injuries. Her minivan then left the roadway and she struck the roadside ditch. Ward questioned her regarding her signing over her buck tag to her husband. Initially, she denied giving her buck tag to her husband. She claimed her husband wheeled her into the field and she shot a buck on opening day. As she put it, she needed to get revenge for what the deer did to her. However, she soon admitted her husband shot both deer.  Ward then interviewed the husband by phone. Initially, he denied shooting two bucks. However, when Ward told him that he had just interviewed his wife, the phone went silent. The man was charged with taking over the legal limit of antlered deer, failing to tag a deer as required, and accepting the regular season buck tag of another. His wife was charged with lending her regular season buck tag. Charges were pending in the town of Warsaw Court.
Drunk and disorderly firearms discharge (Broome County)
In early December, ECOs Andy McCormick and Eric Templeton responded to assist the Broome County Sheriff’s Department on a complaint in the town of Maine where a male subject was allegedly “drunk and disorderly” and was walking down the roadway randomly discharging a gun from the road within 500 feet of a couple dwellings. McCormick and Templeton arrived and the Broome County deputies already had the subject in custody. Spent shotgun shell casings were found on the roadway, about 150 yards apart, both very close to houses in the area. One of the spent shell casings was found about 50 feet from a house. The offender and witnesses were interviewed and statements were taken. It became pretty clear the man was not deer hunting and he was very intoxicated, just walking down the road and randomly discharging a gun. The Broome County Sheriff’s Department charged the subject with reckless endangerment under the provisions of the Penal Law. McCormick and Templeton also charged the subject with discharging a firearm from a public highway and discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

ATV patrol
(Erie County)

On Dec. 1, ECOs Charles Wilson and Charles Lohr conducted an ATV patrol of the National Grid power lines, as well as CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in the towns of Evans, Hamburg and Brant. During the patrol, the ECOs made contact with hunters who were hunting along these areas. Wilson issued two citations for hunting violations, and Lohr issued one. No ATV activity was noted during the patrol; however, a large area was covered during the interior patrol conducted by the officers during the patrol.

Deer trapped in nursing home
(Broome County)

On Dec. 12, ECO Andy McCormick received a call of a white-tailed deer that had crashed through an office window and entered the Willow Point Nursing Home in the town of Vestal. The deer was confined to a large office area and had sustained injuries when going through the glass, not to mention the ensuing destruction it had caused within the office area of the building. Lt. Ric Warner responded and assisted McCormick with the chemical immobilization of the animal to anesthetize and safely remove the deer from the building.

Emissions enforcement
(Bronx County)

On Jan. 15, ECO Jared Woodin was patrolling the Hunts Point area with Lt. George Steele. After finding numerous emissions violations throughout the day, the officers came across one more violation that set the others apart. A school bus was observed billowing thick blue smoke into the air, which undoubtedly would cause discomfort to anyone nearby, including young schoolchildren. Once a safe location was found to conduct a traffic stop, the officers spoke with the driver and then escorted the bus back to its facility. Once back at the yard, Woodin issued a summons to the company for appropriate air quality violations, returnable to Bronx Criminal Court.

Returning to the scene of the crime
(Sullivan County)

On Jan. 22, a subject made full payment of $2,002.50 in the town of Bethel Court to settle multiple charges incurred while illegally harvesting a deer in that town in December 2012. On Dec. 7, 2012, ECO Ricky Wood received a call from central dispatch regarding a subject who witnessed a deer being shot after sunset. The officer quickly made it to the scene to survey the area for any evidence and the shooter. The officer was able to locate a large dead doe, with what appeared to be a large bullet wound to the head. Wood left the deer in place and quickly hid his vehicle on an old logging road, deciding to wait to see if the shooter would return. Approximately 45 minutes later, the officer observed headlights of a vehicle approaching. Eventually, the vehicle made it to the spot pointed out by the complainant and stopped in the road. After the vehicle stopped, the ECO observed a subject jump out of the passenger side of the vehicle and enter the woods with a flashlight. The truck then left the area. The passenger quickly made his way to the illegally taken deer and into the hands of the waiting conservation officer. A quick interview of the subject, prior to handcuffing him, led to him admitting to having shot the deer. Wood placed the subject under arrest for taking wildlife from a motor vehicle, taking deer after hours, and discharging a firearm over the public highway. The subject then asked, "How'd you know I'd be back?" After looking back at the subject, he was able to answer his own question. "I guess they always come back." The subject was arraigned and the deer was seized and donated to a needy family.

Big game, big problem
(Suffolk County)

On Jan. 27, Forest Ranger Kevin Slade was patrolling the Otis Pike Preserve in the town of Riverhead when he came across a suspicious truck. The truck was parked in the spot, with a freshly harvested doe deer in its bed. The owner of the vehicle was not with the truck but was out small-game hunting. There should not have been a freshly harvested deer in the truck because the big-game season is closed on the weekend. Slade called the local ECO for assistance. ECOs Jeremy Eastwood and Brian Farrish responded to the location. The officers examined the deer more closely and determined that the time of death was earlier that morning. When confronted by the officers, the hunter claimed he shot it on Friday at a different spot and he found it late Saturday afternoon. Suspecting the hunter was not being honest, the officers instructed him to take them to the spot where he had supposedly shot the deer. The hunter brought the officers to the alleged location but the officers knew this could not be the spot because there was snow on the ground and no sign of any disturbance on the snow. Realizing he had been caught up in his lies, the man confessed and told them what really transpired. The doe was shot early Sunday morning at a different location on the Otis Pike Preserve, where the man was small-game hunting and he claimed he, “couldn’t resist the urge” to shoot the deer when it walked by. When the officers checked the actual spot where the deer was taken there was a great deal of evidence that the deer had been harvested there earlier that day. The man apologized for lying and leading them on a wild goose chase but he stated he was afraid of being arrested and he didn’t know what else to do. The subject was charged with taking deer by means not specified (he shot the deer with No. 4 shot) and taking deer during a closed season (the season is not open on weekends on Long Island).

A game warden’s best friend
(Orange County)

On Feb. 3, ECO Aaron Gordon was patrolling in the town of Warwick when he stopped to check ice fishermen on Glenmere Lake. Before going out onto the ice, Gordon watched a few groups of fishermen with his binoculars to make sure everyone was actually fishing. Gordon observed one man catch what appeared to be a small pickerel from a tip-up and place it on a stringer next to his fishing gear. The fisherman then covered the hole with snow, looking around to make sure nobody saw him.  Gordon entered the ice and started to check the fishermen. When Gordon approached the fisherman who had the short fish, he asked if they had any keepers and a quick “No” was given. Gordon went to the location where he had observed the fisherman hide the fish and found the stringer in the covered-up hole. Two undersized pickerel were on the stringer. A ticket was issued to the man for possession of undersized species.

Strike three
(Suffolk County)

On Feb. 2, ECO Kaitlin Grady was on routine patrol in Miller Place when she spotted an ATV and several dirt bikes in the woods off Miller Place-Yaphank Road. The officer directed the operators to stay put as they revved their engines in an initial attempt to flee the scene. Loud verbal directions and a quick approach changed the operators’ minds, and they turned off their engines.  Grady immediately recognized one of the dirt bike drivers from an ATV stop several months ago, when the subject received several tickets for unlawful operation. The subject had also been caught by ECO Matt Krug a few weeks earlier in the same location, when his friend had to be hospitalized for injuries that could have been prevented by wearing a helmet. On this third occasion, the subject evidently had not learned any lessons from his previous encounters with law enforcement. He also had brought along two young relatives, 10 and 11 years of age, who were also operating dirt bikes illegally. In all, the two adult riders received 12 summonses for violations, including operating a dirt bike without a helmet, operating dirt bikes and ATVs on private lands without consent, operating unregistered and uninsured dirt bikes/ATVs, permitting juveniles under 16 to operate unregistered and uninsured dirt bikes, and trespassing. ECO Chris Lagree responded to assist, and three dirt bikes and one ATV were impounded by the town of Brookhaven. A third conviction within five years of unlawful operation under Suffolk County Code is an unclassified misdemeanor. If found guilty, the subject faces a $5,000 fine and/or up to 16 days in jail.

Repeat offender
(Kings County)

On Jan.9 while conducting fish markets checks in the Chinatown area of Brooklyn ECOs Matthew Baker and Matthew Nichols came upon a location they had dealt with before. A supermarket had been the subject of past shellfish violations and this day was no different. The ECOs found the market to be in violation of possessing untagged shellfish, shellfish improperly stored on the floor, and possessing uncooked shellfish from a non-approved FDA source. Later, on Jan. 22, ECOs Baker and Shea Mathis paid another visit to New 168 Supermarket where they discovered the market this time to be in violation of possessing undersized black sea bass and untagged quota-managed species.  Both visits resulted in criminal appearance tickets being issued returnable to Kings County Court.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *