New York Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars – Sept. 22, 2017

(Editor’s note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the state of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.)

No one wants this RV
(Oneida County) 

On May 13, employees of Rubicon Recycling in the city of Rome showed up for work and found an abandoned recreational vehicle in their parking lot. Rubicon Recycling had refused to accept the RV the previous day. Following several interviews and statements, ECO Chrisman Starczek located the owner of the RV. The owner stated that he had tried to scrap the RV but it was refused everywhere he went, so he decided to drop it off on Rubicon Recycling’s property. The RV owner was issued a ticket for unlawful disposal of solid waste and was due in the city of Rome Court to answer the citation.

Chasing a turkey onto posted property
(Steuben County) 

On the morning of May 21, a man in the town of Howard was turkey hunting on his family’s posted property when he heard a noise in the woods nearby and readied himself to shoot a turkey. Instead, he heard a turkey call that was obviously coming from another human. The hunter confronted two young men who had set up only yards away from where he had been sitting. The two had seen a big tom turkey cross the road and followed it onto posted land where they did not have permission to be. ECO Matthew Baker investigated the case and obtained statements from the parties involved. Two tickets were issued for trespassing on posted land. During the investigation, Baker also discovered that one of the young men involved had already taken a turkey on opening day and did not report it. That hunter was issued a ticket for failure to report turkey as required.

Blackfish bandit
(Kings County) 

On May 23, ECOs Waldemar Auguscinski and Evan McFee were checking live seafood markets and restaurants in Brooklyn. Upon entering one restaurant, Auguscinski noticed a tank full of live blackfish that appeared to be too small to be legally possessed. The ECOs counted and measured 27 blackfish in the live tank, all measuring less than 13 inches. The legal commercial size for blackfish is 15 inches, making these fish illegal to possess. A check of nearby restaurants selling live fish revealed one additional business with nine blackfish under the legal size limit. Both businesses found to be in possession of the undersized fish were issued a summons returnable to Kings County Court.

West Sand Lake Elementary outreach
(Rensselaer County) 

On May 25, ECOs Kurt Bush and Brian Canzeri and Lt. Liza Bobseine conducted an outreach event for approximately 60 children at the West Sand Lake Elementary School. The officers showed students and teachers some of the equipment used on patrol and talked about the environment and the native wildlife they work to protect. Several of the students expressed the desire to become ECOs and others shared their experiences enjoying the outdoors and New York’s natural resources.

Jones Beach Air Show
(Nassau County) 

On May 25-28, ECOs assisted the United States Coast Guard Station Jones Beach with public safety and security during the 2017 Jones Beach Air Show. Marine Enforcement Officers Evan Laczi, Ike Bobseine, Ben Tabor, and Lt. Sean Reilly, along with sector ECOs Tim Brown and Nate Godson, patrolled the ocean and back bays via safeboats. ECOs also assisted New York State Park Police with protection of the Piping Plover nesting sites in the area and crowd protection and control. ECOs Chris DeRose, Kyle Bevis, and Justanna Bohling assisted with the beach patrol via ATVs and UTVs. This annual event draws more than 400,000 spectators over the course of the Memorial Day weekend.

Harassing a duckling with a fishing lure
(Broome County) 

On May 28, ECOs Andy McCormick and Anthony Rigoli were conducting a boat patrol on Whitney Point Reservoir, observing a group of fishermen onshore. Rigoli was watching one particular individual fishing while wading into the water near Dorchester Park. After a short time, he observed the fisherman cast parallel to the shoreline in the direction of several ducklings and then quickly reel the lure in with a jerking motion. Rigoli watched the subject repeat the action, deliberately trying to hook one of the ducklings. McCormick promptly drove the boat over to question the fisherman. Upon questioning the fisherman, the subject stated he was only trying to “scare the duckling back to shore.” Not buying the story, the ECOs stressed to the man that what he was doing was not only unethical but illegal as well. The fisherman was issued appearance tickets for unlawfully pursuing protected wildlife and failing to carry his fishing license. Both tickets were returnable to Triangle Town Court.

Contractor faces big fines
(Sullivan County) 

Earlier this year, ECO Tom Koepf was approached by a concerned resident of the town of Thompson who had discovered a large pile of garbage on a property he hunts on. Koepf went to the location and found an enormous amount of garbage. Koepf decided to conduct surveillance on the site by installing a trail camera nearby, capturing a number of images of vehicles entering and leaving the site. Once the winter snow melted, Koepf and ECO Travis Mcnamara sorted through hundreds of bags of garbage. The officers found dozens of incriminating documents, most of which were linked to a renovation job by a contractor from New York City. Several residents aided the ECOs in tracking down the suspect, who was interviewed on May 27. The suspect agreed to meet with Koepf at the dump site. When presented with the evidence found in the pile, along with trail cam photos of vehicles entering the site, the contractor provided Koepf with a full confession, stating he instructed his workers to dump on the vacant property. The subject was issued two misdemeanor appearance tickets for unlawful disposal of solid waste in excess of 10 cubic yards and depositing a noisome or unwholesome substance near a public highway, both returnable to Thompson Town Court. He faces thousands of dollars in penalties.

Lost and found
(Sullivan County)

On June 1, ECO Matthew Burdick was fueling his patrol vehicle in the village of Roscoe when he was approached by an elderly man driving a SUV. The man asked directions to Catskill. Burdick asked whether the man meant the town of Catskill or the Catskills Park, and it became evident that the man was disoriented. After running the Pennsylvania plates, Burdick confirmed that neither he nor his vehicle had been associated with a missing person report. The man then left on his own recognizance. Fifteen minutes later, Pennsylvania State Police contacted Burdick stating they had recently been notified of a missing person matching the description of the vehicle and the subject. Burdick contacted the New York State Police out of Liberty to be on the lookout for the vehicle. Burdick caught up to the man about 30 minutes later on Route 97, driving south. Family members were notified of the man’s location, and Burdick and state troopers remained with the man until family arrived.

Rush delivery
(St. Lawrence County)

On June 1, ECO Jon Ryan was driving on State Route 37 in the town of Waddington when he noticed a car behind him in traffic with its hazard lights on. The car then pulled up behind Ryan’s vehicle and the driver began waving to Ryan to pull over. Ryan pulled to the shoulder and met the driver. The man said his wife was in labor and they were on their way to Massena Memorial Hospital. Ryan said he would lead the couple to the hospital to ensure they made it safely. While en route, the husband again pulled over and jumped from the vehicle, informing the that his wife was “having the baby now!” Ryan called for an ambulance. Fortunately, the expectant mother is a physician’s assistant and was able to “self-deliver” the baby. The baby began to cry and the mother indicated that she was not having any complications. The Massena rescue squad arrived several minutes later and mother and child were loaded into the ambulance, arriving at Massena Memorial Hospital with a good story to tell.

Ruffed grouse crossing
(Cattaraugus County)

On June 2, ECO Jerry Kinney and Darci Dougherty were on patrol in the town of South Valley, Cattaraugus County, when the ECOs observed a female ruffed grouse with eight to 10 newly hatched chicks crossing the road. The ECOs were able to stop oncoming traffic so the grouse could safely cross the road with her babies.

“I Fish New York”
(Queens County)

On June 3, families and youngsters were invited to the Gantry Plaza Pier in Queens County for an “I Fish New York” event. Lt. Dawn Galvin and ECO Lucas Palmateer assisted DEC Region 2 Fisheries Manager Melissa Cohen to introduce children and their families to saltwater fishing. The sun was shining and the fish were biting. Almost everyone in attendance had the opportunity to catch a fish. Among the species caught were striped bass, fluke and bergalls. The children were delighted to learn about how to participate in the conservation of New York state’s bountiful natural resources.

Fishing with a warrant
(Orange County)

On June 4, ECO Christopher Lattimer was on patrol conducting recreational fishing checks at Highland Lakes State Park. He had checked 10 fishermen without issue and observed three more on the far side of the lake. Lattimer made his was around to the men and asked to check their licenses. Two of the three men were unable to produce fishing licenses; all claimed not to have caught any fish. Lattimer then checked the immediate area and found one largemouth bass in a cooler belonging to the men. At this point Lattimer photographed the fish, released it back into the water, and walked the men back to their car for identification. At the vehicle, Lattimer identified the men and ran them through the E-Justice system. One of the individuals came back with an active warrant from the New York State Police. Lattimer confirmed the warrant and requested that troopers meet him at Troop F in Middletown to relay the individual. Lattimer issued two of the men tickets for fishing without a freshwater fishing license and the third for taking largemouth bass out of season, returnable to Wallkill Town Court. Lattimer then took the individual with the warrant into custody and transported him to Troop F in Middletown, where he was turned over to state police.

Hooked in Harlem
(New York County)

On June 14, ECO Spencer Noyes assisted with an “I Fish NY” event at the Harlem Meer in Central Park. Noyes introduced dozens of children from Public School 32 to fishing at the event. Several students caught bluegills, pumpkinseed, and largemouth bass, and ECO Noyes answered kids’ questions about fish and wildlife in the New York City area. The children gained a better understanding about conservation and several expressed interest in going fishing again.

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