DA pursues string of area burglaries

District Attorney Scott D. McNamara’s new county-wide Burglary Task Force is looking into at least four strings of burglaries from recent weeks in Barneveld, Sylvan Beach, Forestport, and the Utica area.

They have also made at least one arrest and recovered some stolen property.

"Over the past two months, we’ve seen a spike in the burglaries locally across the county," McNamara said. But prior to the task force, "each department would try to solve their own burglaries," with little to no cooperation, McNamara said.

The Task Force unites all law enforcement agencies across the county, from the Sheriff’s Office to town and village police departments. McNamara said all the agencies meet at least once a week to compare all of their burglaries, and to "look at or determine if we have a commonality." They are also creating a database of all the burglaries to help spot trends.

In one instance earlier this month, McNamara said the Utica Police pulled over a van full of stolen property. The driver fled and eluded police custody, but the Task Force determined that the stolen property was from a case that the Sheriff’s Office is investigating. The van will be searched for other evidence.

Just last week, McNamara said the Task Force helped catch a burglar in the act in Waterville. The man, whose identity was not released, is being held on a parole violation while the Task Force investigates how many burglaries he may have committed.

The Task Force is also working on at least four separate strings of burglaries from across the county. Several businesses have been burglarized in Floyd and Barneveld since the beginning of the month, including Okey Dokey’s Restaurant, Jack’s Tavern, 3 Tins Pizzeria and Hudon’s Sled Salvage. These break-ins have occurred overnight, with the thief or thieves rooting around through the cash register.

Utica and New Hartford have been hit with a series of day-time jewelry burglaries, McNamara said.

"The economic climate, coupled with, more importantly, gold and silver are at a very high price," McNamara said. "The market for second-hand jewelry is very high."

McNamara said the Task Force is also working to pass legislation that will force second-hand jewelry merchants to report possibly stolen merchandise to the authorities. There are numerous groups that purchase gold in the county, along with pawn shops, and "some of them cooperate with us, and some of them do not," McNamara said.

The Task Force is also investigating a series of burglaries in Sylvan Beach, as well as summer camp burglaries in the Town of Forestport.

Anyone with information on any of these burglaries is asked to call their local law enforcement agency. All calls will be kept confidential.