News of Otsego County

Cooperstown Police

Village Officers Foil Attempted Suicide

Village Officers Foil

Attempted Suicide

Bleeding Victim Transported

In Cruiser To Bassett Hospital

COOPERSTOWN – Worried an ambulance might not arrive in time, Village Police officers last week transported an attempted suicide victim to Bassett Hospital in their police cruiser, gaining the praise of Chief Frank Cavalieri.

“The quick thinking and effort shown to preserve the subject’s life displayed by these officers were vital to saving the victim’s life,” said Cavalieri.  “This effort, I believe, demonstrates the dedication, integrity and concern that the men and women of law enforcement in Otego County have for the community.”

Suspect In Mask-Sign Defacement Suspect ID’d

Suspect In Mask-Sign

Defacement Suspect ID’d

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavilieri dusts defaced signs for prints. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – In the end, damage to 11 of the Village of Cooperstown’s mask-ordinance signs totaled just under the $250 threshold for a felony charge.

“The total damage came to $238.74,” said Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Village Police arrested Luke Smith, 45, Cooperstown, for spray-painting Xes across four large and seven small “Masks on Main” publicizing the must-wear mandate between Main to Pioneer in the Business District. He was charged with criminal mischief, fourth degree, and issued a ticket.

On Monday, Oct. 5, village officials were notified that the signs had been taken and vandalized. According to Cavalieri, the three large signs were found spray-painted and discarded in front of District Attorney John Muehl’s office; the smaller signs from the rain gardens were found behind Pioneer Alley.

“We believe he spray-painted them there,” the chief said. “There were traces of spray paint on
the ground.”

The suspect was caught on camera footage provided to police by local business owners, the chief said adding, “We collected a lot of evidence.”

According to Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, the suspect turned himself in Tuesday morning. “He must have realized there was mounting evidence against him,” she said. “When you have video evidence, it’s hard to argue against it.”

“He made a mistake,” said Cavalieri. “I don’t think he’s a criminal per se. He did a criminal act, but he’s stressed and frustrated with everything going on in the country.”

Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, who helped initiate the “Mask on Main” program, said she had seen some pushback when the law was first passed.

“What surprises me the most is that it took this long,” she said. “When I first put out magnets on parking meters and trash cans, I saw immediately that some were taken or moved.”

Because the signs are printed on plastic, Tillapaugh said, any solvent used would damage the image and text, so new signs have been ordered.

“It’s the law,” Cavalieri said, “The reason for it is to protect our most compromised citizens. If you have the possibility of saving someone’s life by wearing a mask, I don’t understand why there would be pushback.”

Arrest Made In Mask Sign Vandalism

Arrest Made In

Mask-Sign Vandalism

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri dusts one of the vandalized signs for fingerprints. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A Cooperstown man has been arrested and charged with criminal mischief after 10 of the Village’s “Mask on Main” signs were found yesterday with black X’s spray-painted on them.

According to Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, the alleged vandal, a white male, was arrested following an investigation after the three large signs were found dumped and vandalized in front of the District Attorney’s office. Seven of the smaller signs were found in Pioneer Alley.

Cooperstown ‘Masks On Main’ Signs Vandalized


‘Masks On Main’

Signs Vandalized 

Village Police Seek Suspects

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Overnight, someone marked big “Xes” on Cooperstown’s “Masks on Main” placards. (

COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown Police are investigating the vandalism of the Village’s three “Masks on Main” signs after they were found with a black X spray-painted over them.

“We believe it happened last night,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch.  “We noticed it first thing this morning.”

The vandalized signs were at the perimeters of the downtown where the mask ordinance is in place, including Church and Pioneer streets, Main and Chestnut streets, and in front of the Otsego County Building.

Police: Woman Spit On Bassett Employees

Police: Woman Spit

On Bassett Employees

COOPERSTOWN – A woman was arrested after she allegedly spit on Bassett Hospital employees and told them she had COVID-19, according to Cooperstown Police Officer David Kaminski.

“A female was being seeing by staff at Bassett when she became irate and began spitting in several staff member’s faces,” said Kaminski. “She then told them she had coronavirus.”

Cooperstown Man Arrested In Railroad Avenue Burglary

Cooperstown Man Arrested

In Railroad Avenue Burglary

The door to Upstate Companies was damaged during last night’s alleged burglary at 21 Railroad Avenue.  Ommegang’s business office, at the end of the hall, was also broken into. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A Cooperstown man was arrested hours after he allegedly broke into offices at 21 Railroad Ave. and stole items, including a computer and money.

Richard C. Abbate, 18, allegedly broke into the building after 11 p.m. last night and stole items from several offices, including a laptop from the Ommegang’s business office and meat from the Green Cow butcher shop.  He also allegedly took money from an office, and damaged several doors, including at Upstate Companies.

Police Investigating Break-In At 21 Railroad Avenue

Police Investigating

Break-In, Robbery

At 21 Railroad Ave.

At this hour, Cooperstown Police and the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department are investigating an overnight break-in at 21 Railroad Ave. in Cooperstown. According to witnesses, the staff of Duvel Moortgat arrived to find that their door handle had been tampered with and a laptop was missing; the door handle of the Law Guardian office was also broken off and the door to Upstate Companies was kicked in. The staff of the Hometown Oneonta/Freeman’s Journal/ was at their offices on the first floor until 11 p.m. last night, but told police they did not hear anything unusual. The building has been evacuated and is currently considered a crime scene. (Jim Kevlin/
Friends Rally With GoFundMe For Cooperstown Police Chief

Friends Rally With GoFundMe

For Cooperstown Police Chief

Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert explains the “Angel” program he started in 2016 to help drug addicts get help.

COOPERSTOWN – Friends of Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert have put together a GoFundMe Campaign to raise money for his kidney transplant and other medical needs.

“Anyone who has met Michael K. Covert over the years knows that he would do anything for anyone and not expect a thing in return,” wrote Mike Ten Eyck, retired Sheriff’s deputy. “Mike has dedicated his life to helping others and now he needs our assistance.”




Chester S. Kucharski

COOPERSTOWN – A “vulnerable adult” was reported missing after he was last seen leaving Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown in January.

Chester S. Kucharski Jr, 67, Oneonta, was last seen leaving Bassett around 3:50 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25. He was reported as a missing vulnerable adult and the Police Department is attempting to check his welfare.

He is 5’11, 150lbs, Gray Hair, Hazel Eyes. Police say he had been evicted from his residence in Oneonta and had been transported to Bassett Hospital. He was discharged from the hospital and has not been seen since.

Otego Man Charged With Attempted Kidnapping

Otego Man Charged With

Grabbing Cooperstown Boy

COOPERSTOWN – An Otego man is facing charges of attempted kidnapping for allegedly grabbing an 8-year-old on Main Street last Friday.

Luke O’Hara, 36, allegedly left Community Bank at 1:3- p.m. on Friday, June 22, and grabbed the victim, who passed by him on his way to the post office, Police Chief Mike Covert said today.

Bassett Nurse Arrested For Unlawful Surveillance

Bassett Nurse Arrested

For Unlawful Surveillance

Anderson Lee

COOPERSTOWN – A Bassett Hospital employee was arrested and charged with 12 counts of unlawful surveillance for allegedly installing a camera in a private, employees-only area of the facility.

Police said Anderson W. Lee, 27, a registered nurse, installed an camera and recorded videos of fellow employees in a private area between Jan. 21 and 22.

Veterans Donate ‘Self Help’ Kits To Cooperstown Police

Veterans Donate ‘Self Help’

Kits To Cooperstown Police

The local chapter of the Nam Knights group donated eight “self help” kits to the Cooperstown Police this morning. The kits, which cost $80 apiece, contain a tactical tourniquet and quik-clot tactical gauze in case an officer suffers a severe injury while on duty. Pictured, from left, Grant Coates, Paul Hauptmann, Don Pagano, Joe Borawa, Police Chief Mike Covet, Officer Kevin Barrows, Dennis Dailey, Harold Southworth, Mike Alvin, and Bob Ennist. (Parker Fish/
Elderly Woman Injured In Hit-and-Run

Police: Elderly Woman Injured

In Chestnut Street Hit-And-Run

By PARKER FISH • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – A hit-and-run victim is recovering today after allegedly being struck by a vehicle on Chestnut Street last night.

According to Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Covert, a 76-year-old woman was walking on the sidewalk down Chestnut Street southbound when she was allegedly hit by a vehicle backing out of a driveway. The victim told police that the operator of the vehicle did not stop to check on her, and continued driving down the street.

Tourist Arrested For Assault, Hate Crime

Tourist Arrested For Assault,

Charged With A Bias Crime

Lawrence Mileo
Lawrence Mileo

COOPERSTOWN – A South Carolina man was charged with assaulting a woman after allegedly  yelling racial slurs at her during a confrontation in a Cooperstown restaurant, Cooperstown Police Chief Michael Covert reports.

Lawrence Andrew Mileo, 50, was arrested the Monday after Induction Weekend after a complaint of a physical dispute was made at a local restaurant.

According to police, Mileo allegedly called a 33-year-old African American woman, also from out of state, numerous derogatory names related to her race, then intentionally punched her in the face.

The Cooperstown Emergency Squad responded to the scene and provided medical care for the victim.

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