News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Oneonta Police

Police: Man Falsely Accused Man Of Having Handgun
Told Officers ‘Shoot Out’ Imminent; No Weapons Found

Police: Man Falsely Accused

Man Of Brandishing Handgun

ONEONTA – An Oneonta man was arrested after he allegedly made a series of calls to the Oneonta Police Department, falsely accusing neighbors of being “involved in a drug deal” and brandishing a handgun.

According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, Thomas E. Harker, 64, Oneonta, allegedly called the Oneonta Police department yesterday afternoon, first to report an alleged drug deal, then made a second call, where he allegedly told police he witnessed one of the two men pull out a handgun.

“He told officers there was going to be ‘a shoot-out’,” said Brenner.

OPD Chief Reports: 4 ODs In 48 Hours

NO DEATHS; HEROIN MAY BE TAINTED

OPD Chief Reports

4 ODs In 48 Hours

Beware Of ‘Bad Batch,’ Brenner Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police have been called to four heroin overdoses in the last 48 hours, prompting fears that a “bad batch” may be on the streets, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

“Each time, our officers had to use both of their Narcan kits to revive the person,” said Brenner. “That tells us that it’s a heavy overdose, possibly tainted with fentanyl.”

Oneonta Man Arrested After Robbery Spree

Oneonta Man Arrested

After Robbery Spree

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Brian Ruple, 41, Oneonta, was arrested and charged with robbing four gas stations in the early-morning hours of Friday, April 24.

ONEONTA – Following four gas station robberies, including one where a clerk was stabbed, an Oneonta man has been arrested and charged in the five-hour spree across Oneonta and Otego overnight and into Friday morning.

“I called Mayor Herzig after we made the arrest,” said Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner. “I told him, ‘we got him, you can sleep well tonight’.”

Bryan Ruple, 41, Oneonta, was arrested last night, both by City of Oneonta police and State Police Troop C.

According to Brenner, Ruple’s first attempt was at the Kwik Fill, where he allegedly attempted to grab cash out of an open register drawer. The clerk slammed Ruple’s hand in the drawer to stop him, and Ruple allegedly stabbed him with a small knife before fleeing the store without any money.

Suspect Sought In 4 Stick-Ups At Quick-Stops

INCIDENTS IN ONEONTA, OTEGO

Suspect Sought

In 4 Stick-Ups

At Quick-Stops

In One Case, Clerk Stabbed In Hand

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

State Police released this surveillance photo of a man wanted for questioning in a series of gas station robberies in Oneonta and Otego early this morning.

ONEONTA – Four gas-station robberies were reported between 1:20 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. today in the city and town of Oneonta, and in Otego, city police and state troopers report.

In one case, the clerk was stabbed in the hand; in at least two of the other cases, the suspect said he was armed, but didn’t show a weapon,  police said.

According to a release from the Oneonta Police Department, the spree began at 1:20 a.m., when officers were called to the Kwik Fill convenience store, 66 Chestnut St., for a reported attempted robbery.

“The clerk told us the man purchased a snack, and when the register was open, he tried to grab the money,” said Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner.

Birthday Party Cancelled? Have A Parade Instead!

Birthday Party Cancelled?

Have A Parade Instead!

There was lots of hooting, hollering and horn-blowing on Elm Street in Oneonta this afternoon as 13 cars filled with friends, family, teachers and classmates, all dressed in costumes with signs and decorations, were escorted by Oneonta police in a birthday parade for Zoey Tonner, who turned 7 today. “The invitations were ready, the treat bags were all made, then everything shut down,” explained her mother Danielle. “We had to cancel her party because of social distancing, so this is her coronavirus substitute!” The party was held at the home of Zoey’s babysitter Sarah Baden, where Zoey, seen at right with brother Rob and Dad “Fish”, waved to passersby from the lawn and porch, which were covered in decorations. As the parade passed by, Zoey took pictures with her camera as people hopped out to wish her “Happy Birthday” and leave presents and cards in a basket by the curb. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com

 

Lettis Highway Accident Victim Identified

Lettis Highway Accident

Victim Identified, In ICU

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police have identified the woman struck by a car last night on the Lettis Highway as April Johnson, 32, Oneonta.

Johnson allegedly crossed the highway in an area not marked for pedestrians and was struck by a car driven by David Shafer, 41, Otsego. She was taken by ambulance to Fox Hospital and transferred to Albany Medical Center, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Oneonta Woman In Critical Condition After Being Struck By Car

Oneonta Woman

In Critical Condition

After Lettis Accident

Oneonta Police and Fire responded to the scene at Lettis Highway, where an Oneonta woman was critically injured after being struck by a car. (James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – An Oneonta woman is in critical condition at Fox Hospital after she was struck by a car on the Lettis Highway earlier this evening.

According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, an Oneonta woman was walking with a friend when she allegedly crossed the James F. Lettis Highway approximately 100 yards from the intersection of Main Street.

“The area is not marked for pedestrians and it is dimly lit,” said Brenner.

PEDESTRIAN HIT ON LETTIS HIGHWAY

Exit 15 Ramp Closed After Accident

PEDESTRIAN STRUCK

ON LETTIS HIGHWAY

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Police are on the scene of a motor vehicle accident on the James F. Lettis Highway after a pedestrian was allegedly hit by a car this evening.

According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego Count 911 director, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near the I-88 Exit 15 westbound off-ramp at 7:42 p.m. The pedestrian was transported to Fox Hospital with serious injuries.

The ramp and Lettis Highway have been closed, and police are asking that the public avoid the area. The accident is under investigation.

Police, Fire Rescue Woman From Mill Race Waters

Police, Fire Rescue Woman

From Frigid Mill Race Waters

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Oneonta police officers and firefighters rushed to the spillway between the Oneonta Creek and Neahwa Park last evening to rescue a woman who had gone into the water in an alleged suicide attempt, OPD Lt. Christopher Witzenburg reports.

The woman, 34, was reported missing by family members who told police she had threatened self-harm. She allegedly told her family that she was under a bridge by some water, and Officer Kristen Lapointe spotted her behind the Post Office, headed south towards the railroad tracks.

When Lapointe attempted to make contact with her, the woman went into the creek at the Neahwa Park spillway.

SIP & SAIL LIQUOR LICENSE SUSPENDED

SIP & SAIL LIQUOR

LICENSE SUSPENDED

With 53 violations, including serving underage and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

A list of all 53 violations was taped to the bar’s door by SLA enforcement officers early this afternoon.

ONEONTA – With 53 violations, including selling alcohol to minors, employing unlicensed bouncers and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately, following a Friday night raid where police seized more than 140 fake IDs.

“This licensee has displayed a disturbing indifference to the law by pursuing a business plan seemingly based on catering to minors,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “The SLA will continue to take immediate action against bar owners who fail to take basic measures to ensure their patrons are of legal age, including checking IDs, training employees and obtaining scanners to spot fakes.” However, it has been stated that it could be getting harder for employees to spot fakes, as the likes of fake ID creators are ensuring that their new ID’s look as real as possible. It’s also becoming easier for underage customers to acquire fake identities, with many underage drinkers realizing they can often buy a fake id online that can pass as the real deal.

Suspect Beats Up 2 Women Officers

Suspect Beats Up

2 Women Officers

Oneonta Man Charged With Assault

Cameras in the Oneonta Police Station caught footage of Zachary Kaplan, left, allegedly attacking Officer Amanda Catapano after he allegedly slipped out of his handcuffs following his arrest for an alleged domestic incident.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – A man arrested during a domestic dispute then slipped his handcuffs and attacked two female police officers inside the Oneonta Police Station, Police Chief Doug Brenner reported today.

Zachary M. Kaplan, 29, was arrested by Officers Kristen LaPointe and Amanda Catapano following a call that he was violating an order of protection, said Brenner. “He gave them no problems at the scene, put his hands behind his back and got in the patrol car,” the chief said.

Oneonta Man Charged With Endangerment, Traffic Violations

In ‘Extreme Pain,’

Driver At Bassett

After Viaduct Crash

Stilson Faces Felonies, OPD Reports

Shawn N. Stilson escaped with minor injuries after his Ford Escape went through the viaduct fence and and crashed onto the railroad tracks below. (Photo Courtesy of OPD)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Police and fire crews were dispatched the the railroad tracks, where they found Stilson’s car.

ONEONTA – “In extreme pain,” Shawn N. Stilson, 27, Oneonta, walked into the police station at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning, bleeding from multiple cuts and complaining of pain, according to Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner.

“He told police he had crashed his car and been ejected,” said Brenner.

Officers investigated and found Stilson’s car had broken through the fence at the Main Street viaduct and crashed onto the railroad tracks below.

According to Brenner, Stilson told police he was fleeing a domestic disturbance when he drove his Ford Escape the wrong way down one-way Fairview Street, across Main Street and through the fence.  The car was heavily damaged and Stilson was transported to Bassett Hospital after he complained of “extreme pain.”

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