News of Otsego County

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


Police Chief Doug Brenner

Students, Citizens Will Be Part Of Police Review Board

Students, Citizens Will Be

Part Of Police Review Board

Mayor Herzig

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College students and faculty, as well as representatives from the NAACP, Common Council and City Hall will be tasked with reviewing police policies and procedures as part of Mayor Gary Herzig’s proposed Community Advisory Board to the Oneonta Police Department, Herzig announced during a meeting of the Planning Commission this evening.

“Our policies have been approved by the state as part of our accreditation,” he said. “But they’ve never been reviewed by the people of the city.”

OPD Chief Reports: 4 ODs In 48 Hours


OPD Chief Reports

4 ODs In 48 Hours

Beware Of ‘Bad Batch,’ Brenner Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

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

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.

Police: Man Graffitied Churches, Businesses

Police: Man Graffitied

Churches, Businesses

Thomas Miller, Oneonta, was arrested and charged after he allegedly spray-painted graffiti on seven locations in downtown Oneonta.
This “demonic” symbol was spray-painted in front of the Lord’s Table.

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police arrested a man after he allegedly spray-painted “demonic” symbols on a church and other Main Street businesses, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

Thomas R. Miller, 26, Oneonta, was arrested after a tip into graffiti that appeared on Main Street businesses and two churches between November 2019 and Feb. 22. “We were able to match the symbols with ones he posted on social media,” said Brenner.

3 Hospitalized During SantaCon

3 Hospitalized

During SantaCon

ONEONTA – Three students were hospitalized for over-consumption of alcohol during the annual SantaCon on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“Two of them were sent to the ICU to be intubated, both with a blood alcohol content level over .5 percent,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “.4 is usually fatal.”

The first, a 21-year-old male SUNY student, was transported to Bassett Hospital by police after he was found unconscious on the lawn of a house on Grove Street at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.

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

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.

140 Fake IDs Seized At Oneonta Bar Over Weekend

 140 Fake IDs Seized

In Raid on Oneonta Bar

Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner sorts through some of the 140 fake IDs seized in a raid at the Sip & Sail Tavern on Friday night. (Ian Austin/

ONEONTA – Oneonta police seized 140 fake or altered IDs at in their biggest raid to date at the Sip & Sail bar on Friday night.

“We were planning to go to several bars to conduct checks on liquor licenses and underage drinking,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “We went to the Sip & Sail first and discovered a large amount of underage customers.”

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

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.”

Suspect Held In Oneonta Burglary Spree

Suspect Held In

Oneonta Burglary Spree

Kyle Ives

ONEONTA –At least three burglaries over the past week have been solved with the arrest of an Oneonta man.

Kyle A. Ives, 29, was charged in a series of break-ins – two homes and vehicle – in Center City. “With one arrest, we were able to solve three cases,” said OPD Chief Doug Brenner.

Last weekend, the two houses were broken into and credit cards taken, plus $100 in cash and personal items. “He took change from the cars and a jar of change,” said Brenner. “It’s a quick grab.”

The personal items were all recovered, said Brenner.

But police are still seeking a suspect in burglaries on Main Street around the same time. Both the Hospice and Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans thrift stories were broken into and items and money taken.

“We are truly disheartened to share that our thrift shop was burglarized over the weekend,” read a post on the Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans’ Facebook page. “This store is completely volunteer run and all the proceeds benefit the rescue. Not only did we sustain a loss, now we need to spend money on new equipment.”

“It’s sad that people are stealing from charitable organizations,” said Brenner. “They just ransacked the place.”

Two other locations in the Main Street area were also broken into, but Brenner declined to identify them, citing investigation protocol.

“We’re looking through the Main Street camera footage right now,” he said. “Trying to see if we got anything.”

For the Center Street burglaries, Ives was charged with two counts of burglary in the second degree, two counts of grand larceny – for the credit cards, said Brenner – and one count of petit larceny.

“We don’t believe Ives is tied to the Main Street burglaries,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Oneonta Police at (607) 432-1113.

Three Indicted For Kidnapping, Robbery

Three Indicted For

Kidnapping, Robbery

ONEONTA – Three men who allegedly grabbed an Oneonta woman off the street and threw her into a van before demanding money were indicted on felony charges of kidnapping and robbery in Otsego County court yesterday, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

Erankie Liberata-Garcie, 24, Erick Tavares, 33 and James Semidey, 26, all of the Bronx, were arrested in May after Oneonta Police received a report from neighbors on Watkins Avenue that claim they saw two men grab a woman off the street and thrown into a white cargo van.

Missing Oneonta Man Found Safe


Missing Oneonta

Man Found Safe

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Chester S. Kucharski

ONEONTA – Chester S. Kucharski Jr., reported missing after leaving Bassett Hospital in January, has been found safe and in good health, according to Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner.

“He checked into the Super 8 Motel on Southside and used his own name,” said Brenner. “The clerk recognized him and called us.”

Kucharski, 67, was last seen on camera leaving Bassett around 3:50 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25. He was considered a “vulnerable adult” at the time he was reported missing.

Oneonta Police Officer Injured During Suspect Chase

Police Officer Injured

During Suspect Chase


ONEONTA – An Oneonta Police officer was injured after the suspect fled over a fence and down an embankment, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

Wanted on a failure to appear and criminal contempt charges, Christopher Youngs Jr. 19, Town of Maryland, was allegedly seen at a house at 31 Fairview St. When officers tried to arrest Youngs on the outstanding warrants, he allegedly jumped out of the second story window of the house and fled.

“He went over a fence and fell down the steep embankment,” said Brenner. “He got up and tried to hide, but officers caught up with him.”

Leads Poured In, Leading To Arrest Of Oneonta Man, 34


Leads Poured In,

Leading To Arrest

Of Oneonta Man, 34

Police, Fire Chiefs Detail What’s Known

Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon, left, and Police Chief Doug Brenner detail what they know at a 5 p.m. press conference in Oneonta City Hall. For a video of the press conference, click here.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Terrence Truitt

ONEONTA – Within hours of Saturday morning’s fire that claimed the life of former Oneonta firefighter John D. Heller, the leads began to pour in.

“We had more than 70 leads,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner an hour ago at a press conference held jointly with Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon. “And the investigation is continuing.”

The men reported Terrence Truitt, 34, Oneonta, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson, which investigators believe started on the second floor of 5 Walling Ave.

Heller and his fiancee, Amber Roe, lived on the top floor, and had their four nephews staying with them that night. Heller and Roe helped the children escape, but then was unable to get out of the building.



Police Charge Oneonta Man With Attempted Murder


Oneonta Man Arrested

For Attempted Murder

David Thomas

ONEONTA – An Oneonta man charged with attempted murder after he allegedly strangled a woman and twisted her neck, causing severe injury.

The victim also had bruises and bite marks, Police Chief Doug Brenner said.

David C. Thomas, 28, was arrested after Oneonta Police responded to a domestic dispute that allegedly turned physical.

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