Break-In News!

On Saturday, July 30, 2011, an alert and observant Grove Street resident noticed that the windows on the top floor of the unoccupied former rectory building at 58 Grove Street were open. They were usually closed when he passed by daily walking his cat.  Armed with just an iPhone, he checked a little closer.

Discovering a side window wide open, screens pried from windows and two kitchen knives on the side stairs, he took action and called the Amsterdam Police.  Two Police Officers entered the building through the opened side window and secured the building.

An attempt was made to both call and e-mail the spokesperson for the World Peace and Health Organization, only to find out she was in Hong Kong on vacation. Using Facebook, communication was established with Jennie Wong who relayed information from Hong Kong to WPHO representatives here in Amsterdam as well as Mayor Thane.

Monday morning the diligent resident woke to find the Amsterdam Police again parked in front of 58 Grove Street with representatives from the WPHO.  This time the resident brought out the big guns recently used to photograph the Riverlink Park Concert on Saturday.

When Juliana from the WPHO checked on the property this morning, August 1, 2011, she apparently discovered the previously secured side window broken, startling three suspects who fled the scene on bicycles.  There was damage done to the inside of the building and mattresses were found on the floor. She was able to describe the three to Police who also had a forensics team on site gathering, photographing and cataloging evidence. They were able to lift clear fingerprints from the glass on the broken window used to gain access to the building.

The suspects are described as white or hispanic and teenage. One thin male with a shaved head and two heavyset females.  Police checked local hospitals to see if anyone was recently treated for cuts from broken glass.  The Grove Street resident believes the trio was able access the building undetected from the rear where a trail leads to the back of City Hall.

With Park Hill Adult Home vacant and no one living in the former St. Michael’s rectory, this diligent Grove Street resident could use a little help keeping the vandals and thieves at bay.


In response to the two break-ins over the weekend, the WPHO decided to board up the windows of 58 Grove Street.

This unfortunate chain of events just adds to the blight and decline of the Grove Street neighborhood.

Update 2:

The following photos taken August 5, 2011, with the iPhone show the old road in back of the former St. Michael’s Church and the flimsy fence put up in back of City Hall that is not keeping anyone out. People are both going over and just walking around it. The fence does keep vehicles from driving down the old road, and reduces the amount of grass that is cut in back of City Hall. The problem is the old road is about 1/4 mile long and can be accessed from both Green Hill Cemetery and High Street.


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8 thoughts on “Break-In News!

  1. robert purtell

    Sad to see such a great looking building being vandalized, I often wondered the WHPO did not have anyone living in the building, probably would have stopped any intrusion. Really is a shame. I feel comfortable though that it was not targeted at the WHPO, but who knows?

    • I have been suggesting that to them since they bought the property. I was on the phone just this morning pleading with Jennie Wong in Hong Kong to persuade the management to let some of their Buddhist group move in. Most of the group is currently in Hong Kong trying to draw the interest of some investors.

      I don’t think it was targeted either, just a crime of opportunity. It was probably being used as a drug den or party place. The Park Hill Adult home next door has an alarm system.

  2. diane

    Jerry, great article and thank you for your diligence. Maybe they should donate the churches back to the diocese who may have a better time trying to sell them. The WHPO is obviously way in over their heads.

    City hall put a fence up a while back to stop the traffic on the path. There are also cameras at city hall, maybe they caught something???

    • Thanks Diane,
      There is no fence blocking any part of the old road in back of City Hall. It ends with a cement staircase emptying directly onto the former St. Michael’s property. This is a regular thoroughfare, a shortcut used by many people on a daily basis.

  3. Robbie

    diligent resident…lol

  4. diane

    Jerry, City hall did put up a fence beyond the garage in the back. Just a couple of weeks ago.
    I found the cameras though are closed circuit only. Hope you are doing well and keep up the vigilance. There is going to be another auction for the Nursing home later this month. Was in today’s paper again.

    Later, Diane

    • I took a walk on the old road today and photographed the fence. It is not keeping anyone out. See update #2 on the blog post.

      I also noticed the second auction for Park Hill on August 25, 2011. I really hope someone buys it. There was a couple from Maine that stopped to look at it last week. They were musicians who already renovated and live in an old church there. They said Park Hill was much too large for them.

  5. diane

    Thanks for the pictures Jerry. Hope the mayor sees this and they can put up a more permanent fence, maybe a chain link with a gate, so they can continue to push the snow back in the winter. Maybe a few no trespassing signs and a security camera will become necessary. What a shame.

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