A Copper Caper

With taser drawn, he waits silently on the lawn of the former Park Hill Adult Home in Amsterdam, New York.  Ready to react to any situation that may jeopardize his safety or that of his fellow Police Officers and the citizens of Amsterdam.

Over the past several weeks, Park Hill has been the target of local copper thieves who have already done hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to this historic building by gutting the heating system and water lines. The former nursing home went into foreclosure over a year ago and is now owned by a bank who have done little to protect and secure its contents. You can read about some of its history here.

Whether it was the Strawberry Moon or the Venus transition, people have behaved badly on Grove Street lately. Last night about 1:00am I woke to the sounds of slurred cursing. I went outside to find a man so intoxicated he was laying on the sidewalk in front of the Former Park Hill adult home. Then I discovered someone stole my full trash can put curbside for pick up today!  Two women walking by last night after the police arrived stated they saw two teenaged men, one white, one black wheeling a trash can full of copper pipes down Forbes Street. Their description of the can led me to believe it was mine. Apparently they ditched the trash bags inside and used it to haul away copper from the Park Hill Adult Home.

This morning during a visit from my brother and sister-in-law, a car did a three-point turn in front of my house and started driving the wrong way down the one way street, pulling into the driveway next to Park Hill.  Armed with my iPhone, I decided enough was enough and confronted these would be burglars as they pulled out of the driveway with copper pipes in their vehicle.  I stopped the vehicle and ordered them to return the pipes. As they complied, I photographed them, the vehicle plate number and then called the Amsterdam Police who arrived about 15 minutes later.

The building was thoroughly searched both last night and again this morning and secured by the responding Police Officers.

The photos of the alleged perpetrators is being withheld due to pending litigation.  With my statement and the photos, the APD were able to name the individuals responsible and now have some evidence to work with to help curtail the theft of copper on Grove Street… or so we thought.

Just a few hours after this mornings incident, I was checking the property of the adjacent Goddess of Mercy Temple with Jennie Wong when we discovered the side door of Park Hill propped open with a bucket.  Once again I notified the APD and this time the response was immediate and large! The APD covered all the entrances and exits, once again doing a systematic search.  I did not see anyone taken into custody.

As the night falls I notice the APD making frequents rounds of the area. Hopefully, Venus is finished transitioning and I can get a full nights sleep!

Update: Reported in the Amsterdam Recorder 06/12/2012

Amsterdam Police Department

• Two Amsterdam men were each charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, and trespassing, a violation. Jose Reyes, 38, of 20 Garden St., was arrested June 5, and Jimmy Rivera, 44, of 27 McDonnell St., was arrested June 6. Their charges stem from an incident on Grove Street where the two men allegedly stole copper form a vacant building. Reyes were held pending arraignment, and Rivera was released on an appearance ticket to appear in Amsterdam City Court at a later date.

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12 thoughts on “A Copper Caper

  1. Good work, Jerry!

  2. The thievery has nothing to do with the moon, stars or placement of any planets….only the view that Amsterdam is an easy mark for crooks..it’s about time beautiful buildings are protected against slimebags, the windows should be boarded over, and that building could be used in the meantime to house the homeless, and those who need a place to live, perhaps even unwed moms who need a nice place to live, where they could learn how to be good moms.
    That way it would be used and not just turned over to those creeps who steal what they can…to buy drugs. Disgusting situation for Amsterdam. That is a beautiful building, and because the banks drag their feet it will cost thousands to rehabilitate. Owners (now the bank), should be charged for not taking care of the property, for the danger the officers face, and the time it takes to search and find the crooks. What bank owns it? Probably some NYC bank, or maybe even one overseas…:) We have way to many absentee landlords in Amsterdam…

    • Still feeling negative Carol? I have a lot of hope for Amsterdam, that’s why I choose to live here. Every city has unique problems but Amsterdam’s crime rate is lower than the state and national average.

      I decided to dedicate my time helping those organizations that are taking positive steps to improve the quality of life here.

  3. diane

    Great job Jerry and please keep it up. Going into city hall last night I noticed they were way down at the end of the parking lot too, so they had everything covered. I am glad you got the pictures and they will be prosecuted.

    Carol, that is a beautiful building, too bad the last owners from NYC did not do right by it. I would hope that another old folks home could go back in their, as they are the ones that would really appreciate the workmanship of the builders. Turning it into a homeless shelter would not be in the buildings best interests, as there would be too much turnover. The more turnover, the more damage is done during moves.

    In the meantime with Jerry there we can hope for less damage than what has already been done.

  4. Kevin

    The world need more citizens like you.

  5. diane

    When I read the address and items I knew they got those guys. Thanks for keeping your neighborhood safer Jerry 🙂

  6. How about a home for Homeless Veterans. I’m ashamed to even have to capitalize that, let alone give the idea to this administration. But good for you for doing what you did.

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