Posts Tagged With: burglary

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.

Categories: Amsterdam, Law, WPHO | Tags: , , , , , ,


With great perseverance, the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization continues their mission of health and peace in the City of Amsterdam.

[pur-suh-veer-uhns]  noun
1. A steady persistence, course of action, purpose, state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2. Theology . continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

The happiness and peace you see in the faces of the members of the WPHO is a reflection of their inner beauty. Despite rejection by some members of our community, religious property exemptions taken away by Amsterdam City Assessor Calvin Cline, $6,485 in fines from the City of Amsterdam and repeated burglaries and vandalism of their properties, they continue forward. With the main group continuing their mission in San Francisco and Hong Kong, a core group steadfastly moves from property to property, securing, cleaning and renovating buildings.

I want to introduce you to some of these dedicated people that have become my neighbors and friends.

Regina Law and Juliana Leong

Regina Law, Angus, Joshua Rosenstein and Mo Ming Che

The rectory building of the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street (seen in this August 2011 photo) was boarded up because of several previous burglaries, one I documented here.

The group decided it would be beneficial to move some of their members in this rectory building. To prepare for the move, they have been performing daily renovations. Boarding up a building may help prevent theft but it also sends a signal to would be thieves that the building is unoccupied.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at about 1:40pm Angus and Juliana were working on renovations in the rectory while the rest of the group worked elsewhere.  Suddenly they heard the sound of breaking glass on the second floor. Juliana ran up to the third floor and called the Amsterdam Police. She knew dialing directly would get them there sooner than calling 911.  Angus not realizing what had happened responded to the second floor bedroom where she heard the noise and was confronted by two male burglars who she described as dark-skinned but not black, thin and tall with dark hair.  She estimated the intruders at around 16-18 years old. Upon seeing Angus, the burglars fled back through the second floor window,where they gained access to the building by climbing on a trash can and scampering over the walkway roof and throwing a paint can through the window glass. The storm window slammed shut as the second male exited. Angus noticed a third similar looking male on the sidewalk outside the window.

I noticed two police cars respond to Grove Street as well as the rest of the WPHO work crew. I went over to the rectory building to photo document the incident. The following photo shows the second floor storm window with clear handprints on the outside. The burglars slid the storm window up before breaking the inner locked window.

The next photo shows the second floor bedroom where the burglars entered the building.

Amsterdam Police Officers took statements from the two WPHO members while two Amsterdam Detectives collected forensic evidence.

This incident was particularly disturbing because it happened near my home in broad daylight, yet it was not reported in the local media. The public needs to be aware of the increasing incidents of burglary in the City of Amsterdam.

Two weeks ago the WPHO property at 10 Leonard Street was burglarized once again.  A hole cut in an outside fence and a rope used, allowing  access to the second floor where burglars entered by breaking a window, taking machinery and scrap metal.

Both properties were once again boarded up, secured and padlocked. While the constant repairs may temporarily delay rehabilitation efforts, it does not deter the WPHO mission.

Through all of this adversity the WPHO members remain cautiously optimistic, using training in meditation to find that calming spiritual center that allows them the consciousness of being.

Categories: Amsterdam, Human Rights, Law, Media, Photography, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , , ,

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