Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Upstate Police Blotter

The Story

Two charged in safe-nabbing, police say
Updated: Saturday, November 15, 2008 2:40 AM EST

GLENS FALLS - A complaint that a man had stolen a small safe late Thursday from the garage of a Ridge Street home led to the arrest of the man who took it and the man who owned it, police said.

The strange caper began at 11:55 p.m. when Donald L. Johnson, 42, of 171 Ridge St., called police to report that someone had gone into his garage and taken a safe hidden in a cabinet, said Glens Falls Police Sgt. Keith Knoop.

As police looked into the complaint, they determined that Johnson had actually invited the man into his garage to smoke marijuana, then left to walk his dogs, only to return to find the man running away with the safe in which the marijuana was kept, Knoop said.

Johnson told police he didn't know the man's name, but Glens Falls Police officers Shawn Lovelace and Dan Habshi determined he was Rodney M. Degnan, 35, of 116-1/2 Bay Street, Knoop said. The safe was recovered at Degnan's home, with nearly 3 ounces of marijuana inside, according to Knoop. Johnson told police there was also $900 in the lock box, but no money was recovered, Knoop said.

Degnan was charged with the misdemeanors of petit larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree criminal mischief, police said.

Johnson was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, police said.

Police learned the two had been drinking together at The Daily Double bar on South Street before going to Johnson's home. Johnson was released pending prosecution in City Court, while Degnan was arraigned in City Court and released on bail bond.

The Sequel
Police: Mower driver on drugs
Glens Falls Ride on lawn tractor brings charges for two men
Updated: Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:52 AM EST

GLENS FALLS -- A Glens Falls man who was arrested Thursday night in connection with charges that he had a safe full of pot stolen from his home was charged early Saturday when police found him driving downtown on a riding lawnmower while under the influence of marijuana, police said.

Donald L. Johnson, 42, of Ridge Street, drew police scrutiny because he had a man riding on the hood of the tractor as he crossed Glen Street near South Street at 12:09 a.m., said Glens Falls Police Sgt. Keith Knoop. Glens Falls Police Officer Seth French approached the men, and found that Johnson appeared intoxicated and admitted he had smoked marijuana, Knoop said. So he was charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI) by drugs, a misdemeanor, and issued 10 traffic tickets, Knoop said.

Among them were third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, which was filed because Johnson's driver's license was suspended for failure to pay child support, police said. He also was ticketed for driving an unregistered and uninspected motor vehicle, not using headlights and not wearing seat belts, among other violations, Knoop said.

The man riding on the hood, Carl W. Critelli, 49, was ticketed for not wearing a seat belt, Knoop said.

A tractor is considered a motor vehicle when it is taken on a public highway. A blood sample was taken to determine if there were any drugs in his bloodstream, police said.

Johnson told police he was taking the tractor to The Irish Pub on South Street, where he planned to sell it for $200, Knoop said.

Johnson also was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge Thursday night after he reported a man had stolen a safe from the garage of his home. Police determined the lock box was taken by a man he had smoked marijuana with earlier in the evening, and it was recovered with nearly 3 ounces of marijuana.

Both Johnson and Critelli were released after Saturday's encounter with police.

The Punchline
The safe owner and lawnmower driver is represented by one John Stonner Esq.

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