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Five charged in gun thefts

JOHNSTOWN — Five people were arrested this week by authorities in connection the theft of numerous guns.

“They were young people,” Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said today. “We’re looking at them as possible suspects in other burglaries in the area.”

A sheriff’s news release indicated the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a local gun shop in the town of Johnstown for a possible burglary in progress in the early morning hours of Monday. The name of the business is not being identified.

“I don’t want them to become a target,” Giardino said.

The release said responding deputies and troopers found that the business had been broken into and that several handguns were stolen from a secure cabinet. They were able to determine that four people were involved. Information was relayed to the Gloversville Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies.

Based upon the initial information supplied to the GPD, members of the Gloversville Detective Division working with the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and members of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Explosives (ATF), were able to develop substantial information as to the identity of several suspects.

On Tuesday, they initiated surveillance on a possible location of the suspects on Park Street within the city of Gloversville. A Nissan SUV was observed with several individuals believed to be suspects in the burglary and theft of the handguns. A vehicle stop was initiated and four subjects fled from the SUV. Three were apprehended quickly by members of the Gloversville Police Department. They continued their investigation together with members of the sheriff’s office and a state police K-9.

Once in custody, it was determined that a juvenile male was in possession of one of the stolen handguns. Further investigation resulted five people arrested. Three of the six handguns were recovered. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office at 518 736-2100 and ask for the Investigative Unit.

Arrested were:

∫ A 14-year-old juvenile from Texas, who was charged with third-degree burglary, a felony. He was released and told to report to the Fulton County Probation Department.

∫ A 17-year-old with an undisclosed address in Johnstown was charged as an adolescent offender with third-degree burglary, a felony, six counts of fourth-degree grand larceny for the theft of handguns, felonies, and other charges. He was taken to Fulton County Family Court and released.

He was released under the Raise the Age Legislation which was implemented last year.

∫ Latoddrarick Lute, 20, with a Texas address, was charged with third-degree burglary and held due to being a fugitive from justice from Texas. He was the only one of the five held due to multiple changes in the law in the last two years. This was only because another state had a warrant for him on a felony.

∫ Malik Hyde, 20, of Park St., Gloversville, was charged with third-degree burglary, a felony. He was released on an appearance ticket under bail reform implemented this year.

∫ Marcos Vazquez, 23, of Amsterdam was charged with criminal possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property, both felonies. He was also released on an appearance ticket based under bail reform.

In the release, Giardino commended the Gloversville Police Department for their immediate work on finding the suspects and recovering three of the six missing handguns. He thanked the SP BCI and field troopers, the SP K-9 Unit and the ATF. The sheriff said that the cooperation between all the agencies was essential for the quick resolution of this case.

The sheriff added: “This case is a perfect example of misplaced reforms without input from law enforcement and district attorneys. There are still three handguns out there that can be used against members of the police or community members at large. Two of the suspects live in other states and there is no incentive to stay in New York and answer their local charges. If you have information about this case or the location of the handguns please contact us. It would be a tragedy if someone were killed with one of these handguns because someone has information and doesn’t share it with law enforcement.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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