Teens arrested when police track them after break-in

GHENT–Two teens, one from Stuyvesant the other from Chatham, were charged with committing multiple burglaries at Roraback’s Nursery on Route 66.

Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr. reports that deputies received a 911 call about a burglary in progress at 4:10 a.m. June 13. The owners of the nursery live next door to the business and were awakened by loud noises at their business. Because the nursery was burglarized twice the previous week, the owners investigated the noise and discovered two teenage males attempting to break in.

When the owner yelled out to them, they were startled and ran off.

Deputy Chad Shufelt and his K-9 partner Andi arrived and began to track the suspects in the area where they fled.

K-9 Andi stayed on the suspects’ trail to the place where it is believed the suspects had parked their vehicle.

Chatham Police, who assisted in the case, saw a vehicle parked in a field a short distance away from the nursery while on patrol. They had taken down the vehicle’s license plate information.

Upon further investigation by deputies and investigators, Tyler Plawinski, 19, of Sharptown Road in Stuyvesant and Elijah DeGroodt, 18, of Highland Road in Chatham were found and charged with the attempted break in at the nursery.

Both suspects were also charged with the two break-ins the previous week.

The teens allegedly stole Magic Cards, a collectible card game, and other collectables from the business during the prior two burglaries. Over the weekend prior to the arrest of the suspects, Sheriff’s investigators worked with the North Greenbush Police Department after receiving information that an individual had sold some Magic Cards at a shop in the North Greenbush area. The cards valued at $3,000 were recovered.

Both individuals made admissions concerning their involvement in the burglaries, according to the sheriff.

They were each charged with: two counts each of third degree burglary, a class D felon; one count each of third degree grand larceny, a class D felony, one count each of fourth degree grand larceny, a class E felony, two counts each of third degree attempted burglary, a class E felony and one count each of fourth degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor. Both subjects were arraigned before Justice David W. Harrison Sr. in Ghent Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $4,000 cash bail or $8,000 bail bond. They were to return at a later date for a preliminary hearing.

Along with Deputies Shufelt and Michael Stelling, Senior Investigator Kevin Skype and Investigators John Rivero and Anthony Brahm, Chatham Police and the NYSP assisted as did Senior Assistant District Attorney David Costanzo. The case continues to be under investigation.

Asked for a comment on the arrest of his son, Chatham Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt said by email, “I am truly chagrined and confounded by the actions of my son, Elijah DeGroodt, that resulted in his arrest earlier this week. At this time, I ask that the privacy of our family be respected in this highly complex personal matter. We trust that he will benefit from the attention of the professionals who are working with him to assist him in his return to life as a useful member of this community.”


State Police at Kinderhook made several arrests for burglary after a dwelling in Valatie was broken into and numerous items taken. State Police recovered many of the stolen items. The following subjects were charged with second degree burglary, May 19: Thomas Burrall, 16; Michael Minahan, 16; and Heather Desrosiers, 18, all of Valatie. They were arraigned in Chatham or Kinderhook Court and released to reappear in Valatie Court at a later date.

Additionally a 15-year-old was also charged with second degree burglary and issued a juvenile appearance ticket returnable at the Columbia County Probation Department.


Greenport Police were notified about a depressed man possibly going to commit suicide, June 5 at 10:30 a.m.  Great Barrington Police contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after the man was laid off from his job. While leaving his workplace, the man made a statement that concerned the employer. He in turn contacted Great Barrington PD.

Officer Corey Cox responded to the man’s residence in Greenport to try to find him. Not finding him at his residence, a cellular phone locate procedure was requested. At about 11:30 a.m. the locating procedure hit on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Officer Cox went there and found the man on the bridge.

He had thrown a couple of personnel items off the bridge and when the officer approached, the man turned and headed further out on the bridge. Officer Cox spoke to the man and after a 15-minute conversation the man came back off the bridge, where he was taken into custody with the assistance of Deputy Dave Rose and Trooper Kelly. He was taken to Columbia Memorial hospital and turned over to medical personal.

Greenport Police Chief Kevin Marchetto issued a statement commending Officer Cox for his quick work in finding the man and talking him off the bridge. “This could have been a very tragic ending without Officer Cox’s interaction. I would also thank the Sheriff’s Office and State police for their assistance.”


Deputy David Proper investigated a personal injury automobile crash on Mitchell Street, north of the Route 23 intersection, May 27 at 9:03 a.m. Janet E. Lincoln, 66, of Hillsdale told the deputy she was making a left turn onto Mitchell Street from Route 23, when her coffee began to fall over. As she leaned over to grab it, she took her eyes off the road which resulted in her crashing her 2003 Subaru head-on into a tree.

The Community Rescue Squad took the driver to the Albany Medical Center for treatment of a head cut. Hillsdale firefighters also responded. No tickets were issued.

To contact Diane Valden email .

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