Sheriff’s sergeant, after pleading guilty to misconduct, resigns

GREENPORT—Now former Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant William Zincio, 45, of Greenport, a 17-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, in Greenport Court, Friday, April 18.

The long-time lawman surrendered himself that morning to sheriff’s deputies at town court, where he was subsequently arrested, charged and pleaded guilty before Town Justice Robert Brenzel, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

The action came on the heels of a 100-day joint investigation by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Unit. The investigation began in late December 2013.

“Mr. Zincio was allowed to resign and as of today is no longer employed by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office,” the sheriff said in the release.

Due to the nature of the offense and according to the terms of the plea, Mr. Zincio will not go to jail but will be required to make restitution to Columbia County in the amount of $3,399.70 for falsifying official Sheriff’s Office documents and being paid for work he did not perform.

Mr. Zincio falsified documents by indicating he was working when he was on vacation.

The sheriff said he and DA Paul Czajka believe that the immediate and successive surrender, arrest, guilty plea and disposition of the case were all in the best interests of the people Columbia County as well as the Sheriff’s Office. At no time were county residents at risk due to this non-violent, administrative crime.

“It is indeed a crime and, therefore, a serious breach of the public trust, neither of which can be dealt with in any other way,” Sheriff Bartlett said in the release.

The investigation began when possible discrepancies of falsified time sheets were reported internally. Working jointly and with the guidance of DA Czajka and his staff, a firm case was built, the sheriff said.

“As sheriff I am sorry to have to report that something like this involved one of our own, a trusted, ranking deputy. That being said, the people of Columbia County elected me last November to do a job. I answer 100% to the people of this county, and for illegal activity of any kind, everyone will be held accountable, police officers or not,” the sheriff concluded.

*Robert W. Beebe, III, 26, of Ghent was charged with the second degree aggravated harassment, class A misdemeanor, by Deputies Peter Grzeskow and Thomas Merante, April 10 at 4 p.m.

Mr. Beebe allegedly sent threatening text messages to a male victim. He was arraigned in Greenport Court and released on his own recognizance pending a future court appearance.

*Michelle Moskaluk, 25, of Claverack was charged with second degree aggravated harassment, a class A misdemeanor by Sheriff’s Sergeant Brian Molinski and Deputy Peter Grzeskow, April 11 at 10:36 p.m.

Ms. Moskaluk is accused of threatening a female over the telephone. She was arraigned in Greenport Court and released on her own recognizance pending a future court appearance.


State Police from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation at Livingston arrested Sheldon G. Ridley, 32, of Hudson, an employee at the Office of Children and Family Services Burnham Youth Safe Center, 13640 Route 22, on a charge of second degree sex abuse, April 16.

A joint investigation by State Police and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office began March 10 and revealed that Mr. Ridley allegedly had sexual contact with a female resident of the Burnham center.

He was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Canaan Court April 24.


City Police arrested three people and seized drugs, drug packaging, cash and a stolen gun when they executed search warrants at two locations, April 18 at 7:45 p.m.

The first location was apartment 2 at 74 Green Street, where police found a quantity of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, more than $750 and a loaded stolen firearm. There they arrested Devon M. Simon, 23, and Ursula M. Napier, 24, both of Hudson, on charges of fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property, firearm; third degree criminal possession of controlled substance, heroin with intent to sell; seventh degree criminal possession of controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, firearm/weapon. Also arrested at the Green Street address was Janessa Moore, 26, of Hudson on an unlawful possession of marijuana charge.

The second location was Hudson Terrace Apartments building 10, apartment J, where police confiscated drug packaging materials.

“I thank the New York State Police and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office again for their assistance. HPD is motivated and on task to make some real changes in our city. I appreciate their efforts and enthusiasm. We removed a stolen handgun off the street and another conduit to purchase drugs. We have a better work ethic than these drug dealers and we will be back at it tomorrow morning,” Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said in a press release.


Two men were charged with third degree burglary, a class D felony, and fourth degree grand larceny, a class E felony, in connection with copper piping being stolen out of an Austerlitz house under construction.

Russell Viccaro, 32, of Catskill was charged April 3 at 1:35 p.m. by Sheriff’s Investigator Mark Dunspaugh and Investigator Patrick Logue. He was arraigned in Austerlitz Court and released on his own recognizance pending a future court date.

Jeremy Frick, 32, of Claverack was charged on a warrant April 9 at 1:39 p.m. by Investigator Dunspaugh and Deputy Jeffrey Hofstetter. He was arraigned in Ghent Court and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to reappear in court at a future date.


George Pilarinos, 25, of Stockport was charged with third degree assault by State Police from Livingston April 16 following an altercation in Claverack, April 15.

Mr. Pilarinos allegedly caused the victim to suffer a head injury.

He was arraigned in Claverack Court and was released pending a return appearance May 13.


There have been two break-ins and two attempted break-ins in Ancram and Ancramdale recently: one in January, and three in the last week, according to an April 19 email from Ancram Supervisor Art Bassin

Two of the incidents involved weekend residences where the owners were not around. Equipment was stolen in both cases.

In one case, an attempt to enter a residence was made when the owner was home, suspects may have believed the house was empty. The owner heard people trying to get in through a window at 2 a.m. and scared them off by turning on lights and investigating.

A fourth residence was targeted, but the owner’s dogs barked and scared the would-be intruders away. According to the email, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett recommends weekenders get alarm systems installed and arrange to have a caretaker check their property when no one is there.

The sheriff also said he has increased the frequency of patrols in the area and urges everyone to be on the alert for suspicious activity and call it in to 911.


The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Aaron J. Williams, 55, of Stuyvesant was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, by K-9 Deputy Travis VanAlstyne, April 13 at 10:05 p.m. Mr. Williams is accused of possessing a hydrocodone pill without an original prescription bottle. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Kinderhook Town Court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email .

Old bones dug up

Workmen digging up a floor in a building at 234 Warren Street, Hudson found a bunch of bones, Thursday morning, April 17. They called Hudson Police, who collected the remains and shipped them to a lab for identification. According to Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore, the bones were identified as the remains of cows, pigs and perhaps a horse. The place may have been a butcher shop more than 50 years ago, the chief believes, and the bones may be left over from that time.

Dispatchers brush up on CPR

HUDSON—Dispatchers from Columbia County 911 recently completed Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) recertification training. The training, administered by State Police Canine Handler Brennan Keeler, included four hours of instruction designed to provide healthcare professionals the ability to recognize several life-threatening emergencies, provide CPR, use an AED and relieve choking in a safe, timely and effective manner.

All Columbia County 911 dispatchers are certified in CPR/AED and are required to complete 21 hours of continuing education annually. The dispatchers completed refresher training in emergency medical dispatching earlier this month, and will travel to Pittsfield, MA for additional training in domestic violence and suicidal callers in the coming weeks.

Trooper Keeler is an American Heart Association certified instructor and was himself once a Columbia County 911 dispatcher.

Sheriff’s Office hosts ‘Operation Take Back’

GREENPORT—The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Columbia County will be held this Saturday, April 26, according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

The Prescription Take-Back Day is a program held nationally by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA), and allows anyone who wants to dispose of any potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, to give them to law enforcement agencies who have partnered with the DEA. These agencies will then work with the DEA to dispose of the prescription drugs properly and safely.

The two prescription drug drop off locations in Columbia County are at the public safety building, 85 Industrial Tract in Greenport and the Sheriff’s Office Hillsdale Substation, 2684 State Route 23, in Hillsdale. Both locations will accept unused or unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Needles, IV bags, creams or liquids cannot be accepted. These items usually have directions with them for proper disposal.

The drop off of unwanted prescription drugs is free and anonymous.

For more information for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day go to and click on the “Got Drugs” icon or call the Sheriff’s Office at 518 828-3344.

Chatham FD participates in RecruitNY

CHATHAM—The Chatham Fire Department will open its doors to area residents, Saturday, April 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. so they can learn about what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter in their community as part of the fourth annual RecruitNY statewide initiative.

Over the last several years, it has been tough for many fire departments throughout the state to recruit and retain volunteers for a variety of reasons. Like most volunteer fire departments, the Chatham Fire Department needs to bolster its emergency responder numbers so it can continue to provide the optimum level of protection for its residents.

The Chatham Fire Department, 10 Hoffman Street, joins volunteer fire departments all across the state at their respective firehouses for a unified recruitment drive. Not only will RecruitNY be an opportunity to highlight the duties and rewards that come with being a volunteer firefighter, it will also raise public awareness about the need for volunteers.

Throughout the day, fire department personnel will conduct tours of the station and firefighter apparatus, allow visitors to try on firefighter gear, and answer questions about the department. The fire department will discuss the requirements to be a volunteer, as well as conduct demonstrations, answer questions, and let visitors know how to get involved in the fire department.


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