Police seek victims after New Leb man’s camera found in restroom

NEW LEBANON—A New Lebanon man is in the Columbia County lock-up without bail after his cell phone was found secretly recording video in a convenience store’s public restroom, Sheriff David P. Bartlett said in a press release.

Sam C. Wassilie, 36, of State Route 20 was charged with one count of second degree unlawful surveillance, a class E felony, after his hidden phone was discovered in the bathroom of the Stewart’s Shop on State Route 20.

The device was set to actively record video and was concealed in crumpled up toilet tissue in the bathroom.

Sheriff’s deputies received a call from a private citizen at 7:25 p.m., Friday October 10. The caller reported finding the “smart phone” type device while using the public restroom at the store. The caller also reported that “a suspicious-acting male subject” was in the store at the time of the incident.

An investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office determined that Mr. Wassilie had allegedly intentionally installed the recording device in the bathroom.

He was arraigned in New Lebanon Court by Town Justice Jack Nevers and sent to the county jail without bail. He is scheduled to reappear in court October 16.

The investigation revealed there are several unidentified victims in this case. Anyone who used the restroom or witnessed suspicious activity there Friday evening, October 10 between 7 and 7:25 p.m. to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 518 828-3344.

The case is being handled by Deputy Scott Leggett and Investigator Mark Dunspaugh. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by State Police and the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.


*Rasheem Cotman, 30, of Hudson was charged with third degree assault with intent to cause physical injury by Hudson Police Officer Patrick Meister at 216 Warren Street, September 30 at 9 a.m.

Mr. Cotman was charged on a Hudson City Court arrest warrant stemming from an August 23 incident during which he allegedly punched a female in the face with his fist causing her physical injury.

He was arraigned and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond.

*A 17-year-old Hudson boy was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property by Hudson Police Officer Christopher Duntz at 527 State Street, September 28 at 8:38 p.m.

The teenager, who was not identified by police was allegedly in possession of a blue with silver flake-colored GT Timberline bicycle that was reported stolen September 4.

He was arraigned before City Court Judge John Connor and sent to the county jail in lieu of $250 cash bail or $1,000 bond, to return to court at a later date.


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

*Elizabeth R. Hamm, 21, of Philmont was charged with driving while intoxicated and having a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than .08%, both class U misdemeanors, by Deputies Joseph Bruno and Kelly Briscoe, September 24 at 1:02 a.m. Deputies were investigating a motor vehicle accident in which Ms. Hamm was involved. She failed field sobriety tests. A breathalyzer test yielded a .14% BAC. She was issued tickets returnable in Claverack Court, October 28.

To contact Diane Valden email .

 Skype, DeRocha attend training

SARATOGA SPRINGS—Forty-five law enforcement supervisors from 30 sheriff’s offices around the state attended the 17th annual Law Enforcement Division Supervisor’s Continuing Education Program at the Gideon Putnam Hotel recently.

Among those in attendance were Senior Investigator Kevin Skype and Captain John DeRocha of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

The three-day program, sponsored and organized by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association and the New York State Sheriffs’ Institute, provides participants with training in the latest advances in law enforcement. Sessions included an ICE review and update by Dennis Rau from the state Division of Homeland Security, a case study of how to handle a criminal case in the national spotlight by St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells, a review of New York’s Crime Statistics by state Division of Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Green, and a case study of the shooting of Johnson City Police Officer David Smith by Broome County Undersheriff Alex Minor.

More information is available at www.nysheriffs.org and www.nysheriffsinstitute.org.

Domestic violence victim support continues

HUDSON—With support from Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R-43rd), the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office can continue and expand services to victims of domestic violence in Columbia County, District Attorney Paul Czajka (R) announced in an October 10 press release.

In 2013 Senator Marchione was able to secure $20,000 in Department of Criminal Justice Services funding for the Columbia County DA’s Office.

Recently, Mr. Czajka thanked the senator on behalf of the victims of violence and their families for the additional $10,000 grant that continued support of domestic violence victims.

“Over 25% of all assaults in New York State involve domestic violence. In 2013, my office handled over 120 cases in which courts issued orders of protection to protect victims. Through the financial support provided by Senator Marchione, we are able to direct specific attention to domestic violence cases and support the victims through the court process and after,” the DA said in the release.

Firefighters step up for diplomas

A graduation ceremony for two Firefighter I classes took place at Columbia-Greene Community College, October 11. Thirty-six firefighters from Chatham, Clermont, Craryville, East Chatham, Greenport, Hudson, Kinderhook, Lebanon Valley, Livingston, Philmont, Stockport, Stottville, Stuyvesant, Taghkanic and West Ghent graduated. Pictured during the ceremony are (l-r): Guest speaker Sheriff David P. Bartlett, Columbia County Fire Coordinator John Howe, and West Ghent Firefighter Randy Lewis.

Truck dedicated in memory

The City of Hudson Fire Department conducted a wet-down ceremony for E-30 at the Hudson Central Station, October 11. Apparatus from Hudson, Stottville, Philmont, Greenport, Earlton and Athens participated. Engine 30 is a 2013 Spartan/Toyne. It has a 2,250 gpm pump; holds 750 gallons of water; has a Cummins ISX 500hp engine, Allison Autostainless steel body, aluminum cab and 8KW generator. The truck was dedicated in memory of longtime member Wilson “Harpie” G. Shea who recently passed away.



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