Ancram man charged with kidnapping, arson, other crimes

An arson barn fire in progress at 93 County Route 3, Ancramdale in the early morning hours of July 23. Photo courtesy of Ancram Fire Chief David Boice

ANCRAMDALE—State Police from the Livingston barracks arrested a local man for a string of felony crimes all of which took place overnight July 22 to 23.

Henry C. Harasymczuk, 56, of Ancram was charged with second degree kidnapping, a class B felony; second degree burglary and third degree arson, both class C felonies.

Columbia County 911 dispatched troopers to the area of Woods Drive in the Ancramdale hamlet for a report of a man attempting to burn down structures, July 23 at 12:05 a.m. Troopers first located the caller, who reported that Mr. Harasymczuk had allegedly illegally forced entry into the victim’s home, and forced the victim to provide motorized transport to the first fire scene.

The victim was able to drive away, and call for help while Mr. Harasymczuk allegedly set fire to a camper. The fire was located and extinguished by troopers using fire extinguishers.

While conducting a search for Mr. Harasymczuk, troopers found a fully-engulfed barn fire on a farm at 93 County Route 3, which was also allegedly set by Mr. Harasymczuk.

The Ancram Fire Company was called to the scene at 1:40 a.m., and led the effort to extinguish the flames. Taghkanic firefighters responded mutual aid and the Community Rescue Squad was also called.

Mr. Harasymczuk was subsequently found coming out of the nearby woods wearing no clothes. He was taken into custody without further incident.

State Police Senior Investigator Eric Barnes told The Columbia Paper this week that the destroyed barn contained a shop with tools, a few tractors and was used for storage. He said there were some heifers on the property that were not hurt.

The burned barn, one of several structures on the property, stood closest to a small two-story house also located there until last month.

On June 25 at 4:14 a.m. the Ancram Fire Company and Community Rescue Squad were summoned to that fire scene also at 93 County Route 3, and found the house burned almost to the ground upon their arrival. According to information from Columbia County 911, the Community Rescue Squad took someone to Columbia Memorial Hospital from the fire scene. Firefighters were back in service at 9:06 a.m.

That fire remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, but because the house was a total loss, it could not be determined whether the fire was accidental or set, according to Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Wayne Lopez.

Mr. Harasymczuk rented the property at 93 County Route 3 with his brother, the lieutenant said by phone this week, but Mr. Harasymczuk was the only person who lived in the house.

He is in the farming business with his two brothers and a step-brother, said SP Sr. Inv. Barnes, who said the farm has multiple owners. Henry and Fred Harasymczuk are listed in the Ancram Business Directory as purveyors of hay at the 93 County Route 3 address.

A dairy barn also used to sit on the County Route 3 property, but burned down about 20 years ago, if memory serves this reporter.

The fire caused the Harasymczuk family to move their dairy herd to another barn off County Route 8 in the center of the Ancramdale hamlet behind The Farmer’s Wife and post office.

Mr. Harasymczuk was arraigned before Justice Richard Christensen in Clermont Court, and was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He is next scheduled to appear in Ancram Court July 29 at 2 p.m.

State Police and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigated at the barn fire scene along with County Fire Coordinators and the Cause and Origin team. Firefighters were still on scene as of 7:14 a.m.

Fire engines, still on the scene, and charred rubble are pictured in the fire aftermath. Photo courtesy of Ancram Fire Chief David Boice

A call to Ancram Fire Chief David Boice was not returned by press deadline Wednesday.

To contact Diane Valden email

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