Police arrest alleged Cobleskill vandals

Store video cameras allegedly showing three local college students buying a BB gun and eggs helped C

Store video cameras allegedly showing three local college students buying a BB gun and eggs helped Cobleskill police this week arrest them in connection with a vandalism spree that damaged numerous home windows and at least one car.

Michael A. Pelino, Claudio Robustiano Jr. and Anthony Manginelli, all age 18, were charged Wednesday after village police Sgt. Rich Bialkowski said investigators checked with local Wal-Mart staff and found that only one gas-powered BB gun was purchased the night of April 8, when 11 vandalism complaints in the village and nearby town were reported.

With the help of State University of New York at Cobleskill police, images from Wal-Mart store security cameras were matched to the three students arrested, Bialkowski said Thursday.

In addition to seven misdemeanor charges each, including criminal mischief and conspiracy, each student also faces additional charges by state police related to four similar vandalism incidents in the town of Cobleskill.

The most serious village charge of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor, was brought against Pelino, of New Paltz, and Robustiano, of Colonie. They could face up to one year in jail and/or fines if convicted, according to Bialkowski. They were also charged with sixth-degree conspiracy, a class B misdemeanor.

Manginelli, of Fonda, was charged with seven counts of conspiracy.

All three admitted their actions to investigators, Bialkowski said. They were released pending village court action Tuesday.

The students could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Bialkowski said the students were riding around the village and nearby town in a car between 10:30 p.m. and midnight April 8, shooting BB pellets and throwing eggs.

They could also face college disciplinary action before SUNY-Cobleskill’s College Judicial Board, according school officials.

“The college is in the process of reviewing the arrests to determine if student conduct codes apply to the behaviors off campus,” according to a statement released Thursday by Steven Ackerknecht, vice president of student affairs.

“Certain Student Conduct Codes are enforceable when students misbehave in the Cobleskill community. In this situation it appears that conduct codes may have been violated and judicial charges could be filed by an off-campus individual,” Ackerknecht said.

Investigators have not found any connection between the April 8 incidents and early March incidents in downtown Cobleskill that included the breaking of large plate-glass storefront windows on Main Street and reports of attempted car break-ins, according to Bialkowski.

Police still have no leads on those earlier incidents, he said.

Investigators are not even certain the damage to the three large windows on the mostly vacant Newberry Square building at 584 Main St. was deliberate, he said.

The windows have been replaced with sheets of plywood since.

Categories: Schenectady County

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