A tip from an alert resident helped Gloversville police this morning stop an alleged burglary ring responsible for at least three break-ins in the city and possibly others in the county, officials said.
Charged with burglary were:
• Austin Syzdek, 18, of 39 West St.
• Jason Moyer, 20, of 39 West St.
• Amy Johnson, 22, of 14 William St.
• Joseph Ryle, 19, of 35 Third St.
Syzdek and Moyer were also charged with criminal mischief and grand larceny. Johnson is accused of driving the suspects from the burglaries and returning at a later time to transport stolen property.
Gloversville Capt. of Detectives Donald VanDeusen said police were able to catch the four people immediately after Syzdek, Moyer and Johnson allegedly broke into Cobble Pond Deli, 207 West Fulton St., shortly after midnight today, based on a call from a resident of the area.
The resident had observed a suspicious vehicle "circling the block and parking in strategic locations," suggesting someone in the vehicle was acting as a look out and waiting to pick someone up, VanDeusen said.
"This put the officer on patrol on alert," he added.
The officer was responding to an alarm from the deli, activated by the alleged break-in. The officer went to the deli and found it had been illegally entered but found no one inside. Acting on the tip, the officer then located the vehicle a short distance away and stopped it. The officer interviewed the occupants, noticed some items and asked to search it. The occupants agreed to a consent search and the officer allegedly found a hammer, pry bar, walkie talkie radio and others tools, VanDeusen said.
"This was good police work by the patrol officers who responded and by the detectives who continued and completed the investigation," VanDeusen said. "It was textbook work."
VanDeusen also praised the resident for reporting the tip to police. "What the tip did was it changed the outcome from officers responding and finding no one there and having nothing really to go on, to having a vehicle description a short distance away," he said.
VanDeusen encouraged residents to make similar tips. "We are asking people to observe and report to us. In this case, it paid off," he said.
Police said the ring is alleged to have broken into Dave's Sports Bar on West Main Street on Sunday and into a South Judson resident on Jan. 30. In the latter case, the suspects allegedly took firearms, laptop computers and prescription drugs. Police have recovered the firearms, which were sold to an individual known to the suspects.
VanDeusen said police are investigating whether the suspects are also responsible for committing other burglaries in the city and the town of Johnstown.
"This was an active burglary ring. They were going out on a nightly basis or a couple times a week and looking for easy targets," VanDeusen said. "They weren't very good in what they did; they were setting off alarms. In some respects, they were incompetent," he said.
VanDeusen said the suspects took items to support drug habits and for thrills. "One indicated that," he said.
Police suspected an active burglary ring in the city based on police call traffic. "We monitor calls from the previous night and this was something just jumping on radar screen. We were having people going from place to place and not being shy about setting off alarms," VanDeusen said.