Imagine waking up from a night of sleep to discover you were missing some of your valuable belongings. That's what happened to over a dozen homes in Schenectady's North Side. Now police say they have the man responsible. Innae Park reports.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -– “The tension in the north side obviously was quite severe and rightfully so,” said Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett, describing the atmosphere of Schenectady’s North Side after weeks of burglaries.
However, that fear has been relieved as 22-year-old Joshua Wise of Avenue B confesses to almost a dozen burglaries in the city. Wise has been charged with eight counts of burglary in the second degree, two counts of attempted burglary, other larceny related charges, as well as resisting arrest.
Bennett said, “To go to bed at night and everything is fine, and to get up in the morning and realize that everything is now gone, it's offensive.”
“Someone coming through the window, God, that's a terrifying thought, isn't it?” mused resident Jose Perez. “Once I found out there was a break in, I actually put a piece of wood on one of my doors, because I have two entrance doors, just as an extra bit of security.”
The string of burglaries began in late June, with the homes hit while the residents were inside, sleeping. Just in the first weeks of August, 18 different houses fell victim. Police say most of the stolen items were small electronics and a bit of cash.
Concerning electronics, Bennett said, “They're flipped almost immediately. Either through [the website] Craigslist or other people on the street, everyone takes their little cut.”
Due to the nature of these sales, police were also able to arrest Shani Payton and Hussain Hussain, who were allegedly caught trying to sell the stolen items. Hussain works at the secondhand store “Sain’s Discount.”
While they didn't receive them directly from Wise, police say they're still to blame.
“All of the secondhand dealers have a responsibility to look into these things,” Bennett said.
Wise has denied being a part of at least five of the burglaries, so investigators are still following a few other leads. The commissioner says there are two to three other suspects they are investigating.
The good news?
“This certainly closes the majority of the cases we had,” said Bennett.
Both the people and police want to keep it that way.
Perez said, “It's a wonderful neighborhood. Nice, residential community.”
In addition, while executing a search warrant at Wise’s home, police say they took his roommate, Miguel Beltran, into custody. They say Beltran was wanted on an active bench warrant for trespassing on Union College’s campus.