Police Take Down Pleasant Ave Gangbangers

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Stephen Ames Berry

Police bust Herkimer gangbangers
4.5.20 Herkimer and State Police bust gangbangers at Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Ave.

On 4.5, in a dramatic late-hours take down, Herkimer and state police took two drug gangbangers into custody.  This followed a confrontation between Kyle Stone of 332 Pleasant, a runner for the Stanley Sykes gang, two of his fellow gang members and police. Stone was able to stash his bulging backpack in his mother’s house before fleeing the scene.  As Stone likes to serenade his neighbors with “I’m gonna sell crack and until I die.,” I assume his backpack was laden with drugs, ready for wee-hours trafficking throughout our pastoral village. The trio  and other gang members are a familiar late night sight on the front steps of Kyle’s mom’s house, itself part of a Yuletide gift by landlord Jay Smith to Herkimer. 

Herkimer Resisting Arrest
4.5.20 What resisting arrest looks like.
Herkimer gangbanger arrested
Herkimer police escort first of two Pleasant Avenue gangbangers to police vehicle.
arrested gangbanger taken away
Herkimer police escort second Pleasant Avenue gangbangers to police vehicle.

Stone, like other petty criminals, has been taking full advantage of New York’s new catch-and-release bail law. Many of them are let free to run amok while awaiting trial. Happily, that law has been modified in this year’s legislation. It’s only a matter of time before local scofflaws get to check out the accommodations at our new, empty county jail, complete with that new jail smell.

Here’s the video of the takedown. 

Video Timeline of Arrests  (minutes) 4.5.20 at 332 Pleasant Ave.

0:01 – 3:10 Kyle Stone and fellow gangbangers on porch at landlord Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Ave. Herkimer rental. Kyle wearing large backpack
3:11 First police units arrive. (State police)
3:31 Herkimer PD unit arrives.
4:00 Gangbangers, led by Kyle, grow more belligerent and confrontational.
4:13 Kyle shows officers where the property line is.
5:36 More officers arrive. Gang appears to be taunting them.
7:30 Kyle belligerently waving his cellphone. Gang appears defiant, hostile, confrontational.
9:24 Kyle removes his backpack. It goes off camera.
9:37 Woman neighbor appears. Tries to get Kyle to deescalate. Confrontation continues.
10:56 Gangbangers go into house.
11:23 Kyle (red shirt) returns to porch. (No backpack.)
12:00 More state police arrive. Kyle belligerent.
12:31 All gangbangers back on porch. Kyle leads in hurling defiance.
13:20 Led by Herkimer officers, police storm the porch, make arrests. Kyle hides in house.
15:17 As friends arrested, Kyle flees from rear of house, down driveway between 332/334 Pleasant.
16:39 Kyle taunts police, then runs off toward Protection Ave. Police pursue.
18:10 Kyle’s mother cleans up.
18:25 Separate clip: Unhappy gangbangers taken away.

(4.16.20 – Added photo “What resisting arrest looks like.”)

Joe Handy Tenant Kim Vargis Hosts Scofflaws Ignoring Social Distancing As Countywide Epidemic Looms

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Stephen Ames Berry

partying social distancing scofflaws
Partying along Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue as countywide epidemic looms.

Last Saturday, as the coronavirus death toll soared in New York and authorities begged people to practice social distancing, our scofflaw Herkimer neighbors partied hearty. Here’s a video of landlord Joe Handy’s tenant Kim Vargis hosting a party that spilled over from their front porch onto the street.

Except for these asocial cretins, Pleasant Avenue was otherwise empty,  as was the village. Most folks in Herkimer are decent sorts who care about their health as well as that of others. They stayed home as asked. Then we have this lot. Sadly, according to news reports, they’re not atypical. And so the deadly virus spreads even faster, unseen until it strikes and people die. Perhaps even some of these mindless immortals.

Their depraved indifference endangers their families, their friends and everyone else in Herkimer. The New York Times noted that

“70 percent of all counties in the United States — making up 94 percent of the country’s population — are likely to have epidemics. 

Herkimer On Borderline Of Epidemic

If a county has 40 or more known cases, the probability of community transmission is 100%. As of 4/6, Herkimer County had 35 known cases of Covid-19, including 3 deaths.  One person with the Covid-19 may be expected to pass it on to two more people.  Herkimer’s right on the border of 100% transmission.  Scofflaws like those on Pleasant Avenue may well have put us over the top for a epidemic.

The grandparents of many of the people in this video probably went away for years to fight the Second World War.  Kim Vargis is proud that her husband Joel Vargis Sr. is a veteran. Yet she and Pleasant Avenue neighbors couldn’t even avoid partying for a few months when their country called. 

Absent social conscience, fear can work: there’s now a $1,000 state-wide fine for violating social distancing regulations. Oneida County’s enforcing it. Well past time for Herkimer County to stop gently chiding people to not kill their families and neighbors.  While there’s still time.

328 Pleasant Avenue Tenants Practicing Social Distancing

Our Pleasant Avenue neighbors do know how to maintain social distance: here are the hosts of Saturday’s neighborhood get-together, Kim Vargis and some of her family, a few days later, enjoying themselves quietly at home.  It may take some motivation, but everyone can practice safe social distancing.

good social distancing Herkimer

328 Pleasant Avenue tenants mastering social distancing