In this story you’ll discover how a malicious, well-executed kick transformed the acts of a neighbor recycling stuff on her own property into an act of larceny as defined by officer Haight of the Herkimer Police Department.
On July 15th at approximately 9:21 PM, I was placing a few items in the recycle bin that I keep outside in my driveway here in the Village of Herkimer. As I was finishing up and about to return to the house, something struck the back of my legs. I turned around to find a soccer ball at my feet.
I picked the ball up and approached my house. Nearby voices in the dark called for its return. As with many parents whose children do something they shouldn’t, I refused to hand the ball over. My driveway is very narrow and virtually inaccessible to normal ballplayers; the ball could only have entered it if had been kicked from across the street, not down it. It was obviously part of an ongoing and escalating pattern of harassment directed against my husband and I. Some neighbors strongly opposed our driveway security camera that records the stream of nighttime traffic. The Bartons of 333 Pleasant Avenue, who a regional DEA agent referred to in a phone conversation as “the porch people” were especially outraged by this camera presence.
1. At 9:24 PM., according to our video recording, Herkimer Village’s Officer Haight, appeared at our door.
Officer Haight said our neighbors, Douglas and Joyce Barton, had reported us for taking their ball and demanded to know if this was true. I admitted I’d taken their ball and explained why. Officer Haight was unmoved by my explanation and advised that if our neighbor wished to press charges, he’d “have no choice” but to enforce the law regarding larceny. The threat of arrest hung heavy in the night air. He expressed his opinion that we were in the midst of an ongoing feud with our neighbors. (We are, in the sense that the Allies were feuding with Nazi Germany.)
Officer Haight confessed ignorance of any of the multiple acts of vandalism, mob menacing and break-ins we’ve suffered over the past year, at least one orchestrated by the Bartons. I was thus accused of victimizing the Bartons by withholding their ball, which had just been used to assault me.
Officer Haight demanded to know the ball’s location. My husband said it had migrated to an adjacent empty yard. Officer Haight’s supervisor then arrived and the two went off to fetch the ball for the Bartons, who were consumed with mirth as they lounged watching from their porch at 333 Pleasant Avenue. The Herkimer police officers respectfully returned the ball to the Bartons and departed – our harassers were treated with deference while we were disdained.
2. Only afterwards did I discover this is a typical ploy used by thugs to harass and intimidate their neighbors, sometimes aided by allied police officers illegally acting under the color of law. The object is to have a victim cited and fined for petty larceny by police, hoping that the neighbor then won’t complain when the thugs trespass on their property to stash contraband, vandalize it, menace them or disturb the peace. It’s the dim mindset of social parasites who spent their brief school years in behavior remediation classes. The remedy, according to attorneys, is to demonstrate harassment by keeping security cameras on the street. This we will do. (Probably not the outcome our neighbors desired. )
I was dumbfounded that Officer Haight attempted to characterize my removing the ball with which I’d been assaulted as an act of larceny, when it was clearly an act of self-defense. He seemed ignorant that a condition of larceny is that there be an intent to steal. My intent was:
1. to place my recyclables in my bin and return inside to watch True Detective;
2. To avoid being ridiculed by neighbors and hit with their expertly aimed balls;
3. To avoid having neighbors continue to trespass on my property.
I never play ball. I spend my time hiking, writing and mending the myriad of worn out portions of my dilapidated and ancient (yet adorable ) Herkimer Village home.
In the past year due to neighbor trespass, break-ins and vandalism, we’ve had to expend resources on security systems and cameras, rather than on our home’s aging infrastructure.
My husband and I have been so undeserved by the Herkimer Village police that it borders on depraved indifference. Notably,
1. a direct statement by a Herkimer Village police officer that that there’s no New York State law restricting the gathering of a menacing mob of 30—40 in front of one’s home, and that the police aren’t required to disperse such a belligerent gathering. And of course,
2. The unblushing statement by a Herkimer police officer that I appeared to be guilty of larceny because I removed an old ball with which I’d been deliberately struck while putting out the recyclables at a bin in my driveway. (To be larceny the property “must have been lost or mislaid…or delivered under a mistake.” As it was used in assault, it wasn’t delivered under a mistake but deliberately and with intent to harass and harm.)
Police who aid and abet the victimization of peaceful retirees by neighbors who act criminally, and make ill-informed, self-serving and egregious statements, are at the very least in need of remedial training.