Teens arrested for trashing Cobleskill Diner


By Jim Poole

Cobleskill Police charged two teenagers with trashing and burglarizing the Cobleskill Diner and the adjacent Morlang Law Office early Saturday morning.
The two 17-year-olds, one from Summit and the other from Cobleskill were charged with an array of felonies and misdemeanors after the 2am spree.
Police are withholding the teens’ names because of their ability to get youthful offender status, according to Chief Larry Travis.
The case at first appeared to be a simple driving-while-intoxicated arrest. Police gave the following account:
At 1:57am, Officer Steve Winegard stopped a pickup truck, with the Summit teen driving, for traffic violations on North Grand Street.
Police found the driver to be intoxicated and released the passenger, the Cobleskill teen, at that time.
After charging the driver with DWI, police suspected the pick-up may have been stolen. They phoned the owner and found that the truck had been stolen from the Campus Drive area.
“The vehicle hadn’t been reported stolen yet, so it was treated strictly as a DWI at first,” Sergeant Rich Bialkowski said. “But then we thought the truck might have been stolen.”
Investigating further, police discovered that the two had been involved in break-ins at the diner and law office. They then picked up the passenger who had been released.
Sergeant Bialkowski said the two smashed the window and door of the diner to gain entry.
“The motive appears to be to get money from the diner,” he said, adding that the two apparently had no connection to the diner or law office.
Once inside the two teens smashed computers, a cash register and a desk and then broke through a door to enter the law office, Sergeant BialkowskI said.
They also broke a shelf and scattered jelly containers around the diner, according to owner Denene McLaughlin, who gave a rough estimate of $7,500 in damages.
Police found stolen items in the pickup.
The items were personal that were kept in a bank bag, Ms. McLaughlin said.
“They didn’t take any money. They just came in to vandalize the place,” she said.
Attorney Craig Morlang said only a computer and keyboard were broken in his office.
Police charged the teens with fourth-degree grand larceny, a class E felony; two counts of third-degree burglary, class D felonies; fifth-degree conspiracy, a class A misdemeanor; and third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Additionally, police charged the Summit teen with driving while intoxicated and driving with a blood-alcohol count of .08 percent or greater.
The Cobleskill youth was also charged with second-degree criminal mischief, a class D felony.
Both were arraigned in Cobleskill Village Court and ordered held in the Schoharie County Jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond each. They were to return to court Tuesday evening.
Police are looking for a third suspect and expect to make an arrest soon.
The businesses, meanwhile, cleaned up the mess and went to work.
Even though Ms. McLaughlin learned of the damage after 2am, the diner was open as usual a few hours later Saturday morning.
“I said, ‘Duct tape the windows and get the coffee going,’ ” she said, laughing. “We didn’t have the cash register working, but that didn’t stop us from serving eggs.”
For Mr. Morlang, it was business as usual on Monday.
“The police were great. They were right on it,” he said. “But we weren’t hit too hard.”