Robbery suspect arrested on-site at Fred’s

Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:43 am

James L. Smith mug 10-18.psd

James L. Smith, 58, of Albany, was arrested early Saturday morning, by Albany Police Department Officer Jeremy Ferguson who was answering a call of a burglary in progress.

Albany Police Officer Ferguson said the burglary investigation began that morning when an alarm went off at Fred’s around 2 a.m.

“There was a vehicle there and I was about to run the plate and a guy came out from behind the dumpsters,” Ferguson said. “He had a bunch of paper towels and he dropped them. I went over to search him and to make a long story short, he had gained entry through the back door.”

Ferguson said Smith allegedly took a couple of pins off the door and entered Fred’s by pulling the bottom of the door up enough to squeeze through.

“He got $61 dollars worth of paper towels and tissues. He is a convicted felon and he had a loaded 45 pistol in the front seat of his vehicle,” Ferguson said. “I automatically charged him with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and with burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the second degree, and theft by unlawful taking under $500.”

Ferguson said this isn’t the first burglary of the year, in fact, both the city and county have had a string of thefts and Ferguson believes this is just the beginning for the year.

“We’ve had some storage units broken into, some homes and of course it’s starting to get that time of the year,” Ferguson said. “From October 1 to Christmas it will be an uprise in breakins. We are starting to see quite a bit.”

The investigation is still on going by the Albany Police Department and Ferguson is hopeful it will lead to more arrests.

“I was able to get him (Smith) that night and he is lodged in the Clinton County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond,” Ferguson said.

Fending off burglars

In the upcoming months, homeowners can protect themselves from any breakins with a couple of simple precautions.

“You will be surprised by this and if people would lock their doors, both your home and your vehicle doors that will help,” Ferguson said. “Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle because people do that a lot here in Clinton County.”

Other improvements can be made at home with extra lights around entry ways and maybe the purchase of a small camera or security system.

“Flood lights and things of that nature that you can leave on are good,” Ferguson said. “If you can invest in a camera system, that would be great too. I know not everyone can afford that. Even if it’s something like a trail camera, that would be good. I also think it helps out having your neighbors watching each other. I know in the county and in some remote locations people don’t have that luxury, but here in the city most of the people kind of watch out for each other and their places.”

With the changes in time and as technology gets more advanced, posting to social media while on vacations can create opportunities for burglars.

“Watch what you post to social media,” Ferguson said. “A lot of people will post ‘going on vacation this week’ and what they don’t realize is people actually do pay attention to that and if they are out of town then they will burglarize the properties.”

With the storage units, Ferguson said to make it a priority to check your units often.

“I know most people will lock them and that’s about the only thing you can do,” Ferguson said. “Don’t wait a month to go and check on your stuff. If you can go and check on it periodically that’s fantastic.”

Ferguson said most of the storage breakins he has encountered have been late at night or early in the morning, but the majority of the home breakins have occurred during the day while people are at work.

“It depends on the situation and the location on some of them,” Ferguson said. “Like the storage units, I believe that’s taken place just like how Fred’s was … in the early morning hours when there is not a lot of traffic out. From about one a.m. on, about the only traffic you are going to have is from Keystone with a couple people coming through. A lot of times you aren’t going to have too much traffic.”