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Teens Caught In Woods After Manhunt, String Of Thefts, Putnam Sheriff Says

Owen McDonald and David Lussier, both of Putnam Valley
Owen McDonald and David Lussier, both of Putnam Valley Photo Credit: Putnam County Sheriff's Office

PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. --  Three local teens were nabbed in connection with a string of thefts including vehicles and handguns in Putnam Valley, according to Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith

The three were arrested following a manhunt in a wooded area of the town on Saturday, Oct. 28, said Capt. William McNamara.

Events started to unfold early on Saturday morning, as the Sheriff’s Office began receiving multiple telephone calls from residents in the Wildwood Knolls neighborhood in Putnam Valley, McNamara said.

Several callers reported that their vehicles, parked in their driveways, had been broken into sometime during the night. One victim reported that a detached garage on an Evergreen Way property was broken into and two motorcycles had been stolen. Another resident reported that his loaded handgun had been stolen from his vehicle, he added.

Sheriff’s deputies and investigators responded to the area and began to interview victims and canvass the neighborhood. At about 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, one of the larceny victims noticed two males riding around the neighborhood on an all-terrain vehicle and recognized them as suspects in the thefts.

The victim called 911 and followed the two males in his vehicle. The two suspects attempted to elude the following vehicle and the two vehicles collided. The teens then jumped off the ATV and a brief confrontation ensued between them and the victim before they ran into a wooded area, McNamara said.

A search for the suspects ensued, involving 12 sheriff’s deputies and investigators, a K-9 unit, and a New York State Police helicopter.

Authorities, working with the Putnam County 911 Center, issued a mass telephone call to residents in the area alerting them about the search, McNamara said.

Sheriff’s investigators, through witness interviews and security camera video recordings, were able to identify the teens. An investigator called the cell phone of one of the suspects and was able to persuade him and his accomplice to come out of the woods and surrender to authorities, he added.

The pair emerged from the woods along Tinker Hill Road and were taken into custody. The stolen handgun and ammunition were later recovered from the woods, and the two stolen motorcycles were also located.

The two suspects who had fled into the woods were identified as David Lussier, 17, and Owen McDonald, 16, both of Putnam Valley.

Lussier was charged with two counts of grand larceny and two counts of criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies.

McDonald was charged with grand larceny and with two separate counts of criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies.

As the investigation went on, a third suspect was discovered to be in possession of other stolen property, including a motorcycle which had not yet been reported stolen and a rifle that had been reported stolen from a car in the Floridan Estates subdivision a few weeks ago, McNamara said.

The third suspect,  a 15-year- old male, was taken into custody and charged with two separate counts of criminal possession of stolen property, both felonies. The stolen motorcycle and rifle were both recovered.

Investigators obtained a judicial search warrant and searched the residence of one of the suspects. In that search, investigators recovered numerous items of property that had been reported stolen from vehicle break-ins in the area over the last several months, he added.

Lussier and McDonald were arraigned before Putnam Valley Town Justice Gina Capone and both were remanded to the county jail in lieu of $2,500.00 cash bail or $5,000.00 bail bond. The 15-year- old was released to his mother, to await action in Family Court.

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