Robbery/Grand Larceny Arrest


The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office reports on January 10, 2023, at approximately 3:00pm, Investigators arrested Carl J. Clemons, age 35 of Cortland, NY, following a Robbery investigation. The investigation began on September 21, 2022 when Seneca County Sheriff Deputies and Investigators responded to a business in the Town of Tyre for the reported Robbery. At that time, it was discovered that a male victim was physically assaulted and had a large sum of money stolen from him. As a result of the investigation Carl J. Clemons has been charged with Robbery 3rd (Class D Felony), Grand Larceny 2nd (Class C Felony), Grand Larceny 3rd (Class D Felony), Menacing 3rd (Class B Misdemeanor), Criminal Mischief 4th (Class A Misdemeanor) and Harassment 2nd (Violation). Clemons was arraigned at Seneca County CAP Court where he was released on pre-trial release. He is scheduled to reappear at the Tyre Town Court on January 24, 2023.

Welfare Fraud Arrest

On January 3, 2023, at about 3:50pm, Seneca County Sheriff’s Investigators arrested Grace F. Griffith, age 32, of 6771 County Road 129, Romulus, New York, on charges related to a welfare fraud investigation. It is alleged that Griffith failed to disclose total household income while receiving monetary benefits from Seneca County. Subsequently, Griffith was charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree, and Misuse of Food Stamps. Griffith was issued an appearance ticket to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on January 18, 2023 at 5pm.

Aggravated Family Offense/Criminal Contempt 1st Arrest

On January 2, 2023, at about 1:30pm, Seneca County Sheriff’s Investigators arrested Braydon M. Edwards, age 31, of 159 Waterloo Street, Clyde, New York, on charges of Aggravated Family Offense and Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, both Class E Felonies. It is alleged that Edwards subjected a victim to verbal threats and intimidation by telephone calls and text messages while a Class B order of protection was in place prohibiting him from such conduct. It is alleged that Edwards committed these crimes while confined as an inmate in the Seneca County Correctional Facility. Edwards was arraigned in the Seneca County Centralized Arraignment Court and was remanded back to the Correctional Facility. Edwards is to reappear in the Romulus Town Court at a later date and a new order of protection was issued prohibiting Edwards from having any contact with the victim.

Shop with a Sheriff Event


The Seneca County Deputy Sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association conducted its eighth annual “Shop with a Sheriff” event on Saturday, December 3rd, 2022. As in past years, members of the PBA escorted ten children from across Seneca County that were chosen to participate in the event. Members of the Seneca County Deputy Sheriffs PBA volunteered their time to take the children Christmas shopping at the Seneca Falls/Waterloo Walmart. Following the shopping spree, a pizza lunch was generously provided by the Ovid’s Pat’s Pizzeria. After lunch, there was a guest appearance from Santa Claus. “It truly warms our hearts to see the excitement on the faces of the children when they arrive to the event. It does, in addition, help bridge the relationship gap between community members and the Law Enforcement Officers who serve the community,” said Seneca County Deputy Sheriff’s PBA President Dan Jacobsen.

This event is funded by both Sheriff’s Office employee unions through the “No Shave November” and “No Shave December” authorized by Sheriff Luce. In addition, the event is further funded by numerous sponsors. Without these sponsors, this event would not be possible.

The Deputy Sheriff’s PBA would like to thank the following sponsors for their generosity and assistance:

The Protectors LEMC
South Seneca School District Staff
Romulus School District Staff
Waterloo School District Staff
Summit Federal Credit Union
Seneca Falls/Waterloo Walmart
Pat’s Pizzeria
William and Rachel Mehlenbacher and many other anonymous donations were made.

The Deputy Sheriff’s PBA would also like to recognize the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office Administration for their continued support of this program.

NOTE: Out of respect for privacy for the families, the PBA does not publish any photos that depict the faces of the children.

Burglary Arrest

Seneca County Sheriff W. Timothy Luce reports on November 17, 2022, at about 4:57am, the Seneca County E-911 Center received a call for a burglary in progress at a residence on Route 96 in the Town of Covert. Upon the arrival of Sheriff’s Deputies, the suspect had fled the scene on foot into a wooded area and was possibly armed. A perimeter was set up and a hyper-reach was sent out by the E-911 Center for residents to “shelter in place” within close proximity of the residence. While Sheriff’s Deputies searched the area, a second burglary was discovered at a neighboring residence. At that scene, the suspect had attempted to steal a motor vehicle on the property and had stolen a handgun. At about 7:59am, Sheriff’s Deputies placed the suspect in custody after he entered another residence in the immediate area. The stolen handgun was also recovered in close proximity to the scenes after it was detected by the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.

As a result of the investigation, Sheriff’s Investigators charged Leandre D. Lovett, age 29, no permanent address, Ithaca, New York, with the following:
• Burglary in the Second Degree (two counts)
• Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree
• Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree
• Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree
• Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree
• Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree
• Petit Larceny

Lovett was held at the Seneca County Correctional Facility and will be arraigned in the Seneca County Centralized Arraignment Court on November 17, 2022 at 7pm. Lovett is currently on New York State Parole supervision.

The New York State Police, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office, Ithaca Police Department, and Trumansburg Police Department assisted in the investigation.

If any residents in the Town of Covert would like to report any suspicious activity or additional information in relation to this case, they are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division at (315) 220-3240.

Menacing Arrest

Seneca County Sheriff W. Timothy Luce reports on November 14, 2022, at about 10:56am, Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a residence in the Village of Ovid for the report of a male that had been making threats of self-harm and possibly armed. Upon arrival of Sheriff’s Deputies, the male had fled the residence and was believed to be on foot in the Village of Ovid. Due to the male’s erratic behavior, threats, and close proximity to the school, Sheriff’s Deputies coordinated with officials from the South Seneca Central Schools and made a request to have the school placed in lockdown. Sheriff’s Deputies also alerted downtown businesses and conducted a search for the male. A short time later, the male was located behind a business and the male exited a wooded area and immediately threated to kill a Sheriff’s Office Road Patrol Sergeant while swinging a piece of lumber towards the officer. The male suspect then fled the scene on foot and ultimately ran into moving traffic on Route 96 in the Town of Ovid. The male was taken into custody after the brief foot pursuit. The male was identified as Hernes Valencia-Arboleda, age 25, of 7188 Main Street, Ovid New York. He was charged with Menacing in the Second Degree and was released on an appearance ticket to appear in the Ovid Town Court at a later date.
The New York State Park Police and New York State Police also assisted at the scene.

Welfare Fraud Arrests

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office reports Investigators arrested six people in relation to welfare fraud charges on November 2, 2022. The arrests stemmed from joint investigations between Sheriff’s Investigators and the Seneca County Division of Human Services.

Arrested were the following:

Katherine A. McConaughy, age 65, of 2345 Lower Lake Road, Seneca Falls, New York, was charged with Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree and Misuse of Food Stamps. It is alleged that McConaughy failed to disclose household income while receiving monetary benefits from Seneca County. McConaughy was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on November 16, 2022, at 6pm.

Cherie E. Smith, age 33, of 510 Route 318, Phelps, New York, was charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and Misuse of Food Stamps. It is alleged that Smith failed to disclose household income while receiving monetary benefits from Seneca County. Smith was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on November 16, 2022, at 6pm.

Robin S. Pearson, age 54, of 41 Church Street, Apartment A5, Waterloo, New York, was charged with three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. It is alleged that Pearson filed false information when attempting to gain monetary benefits from Seneca County. Pearson was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on November 16, 2022, at 6pm.

Bethany A. Arnold, age 33, of 941 Waterloo/Geneva Road, Lot 55, Waterloo, New York, was charged with Misuse of Food Stamps and Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree. It is alleged that Arnold failed to disclose household income while receiving monetary benefits from Seneca County. Arnold was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on November 16, 2022, at 6pm.

Sarah R. McClanahan, age 34, of 206 East Williams Street, Waterloo, New York, was charged with Misuse of Food Stamps and Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree. It is alleged that McClanahan failed to disclose household income while receiving monetary benefits from Seneca County. McClanahan was released on an appearance ticket and is to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on November 16, 2022, at 6pm.

Colter J. Morrison, age 36, of 411 West Miller Street, Newark, New York, was arrested on a Bench Warrant for failing to appear in the Waterloo Village Court on charges of Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Morrison was taken into custody by the Newark Police Department and turned over to the Sheriff’s Office. Morrison was held in the Seneca County Correctional Facility and arraigned in the Seneca County Centralized Arraignment Court. Morrison is to reappear in the Waterloo Village Court at a later date.

Narcotics Arrests

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office reports, on October 24th, 2022, members of the Narcotics Unit arrested Edward Lee Cottman, age 48, and Ronald R. Hawker, age 68, both of Waterloo, NY. Cottman was charged with one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the third degree. Hawker was charged with Conspiracy in the fourth degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the seventh degree. It is alleged that Cottman sold crack cocaine to Hawker while in the Town of Waterloo. In furtherance of the investigation, Cottman was found to be in possession of 30 grams of cocaine and approximately $11,000 in U.S. Currency. Cottman was arraigned at CAP and Hawker was released on appearance tickets. The Sheriff’s Office reports that the investigation is still active and further arrests are forthcoming. Sheriff’s Investigators were assisted by the Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, Geneva Police Department, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, Canandaigua Police Department, and New York State Police.

Criminal Possession of a Weapon/Criminal Contempt Arrest

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office reports on October 28th, 2022, members of the Narcotics Unit arrested Johnathan Swick, age 30 of 7952 County Road 153, Ovid, New York, for two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the third degree and one count of Criminal Contempt in the second degree. It is alleged that Swick possessed a .50 caliber assault weapon and a large capacity ammunition feeding device while he was the defendant in a valid class “A” order of protection. Said order of protection barred him from possessing firearms. Swick was arraigned at CAP and released on his own recognizance. Sheriff’s Investigators were assisted by members of the New York State Police.

Update to Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Office reports on October 13, 2022, at about 10:50am, Deputies and Investigators responded to the area of State Route 318 just west of Gravel Road in the Town of Tyre for the report of a personal injury accident involving three vehicles. A westbound vehicle being operated by Deborah L. Patsos, age 75, of 214 Route 414, Waterloo, New York, crossed the center line on a curve and struck an eastbound tractor trailer head-on. The tractor trailer was being operated by Vitaliy Pratsovnik, age 44, of 6482 State Road, Apartment E12, Parma, Ohio. Pratsovnik attempted to take evasive action to avoid the collision, but was unsuccessful. Following the initial collision, Patsos’ vehicle was struck by another vehicle that was traveling westbound on Route 318. The third vehicle was operated by Michael A. Janes, age 58, of 8205 Dixon Road, Camden, New York. Due to the severity of injuries sustained in the accident, Patsos was pronounced deceased at the scene by Seneca County Coroner Keith Jay. The other two drivers were checked over by North Seneca Ambulance at the scene, but declined medical attention. All three vehicles suffered extensive damage and were towed from the scene. The Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to determine the cause of the accident.

The Clyde Fire Department, Seneca Falls Fire Department, Waterloo Fire Department, Border City Fire Department, and Seneca County Fire Coordinator’s Office also responded to the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office was additionally assisted by Seneca County E-911, Seneca Falls Police Department, New York State Police, and the New York State Department of Transportation. A portion of State Route 318 was shut down in both directions for several hours while the scene was being investigated and cleared. The accident remains under investigation.