CELORON – Mayor Scott Schrecengost isn’t just a public official. Apparently he is a crime fighter too.
Town of Ellicott police recently arrested three men and a minor male for allegedly breaking in to unlocked cars and stealing items. But it turns out, it was quick work by Schrecengost that helped police find and take custody of the bandits.
At about 5:30 a.m., Friday, Schrecengost was getting ready for work when the incident started.
“I was getting ready for work, looked out the window and one of them came off the street and was walking up through my yard and I asked him what he thought he was doing and he said he was walking through his yard and I told him it was mine and he better get out,” Schrecengost said. “And then I watched him cut across my yard and go the neighbor’s house and then a second kid come off the roadway and went up to the same neighbor’s house and they were both in the neighbor’s truck while I was standing there. I mean I just couldn’t believe it.”
As the pair was allegedly rooting through the neighbor’s vehicle, the Mayor was on the telephone with Chautauqua County Dispatch about where the police were.
“So, I’m talking to the sheriff’s dispatch while I’m watching these guys root through the neighbor’s truck. So then I just watched them go down the street and then I got to finish getting dressed and headed out the door and followed them down to the Boulevard and then followed them down Jones and Gifford (Avenue) and called dispatch back and tried to find out where the Ellicott Police were because it was change of shift. Knowing that there were four individuals, they all showed up. They had assistance from the Sergeant from Jamestown (who) showed up and also two Ellicott cars.”
Oddly, this isn’t the first time Schrecengost has intervened to help police catch alleged thieves.
“I had, just a couple of years ago, I had a similar incident, but it was at night-time and I watched a guy coming down the street breaking into cars and we nailed him that night. I just went out and followed him down the street and watched the house he went into,” he said.
Charged with larceny were Robert G. Gilbert, 17, Gregory R. Skinner, 34, Michael L. Johnson, 21, and a 16-year-old, all from Jamestown. Police found the suspects and, after interviewing a witness and several victims, determined the four suspects had removed property from several unlocked vehicles.
The four were arraigned on one count each of petit larceny, sixth-degree conspiracy, and six counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Johnson and the minor were also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail.
Police are urging people to keep their vehicles locked.