It was an investigation that spanned more than five years, three counties and involved more than a half dozen law enforcement agencies, but officials believe they've finally caught the man responsible for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goods from local homes. Matt Hunter reports
HUDSON FALLS, N.Y. – “These crimes know no boundaries. This gentleman was going everywhere to commit these burglaries,” Hudson Falls Police Chief Randy Diamond said Wednesday afternoon. “He would just cruise various neighborhoods and break into a home."
After five years of unanswered questions and loose ends, North Country law enforcement agencies believe they've captured and arrested the man responsible for stealing thousands of items from at least dozens of area homes.
"You know, he's a career burglar and sometimes it takes a long time to catch these people," Diamond said.
Late last month following several months of surveillance, police arrested 39-year-old John Suddard outside of an Albany pawn shop.
While they found several duffle bags filled with stolen goods inside his car, it wasn't until they went to his brother's Granville home that they discovered more than 30,000 items packed inside two sheds.
As they displayed those items Wednesday afternoon, authorities estimated their value at upwards of several hundred thousand dollars.
"From what I gather, he basically just drives around and waits for people to leave their driveways,” Hudson Falls Police Detective Scott Gillis said. “The majority of the people that were targeted were elderly people. You pull out of your driveway, you leave and even if you go to the store and you're gone 15 minutes, that's plenty of time for him to get in."
Investigators believed the robbery spree, which involved homes in Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties, began shortly after Suddard was released from a 10-year prison sentence in 2007. That prison sentence resulted from a previous burglary conviction in Whitehall.
Because of his past criminal history, Lieutenant John Durling with the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit says Suddard likely faces life in prison if convicted.
"We had anticipated long ago that when he was doing these burglaries, he was selling the properties off real quick and that's why we couldn't find anything,” Diamond said.
The challenge now is for officers to re-unite these stolen items with their rightful owners.
On January 9th, the items will be put on display at Hudson Falls High School. If you’re last name starts with the letters A through M, you’re asked to show up between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Anyone with last names starting with N through Z is asked to arrive between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Officials urge people to bring a previously written police report or complaint with them.