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Binghamton man arrested for stealing computers from Walmart

ATHENS TOWNSHIP — A Binghamton man is in the Bradford County Jail after Athens Township Police arrested him in connection with multiple cases of retail theft from a Valley business back in 2016 and 2017.

Newell A. Turkow, 28, has been charged with retail theft, a third-degree felony, and was remanded to county jail in lieu of $25,000 bail by Magisterial District Justice Larry Hurley on Monday.

The original incident took place on Dec. 9, 2016 at the Walmart in Athens Township. A Walmart Asset Protection Associate explained that at approximately 4:23 a.m. two males entered the grocery store-side doors and proceeded to the electronics department.

The suspects allegedly took possession of two HP computers, one valued at $549 and the other at $649. They would then pass all points of sale and exit the store through the grocery doors. The suspects would flee in a blue SUV being driven by a third, unknown individual.

Athens Township Police were notified of a second incident that took place on Dec. 14, 2016 at Walmart. After reviewing the file from the Walmart APA, it was determined that it was the same two suspects as the Dec. 9 theft.

The suspects followed the same path as the first incident as they removed two HP computers — valued at $549 and $649 respectively. The only difference was the getaway car that was used. This time an unknown female used a gray Toyota Corolla to pick up the suspects.

The same Toyota Corolla was suspected to be involved in an earlier incident at the Walmart in Vestal, according to police.

Athens Township Police took another complaint from Walmart on Jan. 27, 2017 with another HP computer stolen from the store.

In this incident, one male suspect entered the store and picked up a computer valued at $649. He would then exit the general merchandise doors, but had failed to remove the “spider wire” from the computer and the alarm went off.

According to police, the suspect began running toward a waiting vehicle and dropped the computer. He picked up the computer and threw it in the trunk. It appeared there was one other male and one female in the car.

Police were able to determine — through the use of pictures and security footage — that the suspect in the third incident was indeed one of the suspects from the original complaint.

Athens Township Police were called to another case of retail theft on March 31, 2017. This time two computers were stolen from Walmart, but officers were able to locate the suspect and made several arrests. One of the males involved was identified as Jason D. Serkiz, who was later confirmed to be one of the suspects from the other three incidents.

Through additional investigation on social media and with assistance from the Asset Protection Associate at the Vestal Walmart, officers were able to identify the other suspect as Turkow.

The investigation revealed Turkow had personally removed $1,098 worth of merchandise on the original two dates. The total cost of the computers allegedly taken by both suspects was $2,396.

A preliminary hearing for Turkow is scheduled for May 28 in front of Judge Hurley.

Sayre speech and debate team performs for school board

SAYRE — The Sayre School Board received special presentations from the sixth grade student council members on their collection drive for the Animal Care Sanctuary and the 2018-2019 Sayre Area Speech and Debate Team during Monday’s meeting.

The sixth grade student council members from the H. Austin Synder Elementary School were able to collect over 1,600 items to donate to the Animal Care Sanctuary located in East Smithfield.

The sixth grade students organized and advertised the collection drive, delivered the donations and spent the day at the sanctuary “learning how to help their community.”

The sixth grade council had also asked the high school student councils to help with the collection drive as well.

Following the presentation by the sixth graders, the 2018-2019 Sayre Area Speech and Debate showcased their skills and presentations to the school board.

Presenting at the board meeting were high school seniors Hannah Heveland and Claire Shaffer, junior Alexandra Garrison, and sophomore Emma Richman.

Heveland is a two-time national qualifier and will be attending nationals in congressional debate. Heveland introduced the team and who was presenting to the school board.

Garrison and Richman were the first performance. The sophomore-junior duo gave a dual interpretation of “The Internet is Distract—OH LOOK A KITTEN!” by Ian McWethy.

“Dual interpretation is an example of an interpretation event where students cut a piece from a story already written. They have to bring the characters and stories just using their voices and postures,” Heveland explained.

The sophomore-junior duo gained quite a few laughs with their performance.

Following the dual interpretation, Shaffer, a three-time national qualifier, gave an informative speech on the science of twins, titled “And They Were Wombmates!”

“Twins are something that intrigue most people, including myself. Being one, I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could, because let’s face it, twins are kind of freaks of nature,” Shaffer said.

After Shaffer’s educational speech to the board, Heveland gave some concluding remarks in the form a resolution to the board.

“The students who have participated on the Sayre Area Speech and Debate Team have gone on to utilize their skills in many future careers. And whereas, it allows students in high school to find their voice and learn how to listen to others and understand different views,” Heveland said. “We’re one of only three schools in Bradford County that have an active speech and debate team. We’ve always greatly appreciate the support of the Sayre Area School District and community.”

“You guys have definitely made us Redskin proud, thank you,” Board president Peter Quattrini said.

Following the presentations by the sixth graders and the speech and debate team, the floor was opened up for any resident or taxpayer wishing to address the board.

Dan Martin, the truck show coordinator for the Annual Tackling Autism Flag Football Game and Big Rigs for Autism, addressed the board.

Martin explained that his family and friends got together and created this football game and truck show in order to raise awareness for autism. All the proceeds for the event go towards helping support individuals and families affected by autism.

“We’ve been doing this for three years now. We’ve finally earned enough money to buy all the surrounding districts a weighted blanket for the special education department or if they have an autism classroom,” Martin said.

Martin also explained that the weighted blanket was for children with sensory issues and weighs about 20 pounds.

“We’d like to donate (the weighted blanket) to you in honor of us,” Martin said.

This year’s annual Tackling Autism Flag Football Game and Big Rigs for Autism is June 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Athens school budget process moves forward

ATHENS — The Athens Area School District Board of Education adopted the proposed final 2019-2020 budget during its meeting on Monday night.

The unanimous vote means the proposed budget of $40,073,376 will be available for public inspection and up for a final vote at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

The school board also approved the hiring of 11 new teachers for the 2019-2020 school year.

Sarah Burger, Paige Hildebrandt, Rachel Howe and Susan Wilcox will be elementary teachers are SRU.

Megan Gilson, Catherine Henning, Aleisha Mosher and Alycia Wheeler have been hired as teachers at Lynch-Bustin Elementary School.

Harlan Rowe Middle School will welcome Lydia Harkness, Alicia Marrone and Kylene Mullen as new teachers next year.

The school district has also hired JB Sullivan as the Supervisor of Athletics and Youth Programs and Jenny Shores as the Director of Human Resources.

In other news:

  • The school board elected board member Lonnie Stethers as treasurer and appointed Pat Barrett as district solicitor.
  • The board rejected a bid for a paving project and will rewrite the request before putting it out for more bidding.

NOTE: For more on JB Sullivan being named the new Supervisor of Athletics and Youth Programs, check out page B1.