Arrests made in Putnam animal hospital burglary

(Original publication: Oct. 12, 2001)

Kent police said the arrests this week of two Putnam County men on felony charges may have solved a series of burglaries of local animal hospitals, where the veterinary medicine ketamine was stolen.

Luke Fusco, 19, of Tattle Hill Lane, Southeast, and Christopher Voelker, 21, of Sussex Road, Kent, are due in Kent Justice Court on Nov. 5 to answer charges filed this week by Kent detectives. Fusco and Voelker were each charged with third-degree burglary, attempted third-degree burglary, and fourth-degree conspiracy after being accused of conspiring with a person less than 16 years old to commit burglary. All are felonies.

The arrests came after a series of burglaries that occurred at businesses on Route 52 on Oct. 5. The first was discovered at 12:30 a.m., when police responding to an alarm at the Carmel Animal Hospital discovered that a window was broken and cash and other items were stolen. At 9:30 a.m. police were called to Excel Printing after the manager discovered that a burglar alarm was tampered with and about $200 had been stolen. The same morning, employees of the Animal Hospital of Kent reported that the alarm system had been sabotaged and $3,000 worth of medications stolen. Among the missing drugs was a quantity of ketamine, a party drug known as "Special K," which is abused for the dream-like states and hallucinations it induces.

The same morning as the burglaries were discovered, Officer Thomas Carroll stopped a car with a broken headlight on Route 52 at about 3 a.m. The driver, police said, was Voelker. An hour later, Fusco was spotted walking along Route 52 by Carroll and Officer Raymond Beauchesne, who stopped to question him.

On Oct. 8 Beauchesne saw Fusco walking along Route 52 with an underaged girl about 9 p.m. Two hours later Beauchesne stopped Voelker's car on Route 52 near the Animal Hospital of Kent and cited him for having the broken headlight.

That routine police work by Carroll and Beauchesne, coupled with an investigation by Detective Gerald Locascio, resulted in police charging Fusco and Voelker in connection with the Oct. 5 burglary of the Animal Hospital of Kent.

"It was good police work by all the officers," Lt. Alex DiVernieri said yesterday.

Police are continuing their investigation into the Carmel Animal Hospital and Excel Printing burglaries and said Fusco and Voelker have not been ruled out as suspects. Kent Chief Donald Smith said police learned that surrounding areas have also been plagued with veterinarian office burglaries. These include veterinary clinics in Southeast and Pawling. The Animal Hospital of Kent and the Carmel Animal Hospital were closed yesterday afternoon. Messages left at the businesses were not returned.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2001