For Release: Friday, October 14, 2011
DEC Announces Resolution of House Shooting Crime in Andover
Tonawanda Man Pleads Guilty
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Police Lieutenant Frank Lauricella today announced resolution of a house shooting incident that occurred prior to opening weekend of last year's Big Game Season in the Town of Andover, Allegany County.
Mr. Robert Pohrte, 30, of Tonawanda, NY, plead guilty in Andover Town Court on September 12, 2011, to Attempted Reckless Endangerment 2nd Degree, a Class B Misdemeanor, and to general criminal liability of Environmental Conservation Law, a Violation. ADA Andy Cornell of the Allegany County District Attorney's office brought the case to an equitable conclusion; Mr. Pohrte was sentenced to pay $500 in fines, $400 in restitution and was required to forfeit his rifle and shotgun to the Department for destruction.
DEC's Division of Law Enforcement takes crimes like this very seriously," stated Lt. Lauricella. "Whether hunting or simply target practicing, it is imperative that hunters know their target and beyond. This incident could have had deadly consequences."
Mr. Pohrte was arrested and charged earlier this year by DEC Police with reckless endangerment in the 2nd degree, criminal mischief in the 4th degree and discharge of a firearm across a public highway. The brother of a neighboring homeowner, Pohrte was in town visiting the day before opening weekend of big game season. He was sighting in his shotgun and rifle in preparation for the season when he struck a neighboring house, narrowly missing the homeowner.
DEC's Division of Law Enforcement launched an investigation after a homeowner called 911 to report that his house was shot several times by an unknown shooter. As the homeowner was outside on the phone reporting the incident, his house was struck by bullets two additional times.
DEC Environmental Conservation Officer Mark Wojtkowiak and DEC Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) Investigator David DiPasquale are credited with successful resolution of the case. The officers launched an immediate investigation, working throughout opening weekend of big game season to investigate the surrounding area and re-create crime scene details. Extensive interviews with local residents and hunters that began on opening weekend were pursued for months until enough evidence was gathered to obtain an admission and to bring closure to the case.
"The thorough and persistent approach that our officers demonstrated on this case represents our agency's level of commitment and capability when it comes to resolving these types of crimes," said Lt. Lauricella. "This case is just one among many examples of successfully resolved hunting related shooting investigations that Environmental Conservation Officers and Investigators are called upon to handle each year."
During the course of their investigation into the house shooting incident, Officers Wojtkowiak and DiPasquale also uncovered several unrelated hunting violations by other parties. Tickets were issued to two out of state hunters who hunted on opening weekend without licenses, one who illegally possessed another's license, backtag and carcass tag. Both out of state hunters were taken for immediate arraignment, plead guilty and paid fines. The hunter responsible for lending his non-transferable license and tags to the out of state hunter also received a ticket.
In addition, a separate hunting party was issued tickets and paid a total of $1,505 in civil penalties and court fees for the illegal taking of two deer over bait, the unlawful use of a DMAP tag, and youth mentoring violations including failure to accompany a youth hunter and allowing a youth hunter to hunt above ground level. Both hunters' licenses have been temporarily revoked.