|Police Chief John Tedesco announces the arrest of|
three people for murder (TIMES UNION PHOTO)
I’ve been covering Troy for a long time and never have I seen anything like what transpired over the last couple of weeks.
A summer marked with arson, murder and other violent crimes had tensions at a breaking point throughout the city but nowhere were things more strained than in Lansingburgh.
And then a well-known, well-liked couple was bludgeoned to death – Al and Maria Lockrow on Aug. 20.
Police were under the gun. The media jumped on such stats like “the murder rate has increased 600 percent” from last year and “per capita Troy had the most murders in the state” and they were echoed across social media.
There were stories of parents afraid to send their kids a couple blocks to the store or the playground and gun shots rang out with the frequency of church bells. There were calls for more patrols, a reinstatement of an aggressive Street Crimes Unit and cries for someone to do something.
Then, on Friday police found the Lockrows’ blue SUV - stolen by the murderers - in a field in Columbia County. It was set on fire, presumably, to help the two killers hide their tracks. It also kicked off what has to be one of the best nights in TPD history.
While I’m told the car’s discovery didn’t lead investigators to seal the deal and arrest Jacob Heimroth and Daniel Reuter, they were Three days later. Early Monday evening, police made the first arrest. Later that night, about 9:30 p.m., they picked up the second suspect while he was walking around Lansingburgh. I’m not sure which one was first but it really doesn’t matter.
Also, on Monday, police arrested Jeffrey Brown, an 18-year-old from Cohoes, for the murder of Robert Rivera, a 54-year-old who was found shot to death in his Second Avenue apartment on June 30.
In one night, police arrested three people for murder. Amazing, really.
|The Lockrow crime scene|
Police Chief John Tedesco said “this is huge for us.” He’s right. And it’s not only huge for the TPD but for the resident too. Fueled by fear and Facebook pages and sick of the empty political rhetoric, they were losing patience with the men in blue and their ability to keep their neighborhoods safe.
Rallies and vigils were held to “Take Back Troy, Tedesco and Mayor Lou Rosamilia, under increasing pressure to do something, put 20 extra patrols on the streets and there was the very real threat of people taking matters into their own hands.
Meanwhile, detectives were behind the scenes working the murders of eight people in the city this year (in two of the cases, two people were killed so it was considered one case.)
And that work paid off on Monday.
So far, police have arrested suspects in five of those cases. And while the murder of 19-year-old Vanessa Milligan and her unborn baby in April remains open, Tedesco indicated an arrest there is imminent too.
There are all sorts of possible motives for the Lockrow killings – the most brutal to happen in the Collar City in at least two decades – and I will explore them later. There are also some grumblings about how detectives broke the case – again, I’m told the car played a small role in it – and I will explore them too at a later date. There is also a lot of work to do because murders may be the highest profile crimes they are far from the most prevalent, thankfully.
Let me conclude by saying I’m one of the first ones to criticize cops for their Cadillac contract and their excessive OT and when they otherwise screw up. But for their work that culminated on Monday, the entire TPD deserves a round of applause.