Congratulations Lt. LaPlante

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Feb 242018

Sergeant Ray LaPlante was sworn-in as the Orange Police Department’s newest Lieutenant on Feb. 21, 2018.

Lt. LaPlante joined the department in 2000 as a dispatcher and was later hired to be a patrol officer.

Over the years, he has been assigned to the Motorcycle unit as an officer and the unit’s commander, the Honor Guard as both officer and Supervisor, a member of a regional anti-drug task force, a field training officer, the Supervisor of the Traffic Initiatives Unit, and the Supervisor of our newly-created Drone team.

Lt. LaPlante lives in Orange with his wife and sons. He will be initially assigned to the overnight patrol division.


Tip-A-Cop At Chip’s This Friday

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Feb 222018

Come to Chip’s Family Restaurant, 321 Boston Post Road, Orange, this Friday, Feb. 23, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the annual Orange Police Department’s Tip-A-Cop event.

Orange police officers will be volunteering their time to wait on tables and raise money in support of the Connecticut Special Olympics.

The Orange police have long been dedicated to the Special Olympics and participate yearly in the Torch Run leading to the start of the Special Olympics games in New Haven.

Police Blotter: Man Charged with Sexual Assault

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Feb 202018

On February 9 at 10:43 a.m., Orange police received a complaint of sexual assault from two employees at a local adult-oriented retail establishment.

During the investigation, officers learned that Ryan O’Leary, 27, of Derby, entered the store and engaged two different employees at different times. Each time, however, he acted inappropriately with the workers.

According to the report, O’Leary used his hand to touch one of the employees, and later he used a display item to touch the other employee.

Both employees reported O’Leary’s to management, who then ordered him out of the store and contacted police.

Officers located O’Leary a short time later at his residence, where he was taken into custody and charged with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of breach of peace.

O’Leary was held on $10,000 bond for court Feb. 13.


Lewis Retires From Orange Police Commission

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Feb 192018

A message from the Orange Police Department:

On Monday, February 12, 2018, the Board of Police Commissioners held its regular meeting, as it does on the second Monday of every month. This one, however, was a little different, as it was Board of Police Commissioners Chairman Don Lewis’ last meeting- he has announced his retirement from the Board.

Commissioner Lewis has spent a lifetime in public service, from his time as a US Marine in the Korean War, to his work with the Orange Rotary, and of course, his twenty-five years as a Police Commissioner for the Town of Orange.

In addition to being chosen as Chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners more than twelve years ago, Don Lewis was named a ‘Living Treasure’ by the Town of Orange in 2014.

The Orange Police Department asks you to join us in thanking Commissioner Lewis for more than two decades of dedicated service to the Board of Police Commissioners and the men and women of the Orange Police Department. He will be missed, but we wish him all the best in retirement.

Newest Weather Alert: Be Careful Of Icy Conditions

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Feb 082018

From the National Weather Service:

Some Icy Conditions Develop Overnight into Early Thursday.

With temperatures dropping well below freezing overnight into Thursday morning, any remaining areas of standing water will freeze, creating ice. This will lead to slippery conditions on any untreated surfaces.

Use extra care and caution if outside and traveling.

Church Youth Brave The Cold During Annual Freeze Out

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Feb 022018

How do you feel about the sub-freezing temperatures tonight? The biting cold making you want to scream as you rush from your car to your warm home.

Well, imagine not having a car or a home or a warm place to sleep.

About 20 young people, ages 10-18 are experiencing  what it’s like to be homeless tonight inside cardboard boxes in front of the Orange Congregational Church for the annual “Freeze Out.”

This year the event is a fundraiser to benefit the Columbus House.

The youth and their adult advisors are taking shifts outside in the freezing 14-degree air to spend time in the cardboard boxes. When they are not outside, they participate in activities indoors, including learning about police work during a visit from Orange Officer Chris Brown and his K9 Loki.

If you would like to help the youth group raise money for the cause, you may stop by the church overnight or in the morning and drop off a check or cash to help those who have nothing.


What Happened At Wright’s Pond On Sunday?

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Jan 282018

Some residents may have noticed the fire trucks and personnel at Wright’s Pond late this morning and early afternoon with people in the water and firefighters on the bank pulling tow ropes.

Well, rest assured, there was no emergency — it was just a drill.

When the conditions are right, the members of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department take the time to put into practice the skills they’ve learned about cold water rescue over the years. With so many kids playing hockey on Wright’s Pond, if anything ever happened, the OVFD would quickly be there and know exactly what to do.

The firefighters wore insulated waterproof suits and practiced a variety of cold water rescue techniques, but before they started the drills, they tested the ice around the pond and, even with the warmer weather, it was too thick to “accidentally” fall through.

Tethered to rescue ropes, two firefighters ventured out onto the ice with a chainsaw and cut a large rectangle in which to practice their rescue skills.

NOTE: If you are out on Wright’s Pond, be aware that the hole was cut in the ice closest to the waterfall and cornfield on Sunday, Jan. 28. It may not have time to adequately freeze over to be safe. 





Orange Police: What You Should Know About Large-Scale Fencing Operations

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Jan 262018

From the Orange Police Department:

Due to the retail section in Orange, our officers respond to quite a few shoplifting incidents. Often these thefts are perpetrated by those struggling with drug addiction, but they do not operate alone.

People who shoplift from stores often use another person as a ‘fence,’ or a place where they sell their stolen goods. The ‘fence’ then resells the items to the public.

In the matter detailed below, the actions of two people acting as fences, and paying for others to act as shoplifters, caused retail stores in this area to lose just under $4 million worth of merchandise.

The following press release details the prosecution of one such person:

Stratford Man Sentenced to 18 Months In Prison For Role in Large-Scale Fencing Operation

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Matthew Harwood, 43, of Stratford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a large-scale fencing operation.

Judge Shea also ordered Harwood to pay a $35,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service while on supervised release.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between January 2012 and December 2014, Harwood participated in a conspiracy to purchase the stolen property from “boosters,” who typically were shoplifters with opioid addictions, and then resell the property at online websites.

Harwood, his co-conspirator Andrew Sacco, and others instructed the boosters to steal certain items from retail stores such as Petco, Staples, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond and paid cash for the stolen items at approximately one-third of their retail price.

At times, Harwood provided expenses for car rentals and spending money for overnight or out-of-state trips to steal products.

After receiving the stolen merchandise, Harwood and Sacco stored the merchandise at multiple locations, including Harwood’s former residence in Durham, Sacco’s former residence in Durham, and business locations in North Haven. Harwood and Sacco then sold the stolen products at online sites, including eBay and Amazon.

Through this scheme, retailers lost more than $3.9 million.

On November 3, 2016, Harwood pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property and one count of interstate transport of stolen property.

Harwood also has forfeited the house in Durham where he formerly resided, and two mutual fund accounts in his name.

Harwood, who is released on a $100,000 bond, was ordered to report to prison on March 19, 2018.

Sacco pleaded guilty to the same charges and, on December 6, 2017, was sentenced to 48 months of imprisonment.

This matter has been investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Connecticut State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Connecticut Department of Correction, Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, and the New Haven, North Haven, Milford, West Haven, Wallingford, Hamden and Orange Police Departments.

Woodbridge Fire Chief: The Most Difficult Fire Ever

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Jan 062018

(photo by mary ann)

Last night, Orange Live reported that the Orange Volunteer Fire Department was assisting Woodbridge volunteers at a house fire on Inwood Road in Woodbridge.

Tonight, after giving him some time to catch his breath and warm up, we spoke to Woodbridge Fire Chief Sean Rowland about the blaze and the challenges they faced in the frigid weather.

Rowland said that the fire is still under investigation, but they know that it started in the garage. The family escaped unharmed and by the time firefighters arrived, the home was fully involved.

“This was the most difficult fire we’ve ever had that I know of,” Rowland said. The subzero temperatures froze the fire hoses, trucks and air packs, Also, the ground surrounding the home was a sheet of ice, further complicating an already hazardous situation.

Although there were no serious injuries, six firefighters were “injured” at the scene – 2 with high blood pressure issues, one had to get stitches, one hurt his back, and one twisted his knee on the ice (and one other thing that I can’t remember as I was driving when we spoke).

It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, dry or wet, early or late, the tri-town volunteer firefighters leave the comfort of their homes to answer a call whenever they are needed. That’s why they joined the volunteer fire department and go through extensive training — so they can help others in their time of need.

Sadly, this home is a total loss. Thank goodness the family escaped injury, and no one was seriously hurt.

Amity teacher Rob Kennedy said a Gofundme page has been set up to help the family. You may find it at https://www.gofundme.com/donations-for-the-farynas

If You Don’t Have To Go Out Today…Stay Home!

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Jan 042018

Today’s wintry weather is a blessing for children (No School!) and a burden for some parents (No School!)

But as the Winter Storm Brody moves across the state, there already have been some accidents reported (I-84 and a spun out car into a utility pole on a road in Bridgeport.)

The wind is whipping outside my window, so to me, that’s a warning of lower visibility out there and a very good possibility for tree limbs or branches to come down.

We’ve known this storm was coming for several days now, so there’s really no excuse not to have the basics you need to shelter in place for a couple of days if necessary.

If you have a dog, for goodness sake don’t leave him/her outside for more than a couple of minutes. Extreme temperatures, like the sub-zero digits we’re expecting during the next three days could cause serious health issues for your four-legged friend, including, but not limited to, frostbite on their sensitive feet, nose, and ears.

Several short-haired “outdoor” dogs have been found frozen to death across the country, including CT, this week. If you don’t care about the suffering your pet will endure, then consider the animal cruelty charges you’ll face.

At one point this week, I forgot to keep the water dripping in my kitchen sink and both the hot and cold pipes froze. Now I have a furnace (Thank God!) and I still keep the drip going because that’s a problem I just can’t deal with right now!

There is so much to remember to protect yourself, pets and property this winter. Just be diligent. If you use space heaters, like I did for the past year, remember to keep ALL clutter and any flammable items far away from them. Rule of thumb, plug the heater directly into the wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip, and have about three feet of empty space around it to prevent possible overheating or fire.

Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) reminds homeowners who have a fire hydrant near their property, that it is important to clear the snow from around it. in the event of a fire the Orange Volunteer Fire Department will need access to one as quickly as possible.