Police arrest teen after flower vandalism spree

These flower pots, seen Wednesday morning in front of Adirondack Surgical Eye Care, are two of 10 that police say a local teenager tipped over on Main Street in downtown Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

SARANAC LAKE — A local teenager was jailed Wednesday morning after he allegedly vandalized 10 large downtown flower pots, then fled from police and fought with the arresting officers.

Village police did not name the 18-year-old Saranac Lake resident because he is eligible for youthful offender status, which seals his criminal records from the public. Nevertheless, he was charged as an adult; the Raise the Age law passed recently in New York gives juvenile status to 16- and 17-year-olds but not 18-year-olds.

Sgt. John Gay, reading from a village police report, said officers were called at 1:05 a.m. Wednesday regarding the young man tipping over downtown flower pots. When the teen saw police coming, he fled on foot down Broadway toward the Saranac River. Police caught up with him on Church Street, but he continued to run. They got him again in the Enterprise parking lot, but he ran around the Enterprise building to the skateboard park, where the two officers finally captured him around 1:10 a.m.

Gay said the young man resisted being taken into custody by trying to pull away, trying to head-butt an officer and kicking an officer. He appeared to be intoxicated, Gay said.

Police said he tipped over 10 flower pots in total on Main Street, damaging flowers and spilling potting soil. They said a witness identified him as the one who tipped the pots.

This flower pot, seen Wednesday morning in front of Village Mercantile, is one of 10 that police say a local teenager tipped over on Main Street in downtown Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

He was charged with third-degree criminal mischief, a class E felony that involves more than $250 worth of damage, as well as resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. He was arraigned that morning in Harrietstown Town Court and sent to the Franklin County Jail in Malone in lieu of $2,000 cash bail or $4,000 bail bond.

The large floral arrangements are a joint initiative by the village and downtown businesses, who split the cost, according to Kathy Steinbrueck, the co-owner of Scott’s Florist who volunteers with her husband Roger to organize the project.

“I was heartbroken,” she said of the vandalism.

All the pots were back upright by mid-morning. Some were missing flowers and dirt. Steinbrueck said some business owners had reset the flowers to make them look nice again, but the plants may still be damaged.

Flower vandalism by late-night bar patrons was more common in the early days of the downtown arrangements, Steinbrueck said, but now it’s more rare.

This flower pot, seen Wednesday morning in Berkeley Green, is not one of 10 that police say a local teenager tipped over on Main Street in downtown Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

“There’s been a much different respect and care about it” from the community, she said.

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