09/23/14 3:37pm
(Credit: Carrie Miller)

(Credit: Carrie Miller)

Update (6:30 p.m.):  The “suspicious package” prompting an evacuation of the state Supreme Court buildings near downtown Riverhead Tuesday afternoon turned out to be an attorney’s briefcase, Riverhead Town police said.

Detective Timothy Hubbard said an attorney contacted police notifying them that he had forgotten to retrieve the bag, after putting it down to drop off something at the courts.

“He came back to pick it up and all was in order,” Det. Hubbard said.

Police cleared the scene about 3:40 p.m., allowing people back inside, he said.

Original Story: The state Supreme Court buildings near downtown Riverhead were evacuated Tuesday after reports of a “suspicious package” on the second floor of one of the buildings, New York State court officers said.

As of 3:30 p.m., a Suffolk County Police Department bomb squad unit was on the scene near the complex’s Court Street entrance.

A man reporting for jury duty at the time of the report said a police officer asked everyone inside to evacuate.

“He said it in a calm manner, but didn’t say if it was for a drill or an emergency,” said the man, Gregory Merz. “Right away I didn’t feel a sense of urgency, but I realized when they said a bomb squad was coming to investigate that it was not a drill.”

Mr. Merz said he was asked to leave the building about 2 p.m.

It was not clear what, exactly, was found in the building or if the bomb squad had made any determination as to whether it was dangerous.

09/23/14 12:00pm
A man was found dead in his home on Roanoke Avenue last week. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A man was found dead in his Roanoke Avenue home last week. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead Town employees who had arrived at a Roanoke Avenue home last Thursday morning to demand its 72-year-old owner clean up his yard got a shock when they discovered the man had died.

Last Tuesday, the Riverhead Town Board passed a resolution authorizing the town engineering department to clean up property owned by George Atkinson under a provision of the Town Board that allows such cleanups in the event of properties that contain weeds, grass or vegetation in excess of 10 inches, as well as yard waste, rubbish, litter and garbage.

The resolution stated that Mr. Atkinson was directed “to abate the aforementioned conditions on or before Sept. 4″ but had failed to do so.

The cost of the cleanup, which the resolution estimated at $1,500, would then be added to Mr. Atkinson’s tax bill.

Police Chief David Hegermiller said workers who arrived around 10 a.m. last week to clean up the property found Mr. Atkinson dead in his house.

The chief said neighbors told police they hadn’t seen him around lately.

“There was no sign of foul play,” Mr. Hegermiller said. He added that it was unknown how long Mr. Atkinson, who lived alone, had been dead.

Mr. Atkinson, 72, was a retired Riverhead Fire Department dispatcher and a volunteer with the fire department’s Eagle Hose Company. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964, according to his family.

He was buried today, Sept. 23, in St. John’s Cemetery.

09/23/14 7:50am

A 21-year-old Flanders man was charged with misdemeanor weapons and drug possession after he was pulled over in Riverside Sunday night, state police said.

Jaymie Petraszewski was stopped on Flanders Road about 9 p.m. for “moving from [his] lane unsafely,” according to a state police news release. State troopers found Mr. Petraszewski had two pills of diazepam, a prescription medication, as well as a “double-edged dagger,” a state trooper said.

He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, according to the police statement. He was released with a court date in Southampton Town next month, police said.

09/20/14 1:29pm
09/20/2014 1:29 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 1.27.21 PMA kayaker was rescued about five miles off the coast of Riverhead in the Long Island Sound this morning, saved quickly due to a radio beacon she had on hand in the event of an emergency.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the female — identified as 60-year-old Martha Bailie of Cheshire, Conn. — sounded a distress signal around 10:30 a.m.

Kevin Brooks, first assistant chief with the Riverhead Fire Department, said his crew received a call, though the woman had already been saved before they could get their boats in the water.

The USCG said a Suffolk County Police Department helicopter was the first to respond, making contact with the woman at 11:08 a.m. through the use of her Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, which gave off a signal of her approximate location.

Shortly after the Suffolk chopper arrived, a rescue boat crew sent from Coast Guard Station New Haven helped the woman out of the water.

The woman was evaluated and was not in need of medical assistance, according to the Coast Guard.

“Her preparedness was a major factor in us rescuing her today,” said Chief Petty Officer Frank St. Pierre. “We hope that others who are looking to go out on the water take into consideration that they should be prepared for the worst, because being prepared could help save your life.”