Jesse R. Daniels, age 53, of 45 Orchard Street in the Village of Clyde was home watching television on Saturday (6/8/13) around 9 p.m. He began hearing some pounding noises and, at first, thought nothing of it. The pounding continued and Daniels finally went outside and saw someone with a hammer inside his father-in-law’ s house at 39 Orchard Street. He told his wife to call police and went inside the house to confront the intruder.
Jesse and his father-in-law, Richard Muoio, had been remodeling the house, and had put in countless hours and money, in an effort to rejuvenate the empty house.
Upon entering the house, Daniels saw a great deal of the damage downstairs and went upstairs to confront the intruder. Jesse encountered four young boys, all with hammers. The boys tried forcing their way out several times, Daniels corralled them into a closet awaiting police arrival. The damage in the home ranged from paint splattered walls and cupboards to broken fixtures and wall outlets that had been kicked in. There were entire walls that had to be taken down due to the amount of hammer strikes through the drywall.
The four boys, two sets of brothers and cousins, ages 8 and 10, had caused tens of thousands of dollars in damages (Daniels estimates damages in the range of $50,000); breaking 14 double pane windows and smashing to the floor level a new toilet and fixtures which Jesse and Richard had recently installed. Just about every wall and room in the home was either splattered with paint or received the harsh end of hammers.
According to Clyde Village Police Officer Larry LaValley, one of the boys taken into custody was upset with Daniel’s wife for telling them to stay out of her yard earlier that day. The words “cunt” and “bitch” were painted on the walls.
Jesse, who owns and operates JD’s Hots in the Village of Clyde was shocked after the police had arrived and the dust settled. He believed the incident first began when his wife Kim, yelled at the youths earlier in the evening. He added that it was likely the boys thought he and his wife owned the property belonging to Muoio, who has been a member of the Clyde Fire Department for over 35 years and is considered, according to police, one of the nicest guys around, who would do anything to help people out.
On Monday (6/10) evening, it was Daniels being arraigned on charges, not the four vandals. He was charged with four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. It is alleged that Jesse threatened to strike the (4) juveniles with a hammer if they refused to get into the closet, where he had them detained. Jesse was arraigned before Judge Lester Carr and released to return to court on June 26th. While the boys were trapped inside the closet, Daniels claims one of the boys told him that the youth’s mother told the boys to come over and do it. Police could not verify that statement, but one of the boys admitted the break-in and damage was in retaliation for Daniel’s wife telling them to stay out of the yard earlier in the evening.
The parents of the boys, according to police, insisted upon the charges against Daniels, admitting their kids had perhaps caused the damage, but that the Clyde businessman went too far in threatening the boys.
According to Officer LaValley, Jesse had indeed called police before entering the house in an attempt to stop the vandalism. LaValley reported that he advised 911 to contact Daniels and tell him to stay out of the house until he (LaValley) could respond. “How do you tell somebody not to defend the house – but the kids were young,” said LaValley. He said he found the four boys in the closet and immediately walked them home to their parents before he could question them.
The four juveniles were reportedly issued appearance tickets on Friday. They face charges of Felony Burglary in the 2nd Degree and Felony Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree. Due to their ages, the charges are being referred to Family Court for disposal.
According to Assistant County Attorney Erin Hammond, who handles juvenile cases for Wayne County, the law allows anyone over the age of 7 to be charged with a crime. The boys could face juvenile detention, but that is highly unlikely. The Family Court could order probation and restitution. Under New York State law, a juvenile can only be held liable for up to $1500 in damages. Richard Muoio could be awarded only a maximum of $6000 in restitution for all the damage done.
“I am sick to my stomach over this. I was a nervous wreck. I did what I thought was the right thing” said Daniels. After seeing the aggressive nature of the damage inside the house, Daniels claims he “didn’t know what the youth were capable of.”
While Muoio has been cleaning up and assessing the damage, he managed to stay relatively upbeat. “I’ve already got some clean-up done. The walls I can paint and the windows can be replaced again. The important thing is that no one was hurt.”