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GSC 'devastated' by youths' crimes

Only days after the Great Swamp Conservancy celebrated their fall migration festival including "Kids Konservation Days," the organization was "stunned" by a burglary and discovery of more than half a dozen slaughtered quails.

The crimes were committed Sept. 27 by three children all under the age 0f 13. Two of the youth involved live down the street from the conservancy and a few doors away from GSC founder Michael Patane.

"We went from such a high point with the festival," Patane said. "It was stunning to have this happen days after."

During the "Friends with Feathers" portion of the weekend festival the conservancy members released several quails into the surrounding environment, one of the many goals the organization maintains. Patane's wife Marilyn, GSC board secretary and a GSC member since it was founded, discovered the burglarized office that was described as "destroyed," and soon after she and an ARC volunteer found five slaughtered quails.

{Q}"We're devastated," Patane said. "This is exactly the opposite of what we try to teach children in the community."{Q}

Patane said he knows the local children well and their families too. As for the third party, Patane said the children told him they had a cousin from Syracuse visiting them for the weekend.

"You can see how peer pressure acts quickly," Patane said. "I know these kids wouldn't do this, it shows how easily good kids go from good to bad."

The New York State Police have charged the three children have been charged with burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, petit larceny and torture and cruelty to animals.

The kids he called "neighborhood kids," because they lived so close to him and his family, were regulars at the GSC visiting daily sometimes, Patane said.

"It's like a rude awakening to the [GSC] board," Patane said. "The cruelty is what really bothers me."

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