GENEVA — It wasn’t the best of weeks for the Geneva Police Department, said Chief Mike Passalacqua.
On Monday, his department charged two city men with selling drugs authorities believe led to five non-fatal overdoses in a two-hour span last Sunday morning.
Early Thursday morning, the agency was tested again, this time at the Geneva Lakefront Childcare Center. Two people broke into a rear door of the facility and ransacked the place the previous night, causing thousands of dollars in damage and forcing the center’s closure.
Charged with third-degree burglary, a class D felony, were Noah W. Smith, 20, and Isaac R. Rath, 21, both of 43 Hoffman Ave., Geneva.
“This was a rough week for the city of Geneva,” said Passalacqua Friday afternoon after announcing the arrests. “We were glad to take part in giving some closure.”
Smith was charged Thursday night and Rath on Friday, he said.
The chief said he was “ecstatic with the work done by everybody in this building (Public Safety). We’re tired, but we’re glad it got to this point.”
Passalacqua said additional felony charges are expected, including criminal mischief, the degree of which will be determined based on repair costs. Those charges most likely will be levied following Ontario County grand jury proceedings.
Passalacqua said the break-in and vandalism took even him, a 17-year veteran of law enforcement, aback.
“It was a surreal thing to me,” he said. “‘I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Kelly Mahoney, president of the Geneva Lakefront Childcare Center board of directors, estimates the damage at $50,000 or more. Many of the rooms were damaged, she noted, with the suspects cutting a gas line and tearing a sink off the wall.
She said building video showed the suspects damaging the interior of the building from about 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Mahoney was effusive in her praise of the police department’s work.
“On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Geneva Lakefront Childcare Center, it is with great pleasure and relief to hear that the two suspects in the overnight vandalism case of Nov. 20 to 21 have been apprehended,” she said. “I can’t begin to express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Chief Michael Passalacqua, along with the full force of the Geneva Police Department. Witnessing the incredible teamwork and communication effort at the forefront for several hours yesterday was nothing short of amazing and inspiring. The city of Geneva is extremely lucky to have the police force that they have in place. I would also like to thank everyone in the community that has reached out to offer their help if needed. We are very humbled by the outpouring of support.”
Passalacqua said the incident had ramifications beyond the physical damage of the center, noting that it left families scrambling for child care.
“People may have lost time at work,” he said.
The center has been undergoing repairs and is expected to reopen Monday, Mahoney said.