WATERLOO — A seat belt violation and a broken taillight led to the traffic stop that uncovered two rifles, including an assault weapon, stolen from a Seneca Falls apartment complex last fall.
That was the testimony of several Seneca Falls police officers during a suppression hearing Friday for Gary Goodman in Seneca County Court. The Waterloo man, formerly of Geneva, faces charges of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property.
Seneca Falls Police Department Sgt. Tim Snyder and SFPD officers Brandon Manheim and James Chechak described the events of Sept. 28 that led to the arrest of Goodman and his girlfriend at the time, Christine Maddox.
Manheim said at roughly 6 p.m. that day state police fielded an anonymous call from someone saying a vehicle at the Hunter’s Run complex on Peterman Road may contain weapons and drugs. The caller also said a person named Gary was involved.
State police contacted Seneca Falls police, and Snyder and Manheim responded. They pulled into the complex and saw the vehicle, a green Ford Explorer, with no one inside.
Snyder said he parked on nearby Hep Drive, and about 10 minutes later the vehicle — Maddox was driving — left the complex. Snyder said he followed it for about half a mile.
Manheim noted Goodman, 56, was not wearing a seat belt and the vehicle had a broken taillight, prompting police to stop the SUV on Bridge Street.
“There were a lot of people around [Hunter’s Run], so we didn’t think it was safe to investigate the matter there,” Manheim said. “We made the decision to park and wait for the vehicle to leave.”
Snyder and Manheim said after drawing their service weapons, Goodman and Maddox were ordered out of the vehicle and put in separate patrol cars. Manheim said Maddox, who owned the vehicle, later signed a consent form allowing authorities to search it.
Manheim and Chechak — Chechak now works for the Waterloo Police Department — said they found a Romarm AK-47 rifle and a sawed-off Mossberg .22-caliber “Plinkster” rifle, along with magazines and a large amount of ammunition.
Chechak, who arrived at the scene with Sgt. Eric Calabrese, said neither gun was loaded, and they were partially covered by clothing, Chechak added he and Calabrese found a small amount of marijuana.
Local attorney Steven Getman is representing Goodman. Getman is contesting the legality of the search.
County District Attorney Barry Porsch said Maddox, 42, pleaded guilty to a weapons charge several weeks ago and will be sentenced in May. She cooperated in the case against Goodman and likely will be sentenced to probation, with some jail time possible.
After Goodman and Maddox were arrested, police apprehended a 14-year-old boy accused of stealing the rifles from a Hunter’s Run apartment and giving them to Goodman and Maddox. Police said the serial numbers on the weapons in Maddox’s vehicle matched the ones reported stolen.
The teen was charged with felony counts of burglary and grand larceny. His case was handled in family court.
In an earlier court appearance, Getman said he plans to contest statements Maddox made to police and prosecutors in the case against Goodman.
Judge Dennis Bender gave Porsch and Getman 20 days to submit written briefs on the hearing, after which he will issue a decision.
Goodman remains in the county jail in lieu of $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.