Court documents in the case of two men accused of several burglaries and thefts paint a picture of drug-addicted lives that are frantically focused on getting money by any means to get high.
Peter Maliszewski and Joseph Fetkiw were arrested earlier this month. Maliszewski, 40, of Canastota, and Fetkiw, Jr., 35, of W. Third St., Fulton, have been charged with several felonies, including robbery, burglary, assault, and grand larceny in connection with several crimes from mid-March to mid-April.
Their arrests are unusual for the number of crimes alleged and for the short period in which they occurred.
The following account is based on the sworn statements given by the two men, their alleged victims and other witnesses.
“I needed to get high,” Fetkiw explained to police. “If I don’t get something, I’d get sick.” Said Maliszewski, “I have a drug problem.” Those sentences were all the motive the men needed to commit an escalating series of crimes.
The month began around March 21, when Fetkiw broke into a house on W. Fourth St. N. through an unlocked window. He knew about the house because he said he worked for the man who owned the home. There, he admitted to stealing four gold necklaces, two gold bracelets, a pair of sapphire earrings, five sapphire rings, a sapphire bracelet, a sapphire stone, various gold earrings, and coins and currency, all of it worth $2,050. He sold the jewelry to a pawn shop in Fulton.
Nine days later, he admitted to burglarizing a home on Schuyler St., getting only a few dollars in change but scoring a bottle of codeine. The day after that, he admitted taking an iPod and some prescription painkillers from a home on W. Fourth St.
Meantime, on March 30, Maliszewski is accused of entering a home on Leitch St. and demanding a gun from the home’s resident. “He starts telling me he wants the f***ing gun,” the resident told police. “I says to the guy ‘I don’t have the gun here’. He says ‘I want the f***ing gun now or I’m going to beat you with this club’.” The resident told police Maliszewski hit him at least a dozen times with a small baseball bat. Maliszewski denied threatening and beating the man, saying that the resident swung a three-foot-long sword at him and appeared to have an electrical stun gun in his hand. Either way, Maliszewski did not leave with the gun.
April 8, Maliszewski and Fetkiw are together. “We were both smoking bath salts,” Maliszewski told police. “Joe was looking in cars to get loose change.” Those cars were in the parking lot of the Red Brick Pub restaurant on W. First St. Maliszewski said that Fetkiw found a package of golf balls in one car and tried to trade them to a man who was outside the restaurant having a cigarette for a ride home. The man said no.
Unfortunately for that man, his work van was unlocked and the keys were under the front seat. Maliszewski said Fetkiw told him, “(W)e have a ride.”
They drove to a bar in Lysander and cashed in a bucket of change that was in the van. They got $100. They bought cocaine and heroin with the money in Syracuse, Maliszewski said. They then drove to Auburn and then to a home in Granby.
The van made it back to Syracuse, where the engine died near the parking lot of a Wilson Farms store. A tow truck operator told Maliszewski and Fetkiw that the engine was blown. He offered to buy the car as scrap metal.
Maliszewski signed a state DMV form — using a false name — giving the car to the tow business owner in return for $140.
They told the tow operator that it was their work van and got a ride from him into Syracuse.
Later, Fulton Police Inv. Aimee May called the cell phone number the two men left with the tow company. She said she spoke to Fetkiw and recognized his voice. She said she had had several dealings with him and knew the voice well.
April 13: “We have been smoking bath salts for few days (sic),” said Maliszewski. “The brand name is disco. This is a very addictive drug. If you don’t have it, you fiend for it. We had run out.”
Maliszewski and Fetkiw considered breaking into the 420 Store on E. Broadway to get more Disco. Instead, they crossed the bridge and, at about 5:00 a.m., Maliszewski said he threw a rock through the window of the B&V Discount store. Maliszewski said Fetkiw went into the store and grabbed several dozen packets of Disco and two other brands, Rocky Mountain High and White Sands. Fetkiw said Maliszewski forced him to go inside.
Maliszewski said they got high for several days from that haul.
April 14: “Sometime over the weekend, I needed to get clothes,” Maliszewski told police. He went to K-Mart with a friend. “I had been up using bath salts for about 9 days straight. I remember leaving K-Mart but I don’t know how I got to (another man’s) house. Everything is fuzzy and vague.”
But it wasn’t fuzzy or vague for Patti Arnold. She walked out of the Polish Home at about 9:00 p.m. and discovered someone going through her boyfriend’s truck.
She told police, “I said, ‘Get out of my truck’. The male did not turn around. He just said, ‘It’s not your truck, it’s my truck’.” In a later statement, she said, “As I was falling to the ground, I grabbed both plastic bags.” Those bags held his purchases from K-Mart. Maliszewski told police, “I woke up in a truck with this woman yelling at me and pulling on my shirt. I did not know what was going on. I don’t know why I was in the truck.” Arnold told police, “The male said, ‘That’s my stuff, b***h’.” They struggled, one of the bags ripped, and he started to run off. He came back, said, “I’ll kill you, b***h,” and ran off. He hid on a back porch and watched police hunt for him.
In the next couple of days, people began to discover the thefts allegedly carried out by Maliszewski and Fetkiw and police began to close in. In his last act before arrest, Maliszewski is alleged to have taken a cab ride from Fulton to Solvay and back, refusing to pay the $110 cab fare. He told police it was a misunderstanding.