An investigation into a “shots fired” call that turned out to be a failed home invasion earlier this week resulted in two significant drug busts for South District police and narcotics investigators.
The attempted house robbery on Weaver Street ended with district police confiscating 68 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of more $200,000, and $1,900 in cash late Sunday afternoon, where two armed intruders apparently had fired a gun but then fled before they could steal the marijuana, authorities said Friday in announcing the busts.
Steven Burkholder, 24, a Blasdell resident who was “house sitting” at 132 Weaver, was charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, following a search of the home, not far from the intersection of Clinton Street.
Two other people in the house fled before police arrived, but one was later caught at his South Buffalo home at 71 St. John’s Parkside, where narcotics detectives discovered a marijuana “grow operation,” in a second-floor room. Jared Schrimmel, 31, was charged with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a defaced handgun and unlawful growing of about 60 pot plants.
The busts all began at 5:30 p.m. Sunday when Officers Daniel Kurdziel and Linda McDonald responded to the shots fired call and began speaking with Burkholder, who told them the two men showed up at the Weaver Street home and tried to force their way inside.
“He said he thought he recognized them and opened the door. One of the men stuck out a gun and fired it. Burkholder said he was having trouble hearing from the loud sound of the gunshot. The police said there might be evidence inside the house, a bullet casing or round. “The front door was open and they asked to check the house. They could smell marijuana and could see pot in a big baggie on the living room coffee table,” South District Chief Patrick M. Pascall said.
That prompted a search of the residence and by the time it ended, several bags of pot were recovered, including two large duffle bags, police said. “The marijuana was all packaged to sell. In fact, it was vacuumed-packed. I think they were in between the distributor and the street-seller levels, sort of like a hinge in the door,” Pascall said of Burkholder and Schrimmel’s role in drug sales.
Officers Michael Moore, Joseph Hassett and K-9 Officer Chris Kessler and Duke, his dog, assisted in the search. At the same time, police had obtained a license plate number for a car seen fleeing from the home invasion and that led them to Schrimmel in the St. John’s Parkway home. Narcotics officers raided his home later Sunday night.
The home invaders remain on the loose.