Teens charged in Gloversville mill arson


GLOVERSVILLE — Three area teenagers were charged last week in connection with the massive Feb. 10 fire that destroyed a good portion of the former JBF Industries tannery at 41 W. 11th Ave.

Gloversville police announced Tuesday the arrests of Allen H. Vosburgh Jr., 17, of 5 Getman St., Gloversville, and Joseph S. Banovic Jr., 17, of 111 Second Ave., Mayfield – both arrested April 19; and David C. Taylor, 19, of 18 Lexington Ave., Gloversville, who was charged on an April 21 warrant.

Police said all three face felony counts of fourth-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment.

A news release issued Tuesday said city police, the Gloversville Fire Department, the Fulton County Office of Emergency Management and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control responded to a large structure fire at the old tannery, the former JBF leather mill. Responding agencies found a fully involved blaze, which destroyed the building.

Police said the fire was determined to be the result of arson. An investigation into the incident, which consisted of numerous interviews, and a review of both public and private surveillance cameras, led to the suspects being identified.

“Gloversville Police Department detectives allege that Joseph Banovic Jr., Allen Vosburgh Jr. and David Taylor intentionally ignited the fire, which led to the building being destroyed,” the release said.

Banonvic and Vosbugh came to the police station, where they were charged and held for arraignment. After unsuccessful attempts to locate Taylor, he was charged on a warrant.

According to Fulton County Jail officials, Vosburgh and Taylor are out on bail. Banovic was still being held at the correctional facility.

“The fire was intentionally set inside of the building, but I wouldn’t say the purpose was to burn the building down,” police Lt. Brad Schaffer said Wednesday.

Schaffer said police received several complaints regarding juveniles trespassing on the abandoned tannery property prior to the fire as a place to hang out and officers believe that was trio’s purpose in going to the building on Feb. 10.

Police began developing suspects two to three weeks after the fire around the time that still images from surveillance footage were released to the media showing three subjects walking towards the JBF Industries mill around 3 a.m. on the day of the fire.

Schaffer said that the images produced fruitful tips that aided police in positively identifying the suspects.

When asked about the circumstances leading to the arrest of Banonvic and Vosburgh at the police station, Schaffer said they were advised that police were looking to interview them in regard to the fire and subsequently came to the police station where they were ultimately taken into custody.

Schaffer said he could not comment on any statements that the suspects made as it could jeopardize the case moving forward.

Schaffer said that every agency involved played an important role in investigating the significant incident and the GPD Detective Division worked very hard to get this disposition on the case.

The investigation was conducted by the Gloversville Police Department, in conjunction with the Gloversville Fire Department, the Fulton County Office of Emergency Management, and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

By Patricia Older

Leave a Reply