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Auburn police: Former Verizon worker stole pictures, videos from customer cellphones

A Weedsport man was arrested Friday for taking images and videos from customer cell phones while he was employed at an Auburn Verizon Wireless store, according to a press release from the Auburn Police Department. 

Eladio "Eli" Delgado, 8905 N. Willow St., Weedsport, was charged with two counts of unauthorized use of a computer, a misdemeanor. But police believe there are many more victims and their investigation continues.

Police said the offenses occurred while Delgado worked at the Verizon store at 298 Grant Ave. The APD had confirmed publicly in March that it was investigating a case involving an ex-worker at the store, but no arrest had been announced until Friday.

The department received a complaint in January from a person who said a personal picture had been taken from her old cellphone and was texted to an unknown number. The complaintant determined the text was sent when she was at the Verizon store upgrading her phone and didn't have possession of the device, police said.

An investigation has been ongoing since that complaint, with APD coordinating with state police, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office and the Cayuga County District Attorney's Office.

The investigation since that time revealed that cellphones of around 20 separate people have been similarly compromised since 2013, police said. Some of them have been identified and have been informed of the investigation, which is still ongoing, but many victims haven't been identified yet. Some victims may have been unsure of what to do or were unaware that their data had been compromised.

Anyone with information that could assist in the continuing investigation is asked to contact APD Detective Brian Blanchfield at (315) 255-4703 or (315) 253-3231. Calls can be anonymous.

Police seize more than 250 marijuana plants in northern Cayuga County

Multiple law enforcement divisions spent two days collecting more than 250 marijuana plants found growing in northern Cayuga County.

The Auburn Police Department said that on Sept. 6 and 7, members of the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force in conjunction with the New York Army National Guard Counterdrug Task Force Air Assets, with assistance from state police, the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office and the Cayuga County District Attorney's Office, conducted the marijuana eradication detail.

The plants ranged in size from 3 to 10 feet and were removed from multiple properties in Cato, Victory, Conquest, Mentz, Throop and Brutus.

More information on the eradication was not immediately available Friday. APD said arrests will be forthcoming.

Police said that some of the marijuana will be kept as evidence until the case is disposed of. The rest will be left to dry before being incinerated with other old evidence at a later date.

Elbridge Town Board members face off during primary election for supervisor

Two Republican Elbridge Town Board members are looking to fill the town supervisor position, a seat that will be vacant at the end of the year because current Town Supervisor Ken Bush Jr. is making a run for the Onondaga County Legislature. 

Rita A. Dygert and Vernon J. Richardson are both on ballot for the Republican primary on Tuesday. There's also a Conservative Party primary election for the supervisor seat, with Dygert listed as the endorsed candidate and a space for write-in votes.

Dygert has the Independence Party ballot line secured for the November general election, and no Democratic Party candidates will be on the ballot, according to the county elections board.

Both candidates are long-time town board members. Richardson has served for 12 years as a councilor and Dygert has been on the board for almost 20 years as a councilor, most recently serving as deputy supervisor. 

Dygert said her past experience as both a board member and an assistant director with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will give her the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the position.  

"I care about this community and the future of the community," Dygert said. "I am extremely interested in what becomes of the town. I want to continue to move it forward in terms of residential growth and development."

Dygert, who has lived in Elbridge for 40 years, said one of her first goals if elected is to update the town's comprehensive plan. She said she wants to see the community get more involved and hear what residents have to say.

"I just care a lot about this community," she said. "I know what needs to be done and I can do it to move the town forward." 

Prior to serving on the Elbridge Town Board, Richardson said he was a member of the town of Elbridge Zoning Board of Appeals and was previously a construction worker and a school bus driver. A native of Elbridge, Richardson said he was asked by many people in town to run for the position because "they thought I would do a good job." 

Richardson said his main goal is to make it easier for businesses to grow and expand in the town, as well as improve communication between the town and the villages of Jordan and Elbridge and the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District. 

"I would like our town to be more business friendly to new businesses coming in and have less restrictions for current businesses to expand," he said. 

In addition to the supervisor primary, Elbridge voters in the Republican and Conservation parties can cast primary ballots in the Onondaga County Legislature race featuring Bush.

The current town supervisor is challenging incumbent Derek Shepard, of Baldwinsville, to represent District 13, which includes the towns of Camillus, Elbridge and Van Buren. Bush is also on the Conservative Party primary ballot, with an opportunity to ballot petition allowing for write-in votes against him.

Voting for the primary elections will take place noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Elbridge voters will be able to cast their ballots at the Elbridge Firehouse, 275 Route 5 East, Elbridge, or the Jordan-Elbridge Community Center, 5 Route 31 West, Jordan.

Kevin Rivoli, The Citizen 

Auburn's Quashar Bowman runs against Jamesville-DeWitt on Friday in Jamesville.

Legislation aims to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

U.S. Reps. John Katko and Elijah Cummings are reintroducing legislation to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Katko, R-Camillus, and Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, had introduced a similar bill in June 2015, but it was dropped after former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced last year that Tubman would be the new face of the note. That is no longer a guarantee, however, after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared uncommitted to the change in an interview with CNBC. 

Bishop Dennis V. Proctor of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church where Tubman had attended in Auburn, called the news "deeply disturbing," and urged President Donald Trump and Mnuchin to keep plans to have the abolitionist on the note. 

"Harriet Tubman is a hero who bravely led countless Americans to freedom and opportunity, courageously fought for her country, and was an outspoken advocate for women's suffrage," Katko said in a press release. "Last week, I called on the Treasury Secretary to move forward with memorializing Harriet Tubman's likeness on the $20 bill, and today I'm proud to once again introduce legislation with Rep. Cummings to honor the life of Harriet Tubman and her incredible contributions to this great nation."

The 2015 bill had had bipartisan support with 12 Republicans and seven Democrats as cosponsors. It had originally sought to have Tubman's image on any currency note, but the latest bill now stipulates replacing President Andrew Jackson's facade on the $20 bill with Tubman's. The legislation also states the change would occur by the beginning of 2020. Katko and Cummings said they will work to get support for the latest version on both sides of the aisle. 

"Too often, our nation does not do enough to honor the contributions of women in American history, especially women of color," Cummings said in a release. "I am proud to introduce this bill with Rep. Katko to honor Harriet Tubman's role in making America a more free and more equal society."

Katko and Cummings tie two important places in Tubman's life together. Tubman was born in Maryland, but she lived out her adult life in Auburn. Her house on South Street in Auburn, along with the Home for the Aged were named the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in January. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park also commemorates her and is located in Church Creek, Maryland.