During burglary, store owner hides in dark

GUILDERLAND — It was around 8:45 p.m.  on Monday when Steven Irwin, the owner of Touch of Country Florist, in Hamilton Square, at 2080 Western Ave., was working in his shop after hours, and heard a muffled banging sound.

“I was in the office in the back preparing orders for the next day,” said Irwin. “I actually thought the restaurant next door was stacking boxes against our shared wall.”

Irwin said he started walking into the back hallway when the muffled banging became a loud cracking sound on the store’s back door.

“I knew immediately what was going on then,” said Irwin. “I picked up the phone and dialed 9-1-1 and explained that someone was breaking in and they needed to send someone from the police department as soon as possible.”

Irwin said he remained on the phone with the dispatcher and moved to the front of the store, where it was dark, as he waited for Guilderland Police officers to arrive.

A man, later identified by the Guilderland Police Department, in a press release, as Curtis M. Brisson, 43, of 5 South Pine Ave., Albany, broke through the door of Touch of Country Florist and entered the back hallway, headed toward the office.

“I told him, ‘Leave the store now,’ and I repeated that twice,” said Irwin. “As soon as he heard my voice he ran.”

Irwin said he had enough time to identify the burglar as a white male wearing a green jacket over a maroon sweatshirt.

As the man was attempting to leave the plaza, the Guilderland Police were just pulling up, and Irwin was able to give officers the description and point them in the direction that he had gone.

Brisson was arrested for third-degree burglary, possession of burglar tools, and third-degree criminal mischief, all misdemeanors, and was sent to Albany County’s jail without bail.

Chief Carol Lawlor said an investigation was underway to determine whether Brisson was connected to other local burglaries.

“Honestly, I wasn’t frightened,” said Irwin. “I was just thinking to myself, ‘Be smart and keep yourself safe.’”

“It definitely does make you look at your life in a different way,” he concluded. “I am so thankful I got up and checked out the sound when I did.”

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