When Allyn M. Richardson, somehow known as “Grandpa Woodstock,” got arrested Friday, August 8, one of the neighbors near his residence at 135 Tinker Street, noted how he and others, “were startled from their lunch by barking police dogs followed by ‘Stop! Get your hands up now!’
“Several unmarked SUVs were seen parked along Tinker Street. Two Woodstock Police cars and some unmarked cars were in the driveway at 135 Tinker Street,” reported neighbor (and Woodstock Times reporter) Nick Henderson. “Sheriff’s deputies stayed in the driveway for about an hour and regularly moved items out of the apartment… Friends are looking after Richardson’s wife, known as ‘Grandma Woodstock,’ and cleaning up after URGENT detectives reportedly made a mess when executing the search warrant.”
Richardson, a 70-year old former Connecticut truck driver who has become a visible summer presence in town, then heads for Bisbee, Arizona come winter, was arrested by members of the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (U.R.G.E.N.T.) and charged with four counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 4th degree, a class C felony; four counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th degree (intent to sell), a class D felony; Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th degree and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia 2nd degree.
Detective Lieutenant Ed Brewster of URGENT said that Richardson first drew the attention of police when he was the victim of a drug-related home invasion robbery back in June. Woodstock police, meanwhile, reported a steady stream of customers — including many who appeared to be high school age — in and out of Richardson’s home.
“That’s when they came to us,” said Brewster. “They said look, there’s lines outside this guy’s place. We’ve got to do something.”
A Woodstock police officer assigned to URGENT initiated the investigation. Undercover officers working with the task force allegedly bought hashish from Richardson on four separate occasions and that the search of Richardson’s residence last Friday turned up a number of illegally possessed pills in addition to hashish, electronic scales and drug packaging materials.
Richardson was arraigned in Town of Woodstock Justice Court before Justice Frank Engel and sent to the County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail and $100,000 property bond. Cash bail had been recommended at $100,000 by the county district attorney’s office because, Brewster said he’d heard, of the Bisbee residence and Richardson’s “affiliation with the Rainbow Family of Living Light.”
In addition to pot, the drugs involved were described only as “diverted pharmaceuticals.”
Over the weekend following Richardson’s arrest, a Fundly website to help with bail had been set up, with links — and much commentary — on several Facebook pages. There, in social media, local residents at first spoke about the onerous nature of pot busts, or asked about the possible “effects to flow” within the community. But soon enough, more comments came in about the various young Woodstockers seen coming and going from Richardson’s abode.
Further court dates have yet to be announced.