Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Cops investigate bomb threat as a hate crime


A bomb threat, received in an email at an Albany television news station Saturday afternoon, sent Peekskill police to a Nelson Avenue residence and a store on S. Division Street. The residents of the home and occupants of the Flatiron Building, where the store is located, were evacuated while the Peekskill canine unit and the Westchester County bomb squad cleared the buildings and found no bomb. 

“It took a couple of hours from the time we received the call until we deemed it safe to return,” said Peekskill Police Lt. Adam Renwick. The call from WPIX 11 News came in to the police station at 2:43 pm.  

The focus of the threat was the gift store Bucko! on the ground floor of the Flatiron Building. The store is owned by Brian and Katie Orsi, and their home on Nelson Avenue was also targeted. The Peekskill Coffee House on the ground floor of the Flatiron Building and a number of art galleries and offices on the second and third floors of the building were also emptied while police searched the area. The Bean Runner cafe and Mundos Fiesta shop, Rafaelina’s Beauty Salon across from the Flatiron Building were also evacuated. 

The area across from Bucko! on Esther Street. (Herald file photo)

Bucko! had originally planned to host a “Drag Story Hour” event on Saturday afternoon, but the event had been canceled more than a week before by the group organizing the story hour. The Orsi’s, parents of two young children, initially agreed to speak with the Herald about the incident – but later, explaining that they continue to be traumatized by the events, submitted a written statement.

In response to the comment from the Orsi’s that the Facebook group, Peekskill Community Network, played a part in the conversation, Leslie Lawler who is the administrator of the nearly nine-year-old Peekskill Community Network with some 13,000 members, said she “does her best to balance free speech with what is inappropriate. There are rules created and we try to follow the rules.”  She added that there were a tremendous amount of comments that she deleted regarding the story hour at Bucko! “If I see that a thread is going wayward, I jump in and give a three minute warning and ask people to be respectful and civil and if they can’t play nice they won’t be allowed in the sandbox and I’ll shut it down.”

Interior of the gift shop Bucko! (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

Peekskill police are continuing to conduct an investigation, led by the department’s detectives, and are working with the Westchester County District Attorney’s office and exploring the possibility that the incident is a hate crime, said Lt. Renwick. 




About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante