Niagara Gazette

November 28, 2013

Norton Labs burglars caught with camera

BY JOE OLENICK
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Lockport police broke a long-standing burglary case Monday, using motion-sensing cameras to help catch a pair of suspects.

Lockport Police Detective Captain Rick Podgers said the Norton building, located at 519 Mill St., has been burglarized a number of times over the last several months — and police now believe they have caught the two men responsible.

Ryan J. Milstead, 24, of Washington Street and Nicholas A. Cousins, 20, of Jackson Street, were both charged Monday with third-degree burglary and criminal possession of burglary tools. Both have been arraigned in Lockport City Court.

The two entered through a boarded up opening at the rear of the building at about 2:37 p.m. Monday, which is the time the illegal entry was caught by the police’s new motion sensor cameras, which sent a text message to Podgers.

Police responded quickly, setting up a perimeter around the building and finding footprints in the snow. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit responded to assist.

After a long and extensive search, the two suspects were found in the building, at the top of a large structure described as a silo, Podgers said.

”The dog found them hiding on top,” he said. “Officers still couldn’t see them but the dog was able to find them.”

Milstead and Cousins were found with burglary tools and bolt cutters, Podgers said. They signed confessions. Norton Laboratories, Inc. was founded in 1916 by Charles Norton and William R. Seigle. The plant initially consisted of seven buildings, including a factory, boiler room, factory office, front office, machine shop and two warehouses. Norton originally manufactured metallic magnesium during World War I and later expanded its product line to include molded plastic handles for pots and pans, camera parts, automotive parts and circuit boards.

In 1958, Norton Labs was acquired by Auburn Plastics, which was based in Auburn. The company operated as a division under Auburn Plastics and continued to manufacture its products under the Norton Labs name. Norton Labs moved its plant to a single building located across the street from its former site on Mill Street in 1971. Ten years later, Norton Labs closed. The building now serves as a storage site.