Monroe, NY – One of the driving forces behind a proposed Chasidic village adjacent to Kiryas Joel found himself reaching for his legally licensed handgun after coming under attack as he tried to enter Monroe Town Hall to file legal documents.
The incident took place Thursday morning just after 10 AM.
Herman Wagschal, organizer of the petition to create the Village of Seven Springs, was attacked by two men who hit him on the back of the head and then kicked and punched him repeatedly after he fell to the ground.
Wagschal drew his weapon to defend himself, prompting one suspect to leave the scene by car, making off with the legal documents, which were reportedly related to the incorporation of Seven Springs.
The second man ran into the town hall lobby where he was apprehended by police and was identified as 32 year old Shlome Katz of Monroe.
Katz, who is being held by the Monroe Police Department pending arraignment, was arrested and charged with robbery in the second degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, criminal mischief in the third degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree, all felonies.
Police are still seeking the other suspect who is also an area resident and was in Monroe Town Hall with Katz just prior to the attack.
Both the Monroe Police Department and the New York State Police responded to the scene, where Wagschal’s gun was recovered.
A revised proposal submitted by Wagschal three days ago called for adding an additional 90 acres to Seven Springs which would include half of the Harriman Commons Shopping Center, reported the Times Herald Record (http://bit.ly/2TI95gG).
The 1.9 square mile village includes nearly every unincorporated property in northern Monroe with the exception of two housing complexes whose residents would like oppose the plan.
Under state law, Monroe Supervisor Tony Cardone has approximately two months to decide if the proposal is legally sound. He condemned this morning’s attack, saying that the use of violence and other unlawful action to subvert the legal process is unacceptable.
“Any differences in opinion among residents should be resolved only in a peaceful manner through constructive, civil dialogue and open discussion,” said Cardone.
295 adults and 315 children reportedly live in the area proposed for Seven Springs, which consists of largely undeveloped land.