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Homicide victim had record

December 11, 2013

by Lauren Halligan and Jackson Wang

Albany police have released the name of the victim of a homicide in a Western Avenue apartment last week.

Mailbox for Caleb Capen on Western Avenue/Lauren Halligan

Albany Police spokesman Ptl. Steve Smith identified the victim as 26-year-old Caleb Capen, a resident at 326 Western Ave., where he was involved in an altercation.

According to the police report, Capen was found lying face down in a pool of blood around his head when officers discovered his body in a bedroom. Smith said he did not know if weapons were used in the alleged homicide.

Capen was on a five-year probation when he died after spending time in jail for animal cruelty charges three years ago. According to a February 2010 police report, Capen drowned his cat Prince in a bathroom tub at his then Madison Avenue apartment. He then set the dead cat on fire and was charged with torturing animals and aggravated cruelty to animals.

According to his obituary, funeral services were held Wednesday for Capen, who had a “love of video and computer games.”

326 Western Ave. is a 10-apartment complex feet away from the Saint Rose campus security headquarters. Photo by Lauren Halligan.

Last week, police were investigating a reported broken window at 326 Western Ave., a building located just east of the Saint Rose security department building.

A forensics investigation unit determined that the death was a homicide, but Smith said he did not know if weapons were involved.

Hours after the police responded and investigated the situation, they arrested Oscar Valcarcel, 41, of Albany and charged him with burglary and petty larceny. He is still only facing those two charges.

No other arrests or new charges have been made. Smith said the investigation is still ongoing.

The landlord of 326 Western Ave. from Hyjinks LLC, who did not give her name,  said “I don’t really know anything about the investigation,” though she later stated that she was in the apartment with detectives on Tuesday.

The security camera that caught Collins also caught Vascarcel. Photo by Lauren Halligan.

The security camera that caught Collins also caught Vascarcel. Photo by Lauren Halligan.

Her tenant, she said,  “was a very nice man. He was actually very thoughtful.”

The landlord said it was fortunate that the security camera at the corner of Partridge Street and Western Avenue was operating at the time of the incident.

In October, another incident occurred in that same area, when Anthony Collins was arrested and charged with kidnapping and possession of a weapon after attempting to abduct a female college student at the corner of Western Avenue and O’Leary Boulevard, directly across from 326 Western Ave. Collins may have been a resident at that address.

When a reporter from The Pine Hills blog inquired if Collins was a tenant, the landlord hung up the phone.

Last week, a neighbor, Sifat Anwar said he thought Collins had lived at 326 Western Ave. “I spoke to a few friends and they said this house in general is sketchy,” Anwar said a few days after the homicide was reported.

Late Wednesday, a For Rent sign was affixed to the front of the building. -30-


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