Cops honored for collaring car break-in thief

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THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan
THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Sgt. Scott Brenes and police officers Michael Cillis, Christopher Vernam and Romeo Francis (not pictured) were honored as “Cops of the Month.”

Four cops in the 111th Precinct were awarded recently for arresting a repeat car break-in offender.

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta honored police officers Michael Cillis, Christopher Vernam, Romeo Francis and Sgt. Scott Brenes as “Cops of the Month” for their collar during the precinct’s monthly meeting on November 12.

“These guys have been working hard, night and day, working very late hours,” Huerta said. “It pays off every once in a while. This is one of those instances.”

The precinct’s four anti-crime unit officers arrested a white male in his 20s on October 22 around midnight. The suspect, police said, allegedly broke into a 2013 Honda that was parked in a residential driveway and stole a wallet inside.

He was charged with grand larceny, unlawful possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Huerta said he was a known vehicle break-in recidivist.

“It’s a very tough job to apprehend anyone breaking into a car. It’s a job that takes a lot of effort, a lot of expertise,” Huerta said.

The precinct’s commanding officer praised the feted cops for their “quick thinking, intelligent police work and diligence.”

“[These are] the guys that are driving out there in unmarked cars and in plain clothes,” Huerta said.

“They’re working into all hours of the morning, staking out very quiet areas.”

Coupled with an uptick in car break-ins, grand larceny numbers have been “climbing expeditiously,” according to the precinct.

Honda Accords are also being targeted in tire and rim thefts, Huerta said, with 17 incidents in just a month.

The 111th Precinct is up 6 percent in crime for the year, but four new officers joined their ranks last week.

“We could always use more, but we can do the job,” Huerta said. “We’re not struggling for manpower here.”