Tag Archives: 102nd Precinct

Cops looking for South Richmond Hill attempted burglary suspect


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Video surveillance

Police are looking for a suspect in connection with an attempted burglary of a South Richmond Hill home.

A male perpetrator walked through the yard of a residence near 132nd Street and 101st Avenue, and tried to open the garage on January 17 at about 2 a.m., cops said.

But the home alarm activated and the man fled, authorities said.

Video surveillance that the NYPD released shows the man walking near the side of the house.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

 

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Woodhaven QueensWay forum brings in new ideas


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File Photo

New ideas are flowing in for the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line.

The Woodhaven Residents Block Assocation (WRBA) hosted what attendees are calling the truest, open public forum held thus far regarding the QueensWay and Rockaway Beach line.

Advocates for the proposed 3.5-mile QueensWay park along the abandoned rail line addressed those with reservations about the project and vice versa on Monday in Woodhaven.

Ed Wendell, WRBA president, brought a new idea to the table. He said the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway that currently runs through Forest Park has been “a problem for 20 years,” and QueensWay officials should use this space as their “lab experiment.”

“Why don’t we focus on cleaning up the existing greenway,” he said. “Show us what you can do, and the community will be much more receptive.”

Alexander Blenkinsopp, a WRBA member, called this idea “brilliant,” and offered an additional option for “each community to decide what they want done with their stretch of the tracks.”

The old rail line runs up 98th Street from the Rockaways to Manhattan.

“If the people of Forest Hills really want the QueensWay, let them have it in their neighborhood,” he said. “And if it’s so wonderful, the residents of Woodhaven will see how great it is in Forest Hills and will eventually welcome it into their community as well.”

Wendell echoed many people when he said one main concern to address before moving forward with building a new park is security in existing greenspaces such as Forest Park.

“We see women jogging in the morning using flashlights,” Wendell said. “How terrifying is that? That they have to do this.”

He said that park officials as well as cops in the 102nd Precinct should be given proper resources to patrol the park before more acres are added via the QueensWay, which would connect to Forest Park.

A feasibility study to determine the possibility of creating the new park is currently underway, and QueensWay supporters noted it is “just a study” and “there really is no plan yet.”

However, residents doubt a QueensWay study would show the QueensWay is not feasible.

“Any proposals that come back are going to have to take into account a lot of people’s concerns,” Wendell said. “There are a whole lot of emotions and feelings on it.”

 

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Cops pull back some Forest Park patrols


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The NYPD is pulling back some of its police presence in Forest Park months after beefing up patrols following an August rape cops connected to five other sexual assaults in the park between March 2011 and this summer.

Police decided to remove eight cop cars that were patrolling the area after there were no additional sex crimes reported in the six weeks following the rape, the 102nd Precinct’s commanding officer, Henry Sautner, said at the most recent Community Board 9 (CB9) meeting. He said the resources for the coverage could not be maintained on an ongoing basis.

Sautner said there will still be two officers assigned to patrol the park. They are also utilizing auxiliary officers through their 56-member auxiliary program, with two to three operations per week in Forest Park.

“They’re the police officers and I believe they know best what they are doing,” said Mary Ann Carey, CB9 District Manager.

But Carey said she would like to see more Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers, for which the community has been lobbying.

A Parks Department spokesperson said this fall new PEP substations in Forest Park and in Rockaway will be opening “allowing [them] to more easily patrol the parks of western and southern Queens, respectively.” The substations, said the spokesperson, were made possible due to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget, which also doubled the amount of city-funded PEP officers that are available for patrols.

 

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Upstate New York man charged for fatal hit-and-run in Richmond Hill


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A man from upstate New York has been arrested and charged for an alleged hit-and-run that killed a Queens woman.

According to the NYPD, on Friday, at approximately 7 p.m. they responded to a pedestrian struck at 97th Avenue and 117th Street in Richmond Hill. Upon arrival, they found Raj Chohan, 59, of South Richmond Hill, unconscious and unresponsive. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

A police investigation revealed the victim was walking on 117th Street along parked cars when a grey 2013 Toyota Camry heading northbound, struck her and then fled the scene.

Police later caught the suspect at 115th Street and 101st Avenue. The suspect was identified as Vishwanand Subryan, 23, of Schenectady, New York.

He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and driving while intoxicated.

 

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Op-Ed: Simple measures for park safety


| oped@queenscourier.com

Late last week, the NYPD revealed that the suspect being sought in the late August attack of a 69-year old jogger in Forest Park is allegedly responsible for five previous attacks in and around the 538-acre park. Police presence has been increased with a temporary command center being set up at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South in Richmond Hill.

But this is a temporary measure, one that we’ve seen before. And in a few weeks it will be decided that the resources are needed elsewhere and it’ll be back to business as usual. Back in the 1970s, Assemblymember Frederick D. Schmidt called on the city to make Forest Park a separate police precinct – it’s an idea worth reconsidering.

The 102nd Precinct is currently responsible for Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill East, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, and the northern part of Ozone Park. The precinct includes a number of busy commercial districts (including Queens Boulevard, 101st Avenue and Jamaica Avenue) and several major roadways. That’s a large area, made even larger by the need to also patrol Forest Park.

A small precinct, or substation, with officers trained on and equipped with all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for regular patrolling of the many trails within the park, would make it safer for all who use it. Even a shopping mall has its own security base – why not one of our city’s largest public attractions?

In other words, if it’s such a necessary step after a woman is attacked, why not make it permanent in an effort to prevent future attacks?

Apart from an increase in police, the city needs to do a better job of keeping the streetlights in and around Forest Park in proper working condition. We have been reporting major outages in well-trafficked areas and there does not appear to be any sense of urgency to get them repaired.

During the early morning hours on Forest Park Drive, we have seen people walking or jogging carrying flashlights, meaning the lights have been out long enough for people to learn that they need to come prepared.

Ultimately, there is no one to blame for these attacks apart from the sick animal that commits them. He will be caught, though whatever punishment he receives will never be enough. But that does not mean we can’t take precautions so as not to give this animal any tactical advantages.

Whenever possible, try not to run or walk alone. Reach out to friends and neighbors; try to make it a social activity that can be enjoyed as a group. Avoid isolated trails; remember that you do not have to go deep into the park to be alone and that just because you can see a main road from the woods does not mean that people traveling on that road can see you.

Forest Park is a wonderful place that hosts many thousand residents and visitors each year. Let’s all do everything we can to make it the safest experience possible.

Edward K. Wendell
President
Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association


Video via YouTube/Edward Wendell

 

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Woodhaven looks to resurrect civilian patrol organization


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Frank Kotnik

Woodhaven leaders are seriously considering resurrecting the more-than-a-decade defunct civilian patrol to respond to recent crimes in the neighborhood.

Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) recently met with Assemblymember Mike Miller and members of the Glendale Civilian Operational Patrol (GCOP) to discuss how to start the neighborhood watch. And in a town hall meeting last week, WRBA members took a poll of attendees to gauge the interest, to which there were nearly a dozen responders.

“We want safer streets, we want to improve the quality of life in our community and we want our residents to feel empowered,” said Ed Wendell, president of the WRBA.

Wendell said talks about the patrol heated up after a man attempted to rape a woman in Forest Park a few months ago, but then more crimes followed. Last month a teenage girl was stabbed in Woodhaven nearly a dozen times and a few weeks ago a wife was arrested for allegedly killing her husband by smashing her car after he clung to the hood. Also, a girl was robbed recently in the area.

“We are not just sitting back and letting things happen,” Wendell said. “We are going to be a force in our future.”

There are no statistics that show whether neighborhood watch groups actually lower or prevent crime, but the precincts appreciate their help, according to an NYPD representative.

The new patrol will work together with GCOP, as Woodhaven wants to model their program on them. GCOP has been operating since 1976 and currently has about 56 active members.

GCOP will lend equipment, such as radios, reflective vests and flashlights, to the patrol once it is established. Members of the Glendale Patrol will also train new Woodhaven volunteers on how to spot suspicious activity and to be extra “eyes and ears” for the NYPD as opposed to vigilantes.

“When I got involved 25 years ago, no one lent us a hand,” said Frank Kotnik, president of GCOP. “They will not be out there by themselves.”

Miller, who was a member of GCOP for more than 16 years, said he would be willing to help collect funding for the group once the patrol becomes established.

“I always felt I was doing something significant for the community,” Miller said. “It is a good feeling and once you become a part of it you want to do more.”

Before the group can get started Woodhaven needs to collect dedicated members and address concerns, such as transportation and donations. They will also meet with GCOP again and the 102nd Precinct.

 

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Police seek slashing suspect


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man who allegedly slashed a woman multiple times in Queens on Friday.

The suspect, Dartanyan Kingsberry, approached the 26-year-old victim around 9:20 a.m. on June 28 within the 102nd Precinct and cut her with an unknown object, said police. The suspect then fled in an unknown direction.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Dartanyan Kingsberry is described as a 23-year-old black male, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair, wearing black work boots, black t-shirt and gray jeans, according to authorities.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Woodhaven noise complaints raise concerns


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

With summer coming, concerns about noise are among the top worries in the neighborhood, as addressed at the June 15 meeting of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).

WRBA President Ed Wendell said many sound abusers have been a constant problem for residents. He added they often continue the noise, if not even raising the volume, if 3-1-1 is called.

WRBA recently ran an online survey that drew replies from 45 people, Wendell said. He explained that thirty-two of the complaints were for loud parties, while 39 of the total incidents took place between 6 p.m. and midnight.

“I know a couple of people here in this room have issues with neighbors that are chronic locations where the behavior, while not only rude, in some cases borders on harassment,” he said. “It sounds like what’s happened is they’ve complained a number of times, the people that have been complained about got wind of it, and now they’re fighting back with behaviors that would be considered harassment.”

While many of these complaints relate to parties, WRBA Treasurer Vance Barbour said he recently encountered two vehicles blasting music on Jamaica Avenue so loudly that the vibrations shook the cars’ windows.

“It’s just ridiculous,” he said, “They’re just wiping out our whole commercial strip.”

There were 53 calls to 3-1-1 from May 25 to June 17 within Woodhaven’s zip code, according to city data. Thirty of those calls fell under the categories of “loud music/party” or “car/truck music.”

The 102nd Precinct is taking a proactive approach to combating chronic noise makers, according to community affairs officer Jose Severino. Officers in the past have given a warning to partiers, only to turn the corner to hear the music return, he said.

Now, Severino said the precinct is issuing summonses and nipping the problem in the bud.

“I’m taking a different approach,” he said. “I don’t want to go in August, I want to go right now and take care of it.”

 

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Cops ID Ridgewood body; suspect charged with murder


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK

Twenty-seven year old Derek Tudor confessed to killing his mother’s boyfriend, Frank Soucie, whose body investigators recovered from his Ridgewood backyard, a police source said.

Criminal charges indicate that Tudor intentionally suffocated Soucie, 60, sometime between Sunday, April 21 and Sunday, April 28 in or around the Putnam Avenue home, said District Attorney Richard Brown.

Soucie was thought to be missing until a neighbor reported Tudor acting suspiciously to the local precinct on Tuesday, April 30.

Police responded to the call and searched the area. They searched the building’s rooftop, where investigators allegedly found a knotted electrical cord and a bottle of ammonia. On the roof of a connected building, they found a large plastic bin and what appeared to be blood. Police also found visible drag marks leading to the back of the building, according to the district attorney.

In Soucie’s backyard, police found a fresh pile of dirt, the source said. Underneath, they found a male’s body wrapped in sheets, later determined to be Soucie. According to the medical examiner’s office, Soucie died as a result of homicidal asphyxiation.

Neighbors said Soucie lived with his girlfriend, Stephanie Verni, 54, and her son in the Ridgewood apartment. The couple often argued about her son, they said, and Soucie wanted him to move out.

On Tuesday morning, eight days after Soucie went missing, Tudor was seen wandering inside Soucie’s building. He walked into a third-floor apartment, where a tenant found him. Tudor seemed “panicked” and asked to use the fire escape to get into to Soucie’s second-floor apartment just below, said the tenant’s boyfriend, Raymond Velez.

“It was weird how this kid was acting,” Velez said.

Moments later, neighbors saw Tudor come out of the building with a large white laundry bag. He threw it into a garbage can, and Velez, who was outside, went to investigate. Velez said he opened the bag and found what appeared to be burnt clothes inside layers of black garbage bags. He said the clothes gave off a burning, chemical smell.

At 6:15 p.m. that same day, Tudor went with his biological father to the 102nd Precinct and turned himself in. According to the police source, he made statements incriminating himself, and was later charged with murder.

Tudor was arrested for forcible touching in 2010. He was also arrested for jumping a turnstile.

Neighbors in the tight-knit Ridgewood community are distraught somebody could do this to their longtime friend.

“He would never hurt a fly,” said Debbie Webster, who knew Soucie for more than 20 years. “When we found out he was missing, we knew something had happened. He didn’t deserve something like this.”

Tudor was arraigned on Thursday, May 2 on second-degree murder charges. He was ordered held without bail and will return to court on Wednesday, May 15. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney.

Community cleans up Jamaica Avenue graffiti


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

photo

On Sunday, April 21, the Richmond Hill Block Association, 102nd Precinct Officers Jose Severino and Joseph Martins and cadets from the John Bowne High School Air Force JROTC cleaned up graffiti along Jamaica Avenue. They painted over several problematic sites.

 

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Cops honored for Woodhaven drug bust


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Police officers Christopher Valand and Kenneth Vencak were honored as Cops of the Month by the 102nd Precinct Community Council after a major narcotics bust in Woodhaven.

On Wednesday, January 9 the two officers noticed a dispute inside a car at the intersection of 85th Street  and 88th Avenue. The officers approached the vehicle after one suspect tried to get rid of illegal substances.

The pair recovered about 100 decks of heroin from  the vehicle, and later found an additional 796 envelopes of the drug inside the car. One of the suspects had been arrested no less than 12 times, according  to Commanding Officer Captain Henry Sautner.

 

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Turkey with all the trimmings


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy RHBA

For the last 25 years, the Richmond Hill Block Association (RHBA) and its board of directors and civilian patrol have been preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill.

Officers who are on duty have a full dinner with all the trimmings. This event has succeeded in bringing the police closer to the community and the community closer to the police.

This year, the turkey was donated by Key Food and other treats were donated by Manor Deli and Oxford Bakery. Assemblymembers Michael Simanowitz, Michael Miller and David Weprin and City Councilmember Eric Ulrich also helped make the meal possible through their support.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who participated in this effort and the 102nd police precinct for a job well done,” said Simcha Waisman of the RHBA.

 

Many Woodhaven mailboxes stay graffiti free


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

DSC_0775w

They delivered for you.

Much of the graffiti that littered the blue or green mailboxes in Woodhaven has been painted over, and the boxes have stayed clean for the most part, said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).

On Sunday, August 26, Wendell and two other residents went out to clean about nine mailboxes that were tagged. By the end of the day, all 80 mailboxes in Woodhaven — across three zones — were cleaned.

Zone A, which spans from Woodhaven Boulevard to 98th Street, has not needed to be cleaned in nearly a month, Wendell said.

“We haven’t touched that one now in three-and-a-half weeks,” he said. “We’re definitely seeing some progress.”

After researching graffiti statistics, Wendell said the best way to fight consistent graffiti was by repainting the mailboxes as soon as they have been tagged.

The Courier reported in early August that the WRBA had been tracking tags in an effort to combat the markings throughout the neighborhood.

The Block Association has continued to give information to the 102nd Precinct to help fight the problem.

If graffiti continues in the neighborhood, Wendell said residents would be open to staking out boxes that are common targets, in conjunction with police efforts. He and other residents plan on taking the Civilian Police Course this fall that will inform them of correct legal procedures.

“We did speak to [the police] about doing stake-outs,” Wendell said. “We have got about a half dozen residents, myself included, who are going to the Civilian Police Academy.”

The neighborhood leader said if a vandal is caught, residents will work with law enforcement to make sure the proper penalty is imposed.

“Now when someone gets arrested for tagging in the neighborhood, we’re going to be following up,” he said.

Waging war on graffiti in Queens


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Photos by Tony Ringston

Graffiti be gone.

Rollers in hand, enthusiastic community members, officers of the 102nd Precinct and some very civic-minded kids gathered on sunny Sunday, May 20 to help erase vandalism.

Members of the John Bowne High School Air Force Junior ROTC, 102nd Precinct Explorers, Richmond Hill Block Association and Community Emergency Response Team tackled various locations, covering up the tags and banishing the blight.

“This is a typical type of community event [for them],” explained Sergeant Nephtali Robles of the ROTC, noting that the members have logged over 3,000 hours of service so far this year.

“It makes the community better and makes you feel better,” said Liliana Garcia, 16.

With 50 gallons of paint from Borough Hall, Community Affairs Officers Joseph Martins and Jose Severino, along with Lieutenant Rob Seaman, Officer Richard Mann — whose 12-year-old son Zachary also pitched in to clean up — and various others waged the war on graffiti.

If you would like to help by donating time or supplies, or to learn more, contact the 102nd Precinct Community Affairs at 718-805-3215.

Cops who arrested pair in car thefts honored


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Erica Camhi

Two officers were honored at the most recent 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting in Richmond Hill.

Captain Martin Briffa announced officers Kevin Warmhold and Kenneth Vencak as Cops of the Month during the Precinct Council’s monthly meeting on January 17.

Briffa — executive officer of the 102nd Precinct — said the pair was feted for arresting two individuals who attempted to make off with a stolen van.

On January 3, at around 11 p.m., Briffa said the two officers saw a male and female acting suspiciously on Atlantic Avenue. According to Briffa, the suspects removed a license plate from a Ford van, switched it with another plate and drove off in the stolen van.

Upon pursuit, Warmhold and Vencak were able to nab the criminals after a few blocks.

The male perp was later found to have 13 prior arrests — all for stealing cars — while the arrested female had three. The license plate in their possession, according to police, was also from another vehicle the pair stole.

According to Community Council President Maria Thomson, arrests like these have led to the success of the precinct and safety of the community. In fact, the 102nd Precinct was chosen as the 22nd safest precinct in the city, she said.

“We really are doing very well here,” she said, “I know — and you know — that our police officers, our captain, our lieutenants and our sergeants are working very, very hard.”

But because of their success, the 102nd Precinct did not get any new police officers from the latest graduating academy class — which was one concern raised by a resident.

“Because of the fact that we’re doing so well with statistics, we are being penalized,” Thomson said. “That is not fair.”

Thomson urged residents and local elected officials to write a letter to the police commissioner or mayor asking for more officers for the precinct.

Another resident raised concerns about three burglaries that allegedly took place on 127th Street during Christmas week, but Briffa assured there were “no pattern robberies right now.” However, Briffa encouraged homeowners to check their front door locks because most burglaries, he said, occur because front doors are not locked properly.

The majority of complaints stemmed from incensed residents living on Park Lane South, who say a nearby house has been drawing in a slew of unwanted activity after the building was foreclosed on by the bank in 2009.

According to residents, “squatters” have been living there, congregating, screaming and causing trouble inside. Residents also allege that there is drug and alcohol abuse inside the house, and one neighbor said he often smells marijuana coming from the home when he opens his window.

Although the captain said he can’t do anything about the squatters, he said if there is illegal drug use, he can try and get them locked up.

Meanwhile, he said neighboring residents should call the precinct to come out and investigate if they notice illegal activity.

Additional reporting by Erica Camhi