Tag Archives: 104th Precinct

Cops nab pair who used BB gun to rob man on Ridgewood street


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Two men were arrested last week after they allegedly used a BB gun to rob a man on a Ridgewood street, prosecutors revealed on Tuesday.

Ridgewood’s Enis Mustafa, 30, and Astrit Kupi, 22, were collared by 104th Precinct officers shortly after the stickup, which occurred at 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 10 in the area of 60th Place and Putnam Avenue, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Reportedly, the two suspects approached the male victim and attempted to yank the gold chain he was wearing around his neck.

Police said Kupi then allegedly punched the man in the face, and Mustafa pulled a black firearm out of his waistband, pointed it at the victim and demanded additional property.

The victim removed the gold chain as well as a gold bracelet from his wrist and nearly $400 in cash and threw them to the ground. Kupi and Mustafa picked up the items, then ordered the victim to leave.

According to the criminal complaint, responding officers soon spotted Kupi and Mustafa walking in the vicinity of 60th Street and 70th Avenue and stopped them; both men fit the description of the suspects.

Officers found the stolen cash in Kupi’s pants pocket, while the gold chain and bracelet — as well as a BB gun allegedly used in the robbery — were found on the ground near where the suspects were stopped.

Kupi and Mustafa were charged with second-degree armed robbery, second-degree robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property. Both remain held on $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash bail, according to court records.

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Drone talk tops 104COP general assembly meeting


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The new president of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), Mark Pearson, got his first taste of official duty as he conducted his first 104COP general assembly meeting at the United Talmudic Seminary in Glendale on Thursday night.

After 104COP unveiled its newest piece of equipment last week, a quad-copter, Pearson was faced with answering questions from patrol members and residents regarding this new technology.

“The idea is to use this device in conjunction with the NYPD to make sure that they’re aware that it’s going to be for what it’s going to be used for, which right now it is slated to be used for missing children or a missing person,” Pearson said. “So anytime it goes up, they’re aware of it. We need to be fully open and transparent with the NYPD.”

Pearson said that the 104th Precinct does not officially sanction drones, but they are not opposed to them either. He also informed those in attendance that 104COP is in the process of getting the proper exemptions and filing the appropriate paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“The regulations are, if you’re going to fly within a 5-mile radius of an airport, which is within the jurisdiction of the 104th Precinct, we have to notify the air traffic controller and get approval from them first,” Pearson said. “If it’s outside of that you don’t need to, you have to fly below 400 feet. Which, in order to try and find somebody, you would have to fly 100 feet. And the regulation is you can’t fly below 25 feet over people.”

“There’s a lot of concerns over privacy issues and everything like that,” he continued. “These devices, well the one that we have, does not support audio. It only records, if we turn it on, video. That’s it. There’s no use for us to use it to spy on anybody. That’s not what it’s meant for. It’s meant to find a missing child as quickly as possible.”

Pearson also noted that 104COP will continue to coordinate their patrols with the 104th Precinct to make them more cohesive and effective.

“Either at the time of the patrol, or right before the patrol, we actually get in touch with the captain and let him know that we are going out so that way he’s aware,” Pearson said. “He’s been relaying information to us and I, in turn, will now inform whoever else is supervising the patrol so that way they know where to focus.”

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104COP introduces brand-new quad-copter to the squad


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP) is taking to the skies with its newest piece of equipment, a Phantom 3 Advanced quad-copter.

The quad-copter is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be remotely piloted from the ground. Mark Pearson, president of 104COP, gave the Ridgewood Times a demonstration of the quad-copter and its abilities at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village on Aug. 7.

“The number one reason we got it was to help when searching for missing persons, especially children,” Pearson said. “One of our members suggested getting one and I thought it would be a great opportunity to help find missing children.”

The UAV has a wide range of features that can be useful in finding missing persons or criminals on the run from police.

The quad-copter is equipped with a 1080p high-definition 12 megapixel camera. The image from the camera can be broadcasted directly to the user’s smartphone through a downloadable app so the operator can see exactly what the UAV is pointed at. The user can also take photos and video of the quad-copter’s flight with their smartphone.

The device has the ability to fly just above a mile in any direction before losing connection to the remote. Pearson said that this specific model has safety limits built into it, restricting the UAV to only 400 feet, in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines.

“In residential areas, like this one, you have to be aware of power lines,” Pearson said. “You always have to fly above the power lines. Putting it up high is not really useful to us, as you can’t see much on the ground from higher distances.”

Another handy feature of the quad-copter is the home point feature, which allows the device to automatically return to the point of takeoff if it flies out of the user’s line of sight, loses signal with the remote or has a low battery, or if the user manually requests it to return.

“We’ve been practicing with it to really see how it works,” Pearson said. “We are going to train at least two more people to be able to use it.”

Pearson admitted that there were some concerns over the reaction the quad-copter would receive due to people’s predispositions regarding this new type of technology.

“We were a little uneasy about the reaction we would get,” Pearson said. “We want to see how well this gets adopted. We got a good reaction from the commanding officer of the 104th Precinct.”

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Man fatally struck by car in Middle Village


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A 61-year-old man died from injuries he sustained after being hit by a car in Middle Village early Friday morning, police announced Saturday.

Authorities said the accident occurred at 12:22 a.m. on Aug. 7 at the corner of 69th Road and 78th Street.

Police said the man, whose identity was withheld pending family notification, was crossing 78th Street when he was hit by a 2004 Dodge driven by an 18-year-old male.

Reportedly, the vehicle was turning onto 78th Street from 69th Road westbound; the driver remained at the scene.

Officers from the 104th Precinct and EMS units responded; the victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he later died.

An investigation is ongoing.

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PHOTOS: Queens residents enjoy a fun ‘Night Out’ with New York’s Finest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Promoting greater harmony between police and the people they serve, Tuesday’s National Night Out Against Crime brought thousands of Queens residents out to venues across the “World’s Borough” for family-friendly activities.

From Astoria to the Rockaway Peninsula, each Night Out event included free games and activities for children of all ages as well as refreshments, live music and other entertainment. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with the officers who serve their community and learn more about the NYPD’s various crime prevention programs.

Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, attended each gathering and presented proclamations to the precinct commanders. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who made the rounds at Night Out events across the city, stopped by the 113th Precinct’s Night Out in Springfield Gardens.

The National Night Out Against Crime, founded by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities. Millions of people across the U.S. and Canada were estimated to have participated in Night Out events Tuesday evening.

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104th Precinct closes down two rowdy Ridgewood hot spots


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct

Excessive noise, drug use and even episodes of violence led police to shut down two Ridgewood bars earlier this week.

In executing court orders, the 104th Precinct padlocked the Arena Billiards Cafe located at 341 St. Nicholas Ave. and Sabor Y Rumba located at 666 Seneca Ave. for various infractions. The precinct announced the shutdowns on its Twitter account on Monday.

According to sources, the closures were the result of investigations launched through complaints from local residents. Police found that Sabor Y Rumba allegedly sold alcohol illegally to underage patrons and continued to sell booze to overly intoxicated patrons. The establishment also had a history of noise complaints.

The allegations at Arena Billiards were more serious, police sources noted, as the club served as an incubator of criminal activity that eventually spilled onto the streets, such as assaults, robberies, and drug use and possession.

In March, a 21-year-old man was shot to death on Palmetto Street, a few steps away from the Arena Billiards entrance.

The owners of both establishments were ordered to appear in civil court to answer to the various charges against them. They must pay any civil penalties incurred before reopening the establishments, according to police.

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Cops seek suspect in Ridgewood bus stop robbery


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD released video footage Friday night of a man wanted in connection with a recent robbery at a Ridgewood bus stop.

According to authorities, the incident occurred at 3:20 a.m. on June 17 at the bus stop located on Metropolitan Avenue near Woodward Avenue.

Reportedly, a 59-year-old man was standing at the location when he was approached by the suspect, a black male, and two white male cohorts. Police said the black male demanded the victim’s property, and the two white males grabbed the man from behind and threw him to the ground.

Authorities said the three perpetrators searched the victim and removed cash along with his wallet, which contained credit cards, then fled from the scene.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the incident; the victim refused medical attention.

Through their investigation, detectives learned that the black male later used the victim’s credit cards at locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The video shows him making one of the illegal purchases.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

 

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Driver injured after train strikes truck in Maspeth


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

The driver of a tractor-trailer was hospitalized after his rig was struck by a train at a Maspeth railroad crossing early Wednesday morning, according to police.

Police said the accident occurred just before 1 a.m. in the area of Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street.

Reportedly, the New York and Atlantic Railway engine was traveling eastbound when it hit the truck that was on the four-track crossing on Maspeth Avenue. The impact caused the truck to burst into flames.

Officers from the 104th Precinct along with EMS and Fire Department units responded to the scene. The truck driver was taken to a local hospital and was listed in stable condition; no other injuries were reported.

An investigation is ongoing.

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Cops arrest Middle Village, Ridgewood residents in fireworks bust


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct

They won’t be having a blast this Fourth of July.

Two Middle Village residents and a Ridgewood man were arrested Thursday for illegally possessing fireworks as part of the NYPD’s ongoing crackdown on unlawful pyrotechnics leading up to Independence Day.

The 104th Precinct stopped Middle Village’s Jason Rodriguez, 28, and Tina Foley, 29, at 9:50 p.m. Thursday night at the intersection of 65th Place and Admiral Avenue in Middle Village. Reportedly, they were found in possession of $2,000 in illegal fireworks, some of which were left unattended with a 3-year-old child in their car.

Additionally, the precinct also took into custody Wilfredo Maisonave, 32, of Ridgewood after he was caught possessing fireworks in front of a location on Woodward Avenue between Flushing Avenue and Troutman Street at about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy professionally-operated and permitted fireworks displays such as the Macy’s 4th of July spectacular on the East River, but it is illegal for residents to set off their own fireworks.

“The 104th Precinct will have extra patrols out all day and night to deal with illegal fireworks,” Det. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit said in an email. “If you get caught, you can be subject to arrest.”

Anyone who witnesses fireworks being illegally used or sold in New York City is urged to call 911.

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Detectives collar suspect in Ridgewood rape attempt


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police charged a Brooklyn man on Tuesday with the attempted rape of a woman whom he followed into a Ridgewood apartment building last week.

Larry Williams, 24, of Bedford-Stuyvesant is accused of trying to sexually assault a 28-year-old woman on the 1900 block of Palmetto Street at about 9:15 a.m. on June 25. Reportedly, he was not known to the victim.

According to authorities, Williams followed the victim into the building, then confronted her as she attempted to enter her apartment. Reportedly, the suspect tried to pull the victim’s pants down.

Police said the victim engaged in a physical struggle with Williams, then managed to enter her apartment and lock the door behind her. Williams reportedly attempted to push the door open, but his efforts failed and he fled the scene.

The incident was reported to the 104th Precinct; the woman was not injured.

Members of the NYPD Queens Special Victims Squad tracked down Williams and arrested him Tuesday following questioning at the 112th Precinct’s Forest Hills stationhouse, where the squad is based. Williams is charged with attempted rape, burglary, sex abuse and forcible touching.

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Cops seek man who tried to rape woman in Ridgewood apartment


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated June 26, 1:05 p.m.

Detectives released a video Thursday night of a man wanted for attempting to rape a 28-year-old woman inside an apartment building in Ridgewood earlier that morning.

According to police, the incident occurred at 9:15 a.m. at an undisclosed location on Palmetto Street.

Reportedly, the suspect — described as a black male in his late teens to early 20s, standing 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds — followed the woman into the location, then up to her apartment.

When she attempted to enter her residence, police said, the perpetrator tried to pull her pants down. The victim reportedly was able to fight off the suspect, then got into her apartment and locked him out.

Police said the would-be rapist then tried to push the door open, but was unsuccessful and fled from the location. The woman was not injured.

Anyone with information regarding the incident or the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.

Editor’s note: An earlier version, based on information the NYPD provided Thursday, incorrectly identified the location as Woodside. We regret any confusion which may have resulted.

 

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Crime drops in 104th Precinct but ID theft still up


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

BY ANGELA MATUA

Crime dropped across the 104th Precinct last month, with the exception of identity theft, which has been a continuous problem, according to the precinct’s commander.

Capt. Mark Wachter, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, told guests at the 104th Precinct Community Council Meeting in Maspeth Tuesday night that crime dropped by 8 percent, with 60 crimes in the past 28 days.

Though the number of robberies and burglaries has stayed even for the year, there has been a recent uptick in wallets stolen from vehicles. Wachter urged residents to remove any personal items from their cars when they leave.

P.O. Rob Selmer of the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit warned about the dangers of identity theft and encouraged people to shred all of their mail and not to give money to people who claim to be from the IRS or any government organization. He also urged those going away for vacation to have a friend or neighbor pick up their mail.

“If you’re going away for the summer, let them pick up your mail,” Selmer said. “Mail is a big indicator that you are not home.”

Wachter said the precinct has removed 15 derelict cars from an area in Maspeth and an unlicensed tow truck from Grand Avenue after several residents called the precinct to complain. Only towing companies in the Directed Accident Towing Program are allowed to tow trucks, he said.

“This is a tow truck that basically operates illegally to skate around New York towing cars when they’re not supposed to,” Wachter said. “If you get into a car accident there’s one tow truck that’s supposed to come, not just Joe Schmoe’s towing service.”

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, residents warned Wachter about a suspicious massage parlor in Maspeth, graffiti on the Woodhaven Boulevard underpass, speeding problems near the Metro Mall in Middle Village and abandoned houses in Maspeth and Glendale.

“We need the community involvement,” Wachter said. “We rely on information you give us to solve these crimes.”

Wachter also presented police officers Nicholas Mancuso and Jonathan Hili with Cop of the Month honors for arresting four people in a home invasion on Gates Avenue in Ridgewood.

DSC02479

“We probably prevented a shooting,” Wachter said. “If we didn’t take these three guns off the street, what could’ve happened? We’ll never know the answer to that question but it’s something to ponder.”

Wachter and newly-elected Precinct Council President Len Santoro, who was elected president in place of Mario Matos, presented the officers with plaques donated by the Ridgewood Times.

Bob Monahan, executive director of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, also spoke about programs offered by the council, including a young adult internship program for people ages 18 to 24 who receive job training and an internship with companies throughout New York City.

The organization also has a youth employment program for people ages 14 to 24 who work at the youth council during the summer. Monahan encouraged people at the meeting to tell young people in the community about these programs.

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Five teens caught in Middle Village robbery


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

Five teenagers were taken into custody following a Tuesday night robbery in Middle Village, police reported.

Authorities stated that the two victims were traveling through Juniper Valley Park at approximately 10:25 p.m. when they were approached by the five suspects. One of the perpetrators reportedly displayed a knife and demanded the victims’ cellphones.

During the course of the robbery, the group attacked the teens and removed their iPhones before fleeing from the scene, authorities said.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the incident; the victims suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

Police apprehended the five perpetrators in the area of 69th Street and Metropolitan Avenue shortly after the incident. They were identified as Jonathan Perez 18, from the Bronx; Kenneth Cabrera 18, of Glendale; Justin Santos 19, of Middle Village; a 17-year-old male, of Maspeth; and a 15-year-old male from New Britain, Connecticut.

Each suspect was charged with robbery.

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Ridgewood group eyes NYPD roster and homelessness


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Hiring more police officers and reducing homelessness were hot topics during the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) meeting on June 4 at the Ridgewood Older Adult Center.

According to Captain Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct has witnessed a 9.5 percent drop in the seven major crime categories. Problems plaguing the command include an upswing in identity theft, scams and theft of unattended property, such as wallets and laptop computers left in cars.

Even so, crime is up in other parts of the city, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley noted the City Council wants funds to hire more police officers included in 2016 fiscal year budget.

According to Crowley, Commissioner Bratton approached the City Council and requested funds to hire 500 extra police officers, primarily for the city’s anti-terrorism task force. However, Crowley estimates the need for more officers to be double that amount.

“It’s rare that you even have a commissioner of an agency that disagrees with a mayor,” Crowley said. “But the truth of the matter is, he could use a thousand more police officers.”

Crowley estimates that the police department spends roughly $700 million dollars in overtime pay to officers each year. “If you add enough resources to pay people straight time…you would save a significant amount of money by not having to pay time and a half,” she added.

She proposed deploying the additional 500 officers Bratton requested to problem areas throughout the city, including troubled neighborhoods such as Brownsville and the South Bronx, which, according to her estimates, have witnessed a 40 percent uptick in major crimes within the past year.

Crowley also tackled the issue of homelessness and rent increases, a topic of particular concern to the growing Ridgewood community.

“Some people are charging outrageous amounts for rent and it’s driving a lot of families out. This is happening throughout the city,” she explained.

As a preventative measure, Crowley announced that she has allocated funds in the budget for the city’s LINK Program. This network of social services is designed to fight homelessness by keeping families out of shelters and helping them stay in their own homes.

In addition to vital resources, Crowley said that she had also allocated funds for local trees and park improvements, as well as other capital requests from Community Board 5. This news delighted former RPOCA president Paul Kerzner, who has been advocating for the planting of more trees throughout Ridgewood.

Kerzner estimates that roughly $300,000 would be required in the 2016 budget for tree planting in the community. Crowley explained that she had allocated that amount in the previous year’s budget for stump removal and the planting of 100 new trees.

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Five-alarm inferno in Queens Village amid stormy weather


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@FDNY

Updated Monday, June 1, 11:24 a.m.

Firefighters battled a five-alarm inferno at a Queens Village commercial building Sunday night amid wild weather that caused street closures borough-wide due to flooding.

According to the FDNY, the blaze broke out at about 6:30 p.m. on the ground floor of the warehouse located in the area of 218th Street and 98th Avenue.

Hundreds of firefighters from across the city were battling the inferno, which was upgraded to a five-alarm fire at about 8:47 p.m. Sunday. No injuries were reported, and the blaze was brought under control about four hours later.

The 109th Precinct tweeted that the odor of heavy smoke from the fire wafted across northeast Queens. Residents in the Queens Village area were advised to keep their windows closed and limit outdoor activity until the smoke dissipated.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, as thunderstorms carrying torrential rains rolled through the city, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) reported numerous road closures due to flooding.

As of 9:01 p.m. Sunday night, the OEM reported flooding forced the closure of the westbound Jackie Robinson Parkway at Union Turnpike in Glendale and the Long Island Expressway at Utopia Parkway in Fresh Meadows. Both roads have since reopened.

The 104th Precinct also reported that part of Cypress Avenue at Vermont Place in Glendale was closed after a sinkhole developed at a construction site.

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