Tag Archives: 109th precinct

Queens woman admits to bogus ‘blessing scam’

| mchan@queenscourier.com


A 50-year-old con artist has admitted to duping three Queens women out of nearly $5,000 through a phony “blessing” scam, officials said.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Fengluan Qin confessed Thursday to using an ancient con game to take jewelry and large sums of cash from three unsuspecting Flushing women, between 52 and 72 years old.

Qin convinced the victims to place their cash and valuables into a bag for a “blessing ritual” that would cure their families of sickness and bad luck, before swapping the bags and stealing the goods, Brown said.

Victims of the hoax have lost $1.3 million within the last year to different crews moving throughout the city, according to Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct.

Out of about 50 cases citywide, more than $500,000 has been pilfered from victims in the 109th precinct alone, Maguire said.

According to Brown, the scam that targets mostly elderly immigrant women is prevalent in Asian communities nationwide.

“People should be aware that this is just one of many confidence tricks used by individuals to swindle money from vulnerable people and should not fall victim to it,” Brown said.

The district attorney’s office said Qin, a Chinese national with an expired visa, was believed to be living in Flushing, though she did not provide an address to authorities.

She pleaded guilty to grand larceny charges on December 5, Brown said. She is expected to be sentenced to one to three years in prison on December 18.

As part of the plea deal, Qin must also forfeit $4,765 in restitution and sign a confession of judgment for another $10,000.

Police are urging families to spread word of the scam to older relatives and friends.

Cops said victims, if approached, should agree with the tricksters on a meeting spot and then go home and call 9-1-1.


Police searching for suspects in Flushing, Briarwood robberies

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Video Courtesy NYPD

Police are looking for two men wanted in connection with two robberies on Saturday.

According to the NYPD, the first robbery occurred at approximately 12:25 a.m. in the vicinity of 58th Road and 138th Street in Flushing. The two suspects approached a 22-year-old male victim, placed him in a chokehold, displayed a firearm and then removed his Samsung Galaxy cellphone and wallet. No medical attention was requested after the incident.

The second robbery took place the same day around 12:45 a.m.near 84th Drive and 148th Street in Briarwood , said police. The suspects approached the 31-year-old male and 38-year-old female victims, displayed a firearm and removed their iPhone, purse and wallet, and then fled. No medical attention was requested after this incident.

According to police, the suspects are described as being 18 to 20-year-old males, approximately 5’7”to 5’9” with thin builds.

The NYPD has released a video of the first robbery in Flushing.

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



109th Precinct cautions about airplane ticket scams

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The 109th Precinct urges users of certain websites to be extra cautious.

According to officers, a 23-year-old Asian man is wanted by police for duping a victim out of thousands of dollars.  The man sold the victim 19 roundtrip tickets from New York City to Shanghai, valued at $22,000, which he said he paid in person, in cash on October 8. The perpetrator allegedly gave the victim 19 corresponding confirmation numbers. When the victim went to check the confirmation numbers, the statuses were all cancelled. Numerous attempts to contact the perpetrator were made by the victim shortly thereafter. Despite his persistent phone calls, the victim has yet to find the perp.

“It might have been a one-time incident but it could very well become a new scam,” cautioned Police officer Anthony LoVerme.

LoVerme urges users to be careful on sites such as Craigslist since it is difficult to really know with whom one is dealing.

LoVerme strongly suggests that one buy airplane tickets from a reputable source, therefore avoiding “cash-only street-dealings” with strangers.



Suspect tries to break into Whitestone residence using homeowner’s ladder

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

On Monday between the hours of 1 and 1:30 p.m., a 9-1-1 call was made stating a suspicious man dressed in all black clothing was fleeing a home in the vicinity of 149th Street and 22nd Avenue in Whitestone.

Sources say the suspect attempted to break into a home using a ladder which was left at the back of the house. The owner was in the house at the time, yelled, and the perp took off, using the ladder to get back out.

The 109th Precinct responded with cars, K-9 and aviation units, but the suspect was not arrested.

The 109th Precinct Community Council advises that if you have a ladder in the back of your home lock it to a fence or keep it in the garage.



Citywide scam cons elderly Chinese women out of $1.3M

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Victims of a citywide scam targeting elderly Chinese women have given $1.3 million to con artists within the last year, police said.

According to the 109th Precinct, a hoax stemming from China continues to plague seniors in downtown Flushing.

Victims have lost about $500,000 in the Queens precinct alone out of about 50 cases citywide, officials said.

“This is having a devastating impact upon families,” said Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct. “It’s not just one or two people doing this. We believe there’s a bunch of different crews moving throughout the city.”

Perpetrators are typically Chinese women between 30 and 40 years old, police said. They work in groups of three, convincing older, unsuspecting women on the street they are followed by evil spirits and bad luck.

The con artists then sway victims into putting thousands of dollars in valuables and cash into a “good luck” bag before swapping the bag with a fake and stealing the goods, police said.

“It’s an old trick that people still fall for,” said Captain Tommy Ng, the precinct’s executive officer.

The precinct arrested three females last October in connection with the scheme, Maguire said. Two of the women, all Chinese nationals, have since fled the country after posting bail.

Officers are urging families to spread the word to older relatives and friends.

If approached, cops said victims should agree with the tricksters on a meeting spot and then go home alone and call 9-1-1.

“It behooves the children to tell their parents,” Maguire said. “Do not fall for these promises. Do not talk to strangers. Don’t believe in these false spells.”



App leads cops to Flushing cell phone thief

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Apple

A smartphone tracking app played a key role in arresting an alleged cell phone thief within 30 minutes of the crime, police said.

Jordan Osborne, 19, allegedly fled in Flushing after grabbing an iPhone 5 out of the hands of a 28-year-old woman, according to the 109th Precinct. The victim was walking on Main Street and 41st Avenue around noon on April 15, police said.

A witness attempted to chase Osborne and then called 9-1-1.

Police then used a tracking device on the victim’s phone to locate Osborne on the No. 7 train near Citi Field. The MTA stopped the train so officers could go car to car, police said.

Cops found the phone ringing in Osborne’s hand. He was arrested immediately.

The suspect has been arrested for assault three times.





Burglars using fire escapes to break into Flushing apartments

| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

At least six apartments in Flushing have been broken into within the last month by burglars who enter through fire escapes, police said.

Cops at the 109th Precinct say the thieves enter apartment complexes through building lobbies, make their way up to the roof and work their way down.

“A lot of the time in these buildings, the fire escapes are in the back of the building. Driving by, we don’t see if somebody’s walking on the fire escape,” said Anthony LoVerme, the precinct’s crime prevention officer.

A resident at a 42-33 Kissena Boulevard complex said she came home to find a man climbing out of her bedroom window and using the fire escape to make off with her Louis Vuitton bag on February 4, LoVerme said.

And another resident at 42-30 Union Street said burglars stole her iPad and $13,000 in cash on February 12, LoVerme said. The front door was still locked when the victim came home, but the kitchen window leading to the fire escape was open, the victim told cops.

“Nobody should ever be using the fire escape,” LoVerme said. “Don’t just assume that maybe somebody just locked themselves out of their apartments and they’re just trying to get in through the fire escape.”

Building owners and property managers can call the precinct at 718-321-2268 to enroll in its trespass program, which thwarts loiterers and burglaries with more police presence inside buildings.




Flushing drug, gun bust nets seven

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Seven people were arrested in Flushing for possessing narcotics and loaded guns, police said.

Ecstasy pills and nearly six pounds of ketamine or “Special K” were confiscated from a residential home during a drug bust on January 25 at around 9:30 p.m., cops said. Two .22 caliber rifles, a shotgun and a .45 caliber handgun were also discovered.

The suspects – six males and one female – were charged with possessing, packaging and selling narcotics and having loaded firearms, according to the 109th Precinct.

“Ketamine is a popular, illegal narcotic,” said Captain Tommy Ng, the precinct’s executive officer. “It’s a dangerous drug that seems to be really popular in Asian clubs.”

The precinct has made numerous arrests in problematic locations, including KTV lounges, bars and clubs in downtown Flushing, Ng said.

An anonymous tip alerted officers of suspicious activity on the corner of 59th Avenue and 150th Street, where they observed females conducting a drug transaction, Ng said.

Three people were arrested inside a home on the block where cops said they found drugs and a measuring scale in plain sight. A later search warrant led to the seizure of four other individuals.

Police identified the arrested as Ling Ling Gao, Meng Kai Qu, Daohua Huang, Kai Quxiau, Jianeeng Yang, Xiake Xia and Hongrui Zheng. They range in age from 21 to 38, Ng said.



Man sought in five Queens larcenies

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is asking for your help in finding the man wanted in connection with five larcenies:

  • On Saturday, July 21, the man entered a location on Kissena Boulevard and removed a purse containing credit cards, money, sunglasses, keys and other miscellaneous items.
  • On Wednesday, August 1, the perp entered a location on Roosevelt Avenue and took a cell phone from the counter.
  • On Tuesday, October 2, the perp swiped a cell phone from a location on 41st Road.
  • On Friday, November 2, another cell phone was taken from a location on Northern Boulevard.
  • On Monday, November 26, the man took money from a woman’s purse on Maple Avenue.

Police say the suspect is a Hispanic man, 30 to 40 years old, 220 to 300 pounds, 5’10”-6’ tall, large build and casually dressed.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.





Teen arrested for burglarizing church

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

An 18-year-old man was arrested for a string of three burglaries – including a church – on January 17.

According to a police source, Maksim Kriton was taken into custody by officers of the 109th Precinct for allegedly burglarizing a residence at 157th  Street and 17th Avenue on December 12, followed by a location on Francis Lewis Boulevard on January 13 and St. Luke’s Church shortly thereafter.



Murders down, burglaries up in 2012

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Murders, rapes and shootings in the 109th Precinct declined in 2012, while burglaries and grand larcenies went up, officials said.

According to the precinct’s commanding officer, Inspector Brian Maguire, the 109th saw three murders last year — a 50 percent decrease from 2011.

Ezra Black, 31, was allegedly stabbed to death by his fellow Parks Department coworker inside the Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing on September 4, 2012, according to criminal charges.

Chinese tourist Hai Yan Yang was rendered brain dead, later succumbing to her injuries, after she was struck on the side of her head by her pocketbook during a violent mugging in Flushing on October 20, 2012.

Another male was shot in the back and died during a homicide, Maguire said, although that investigation is still ongoing. Both alleged perpetrators in the year’s first two murders are incarcerated and awaiting trial.

Rapes went down 47 percent in 2012 with the precinct tallying a total of 10 incidents. Only one of those cases involveda stranger, said Maguire.

Robberies rose 6 percent, with the majority of crime occurring on the streets over Apple products, and grand larcenies skyrocketed to 773 incidents from 695 last year. Burglaries increased by 40 incidents, plaguing every neighborhood within the precinct, Maguire said.

“It’s a problematic issue,” he said. “No area is immune to burglaries.”

There were only two shootings in 2012, down from nine last year, Maguire said. Three people in total were injured.


Police collar man for multiple weapon, drug possession

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police arrested a man in northeast Queens Wednesday when they found several weapons and drugs in his possession, according to a police source. 

On January 16, officers from the 109th Precinct responded to a call of an emotionally distressed person.

When the suspect, Vincent Abruzzo, 38, opened the door, he allegedly had a lit marijuana cigarette and tried to slam the door on the officers, who then got a search warrant.

During the search, police found a loaded 9mm pistol, five gravity knives, brass knuckles, 3.5 pounds of marijuana, six vials of ketamine, 14 hydrocodone pills and drug paraphernalia, and arrested Abruzzo.



109th Precinct gets new executive officer

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The 109th Precinct has named a new second in command, hoping the executive’s bilingual skills and immigrant roots will give the downtown Flushing-based precinct a leg up.

Captain Tommy Ng, 41, was assigned as the new executive officer of the 109th Precinct this week, after Captain Christopher Manson, the precinct’s former second in charge, was transferred to the 114th Precinct in Astoria in a routine biennial switch.

Ng, who has over 15 years with the NYPD under his belt, spent the last two years at the 111th Precinct in Bayside.

The Brooklyn resident said he’s equipped to take on the predominantly Asian communities in his new patrol digs with his previous assignments working with large Asian populations, his fluency in Chinese and English and his firsthand experience as an immigrant.

“The 109th Precinct is very diverse,” said Ng, who was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to the United States in 1988, when he was 16 years old. “My experience growing up in another country helps me to understand what an immigrant feels like.”

The former president of the NYPD’s Asian Jade Society began his career in law enforcement in Brooklyn and was promoted to captain in 2010. He is in charge of handling grand larceny cases, burglaries, accidents and assisting the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Brian Maguire.

One of his first main tasks, Ng said, is to make sure pedestrians in the main downtown area cross busy streets only when it is safe to do so.

“A lot of work needs to be done in educating people on looking at the lights and not running in front of cars,” said Ng, who added that many people have been struck while jetting in front of moving vehicles. “People just have to be careful of their surroundings, especially in the downtown Flushing area, where there are a lot of car accidents.”

Officers of the 109th Precinct are also warning seniors not to fall for common con games — which are heavily circulated in China and Hong Kong and now within the confines of the precinct — that target the elderly. Some unsuspecting seniors, officials said, have lost from $7,000 to $100,000 after giving money to strangers who claim forking over the cash would ward off evil spirits. Crime prevention officers at the precinct urge victims to contact 9-1-1 as soon as they come in contact with the perps, who vary in gender and age.

Call to address gang violence in Flushing housing projects

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Peter Koo.


In the wake of the most recent shooting at Flushing’s James A. Bland House, Councilmember Peter Koo held a town hall meeting to discuss new security protocol at the Bland and Latimer housing projects.

According to reports, on Halloween, October 31, Alex Botero, 21, was shot and killed in an elevator in the Bland House, located at 40-21 College Point Boulevard. He was shot once in the head at approximately 5:45 p.m. and was later taken to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, where he was pronounced dead, reports say.

“This was a specific meeting to discuss serious crime issues that we wanted to address,” said James McClelland, chief of staff to Koo.

The meeting — held on Tuesday, November 15 — was planned months ago, after Koo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn put $400,000 toward new security systems at the Bland and Latimer Houses, McClelland said.

The money is allocated toward security cameras and new “smart doors” that will allow residents to swipe in and enter if they are on the lease. The new doors also prohibit those who are not legally allowed in the building from entering, McClelland said.

The new security systems — aimed at putting a halt to “ongoing gang violence that has been recently reinvigorated” — could be implemented as early as January or as late as April, according to McClelland.

Prior to the shooting in September, according to a police source, two men, both in possession of weapons, were arrested following a shooting at the Bland House on Saturday, September 10.

The source said that a man was shot in the leg. One of the perps, according to the source, was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

109th Precinct Crime Prevention Tips

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

With unattended property crimes, cases of con games and larcenies of rims and tires rising across the confines of the 109th Precinct, the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Crime Prevention Unit is providing the public with tips on how to keep their valuables safe.

            According to the NYPD, Nissan Maximas, Cadillacs and Infinitis are the primary models being targeted.

            The police suggest the following tips to prevent rim or tire theft:

  1. Utilize lug nut locks. Locks can be purchased for roughly $50. Car owners often use two locks per rim.
  2. Activate any and all alarms. Alarms equipped with a tilt sensor, which activate if the vehicle is moved, are among the most effective alarms on the market.
  3. Pay additional attention at night. Many thefts occur after dark, so residents are advised to pay attention to suspicious persons or vehicles in the area.
  4. Video cameras in the front of the house are considered a strong deterrent.
  5.  Park your car in an area with an abundance of lighting, such as a well lit street or parking lot.
  6. Utilize a garage, if it is available.
  7. Be a good neighbor. Community involvement is vital when preventing theft, so if you witness a suspicious character, call 911. Your call will remain anonymous.

In order to prevent having your unattended property stolen, the NYPD offers the following advice:

  1. Do not store valuables in your vehicle. G.P.S systems, tools, laptop computers, cash and jewelry are among the items targeted by thieves.
  2. Keep your pocketbooks on your shoulders at all time. A woman’s pocketbook should never be left in the car, in carts while shopping or on the back of a chair while eating.        
  3. Be aware at all times. Vehicle break-ins occur both in the daytime and overnight.


To avoid falling prey to con games, the NYPD suggests the following tips:

  1. Never respond to an email or phone call that claims you have won the lottery or any other prize.
  2. Never send a check or wire money to someone you do not know.
  3. Be wary of potential scams on websites such as Craigslist, which offer job and other opportunities in exchange for payment.  
  4. Be alert while loading your car after shopping. Professional thieves will often distract you while their accomplice steals your property from the car.
  5. Remember the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

If you fall victim to or witness any of the above crimes within the confines of the 109th Precinct, call Community Affairs at 718-321-2268.