Tag Archives: 111th Precinct

Pedestrian struck by car on Bell Boulevard in Bayside

| asuriel@queenscourier.com


A pedestrian on Bayside‘s Bell Boulevard suffered injuries to his arm and shoulder after being hit by a car as he crossed the street.

Officers from the 111th Precinct and EMS units were on the scene after the man was struck sometime after noon. The car, a red Honda Fit, was being driven by an older woman, who stayed at the site of the accident to speak to police.

According to NYPD, the man spoke either Chinese or Korean and was unable to communicate with officers. Emergency service technicians escorted the man to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.

An investigation is ongoing.

The victim being placed in an ambulance.

The victim being placed in an ambulance.

Officers speaking to the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident.

Officers speaking to the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident.


Truck driver in Auburndale had fatal heart attack behind wheel: cops

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com


An apparent heart attack caused a 64-year-old truck driver to lose control and crash into several parked cars on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Auburndale Monday morning, according to police.

The NYPD said Frederick Harris of Westminster, Maryland, was behind the wheel of a box truck traveling northbound on Francis Lewis Boulevard near 49th Avenue at about 6:38 a.m. when he was stricken.

Reportedly, the vehicle veered to the left and across the concrete median into the boulevard’s southbound lanes before slamming into three parked vehicles.

Officers from the 111th Precinct responded to the scene along with EMS units, who pronounced Harris dead at the location.

A preliminary investigation concluded that Harris suffered an apparent heart attack, a law enforcement source said. The body was transported to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

No other injuries were reported and an investigation is ongoing.


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.


111th Precinct honors the year’s top cops in Bayside

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

The 111th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council honored its hardest working officers during their annual award ceremony Tuesday night at the Best Western of Northern Boulevard in Bayside.

“I think we have one of the highest calibers of officers in the City of New York, with one of the lowest crime precincts,” said Jack Fried, president of the 111th Precinct Council, who added that cops in the area go far beyond the basic requirements of their job. “Every officer here puts himself out there.”

Sgt. Kenneth Ho was named as the 2015 Supervisor of the Year, Det. Erika Madden was recognized as Detective of the Year, and P.O. Mario Cappuccia was honored as Police Officer of the Year.

After receiving recognition for the high caliber of his work as a police supervisor, Sgt. Ho reflected on his personal growth during his decade-long career, saying that the emotional weight of being a police officer has taught him to be more careful with his own decisions.

“Being a police officer, I think, is a great responsibility,” said Ho. “For the people that we serve every day and also but for the people that we work with.”

Cappuccia said he still loves his work after three years on the job.

“We try to make a difference in the community, making sure nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed, people aren’t hurting themselves as well,” said Cappuccia, a first-generation police officer who works the midnight shift.

Awards were given to civilian participants in the 111th Precinct as well. Diana Merchan was honored as Civilian of the Year, along with Explorer of the Year Peter Kim and Auxiliary Officer of the Year Leon Pallas.

As the only honoree still attending classes in high school, Explorer of the Year Peter Kim looked ahead to a future in public safety as a state trooper. The Bayside High School sophomore said that helping people makes him feel great and is why he knew law enforcement was the perfect career for him.

“One of the main reasons is to protect the entire community,” Kim said. “Even though that does sound corny, that is what I’m going forward to do.”

Pallas said that he was motivated to be a part of the 111th Precinct after seeing Hurricane Sandy have a devastating effect on some in the community in 2012. The NYPD Explorer program gives youths an opportunity to volunteer and learn more about pursuing a law enforcement career.

“I was lucky,” Pallas said. “I didn’t have any damage, I didn’t have anything [wrong], so I thought that since I have capabilities, I want to be able to help people.”


Woman raped inside Northern Boulevard spa: NYPD

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A 42-year-old woman was raped inside a Northern Boulevard spa on Saturday after a man walked into the facility armed with a gun, police said.

The rape happened about 7:30 a.m. at a spa located within the 111th Precinct, which covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows.

The suspect had an appointment scheduled for that morning and when he arrived he took out a gun and raped the victim in a rear room of the spa, authorities said. It wasn’t clear if the victim was an employee.

Police have released video footage of the suspect and describe him as in his 20s, 6 to 6 feet 2 inches tall, heavy set, light skinned and with a chin strap style beard.

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.



91-year-old woman dies in Francis Lewis Boulevard collision

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

A 91-year-old Oakland Gardens woman was killed Friday when her car jumped the center median on Francis Lewis Boulevard and struck a light pole, cops said. 

Police responded to the accident around 2:45 p.m., where they discovered Ethel Zaremba unconscious in her 1990 Toyota Camry near 48th Avenue.

The woman, while driving southbound on the boulevard, veered to the left and mounted the median before hitting the pole, according to cops. No other vehicles were involved in the collision. 

Zaremba was taken to New York Hospital Queens, where she was pronounced dead.




Bayside cops honored in annual ceremony

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Crime doesn’t pay, but outstanding law enforcement yields recognition.

The 111th Precinct in Bayside hosted its award ceremony during the monthly precinct council meeting on June 3.

Detective Jeffrey Peck, who led the investigation and arrest of a pair of women who were using a 4-year-old child to rob stores, won the Detective of the Year award. Frederick O’Modie, a veteran of two decades, won Police Officer of the Year and Sgt. Kevin Zweigbaum won the Supervisor of the Year award.

In addition to those honorees, Valerie Loayza won Explorer of the Year, Ana Rivera won Civilian of the Year and Nicole Piridis won Auxiliary of the Year.

Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North, was in attendance and congratulated the honorees on a job well done.




Cops honored for busting alleged car thief

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Two officers from the 111th Precinct were feted Tuesday night for arresting a man who police say is responsible for a surge in area car thefts. 

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta honored officers Frederick Omodie and Alan Reid for their persistence that led to the Jan. 14 collar of a perp tied to 14 other crimes in the area, including six car thefts.

Police believe the man went car to car, pulling on door handles and searching glove compartments for keys, before driving off.

“Due to the awareness of local crime trends, intelligence, diligence and relentless follow-up, Officers Omodie and Reid were able to apprehend an elusive criminal, who would have stolen many more vehicles and property from the residents of the 111th Precinct,” Huerta said.

The two made the arrest during an overnight shift, after sifting through leads and asking for stolen car reports.

They searched around 222nd Street and found the suspect driving a reported stolen car with its headlights off. The car was later returned to its owner.

“These two officers are known for their hard work and dedication,” Huerta said. “They are an asset to the 111th Precinct and to the community.”



Queens precinct ramps up speeding enforcement to meet ‘Vision Zero’

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Lead-footed drivers in the 111th Precinct will have to ease up on the gas soon or get a ticket.

The precinct plans to ramp up speeding enforcement and make sure motorists yield to pedestrians, Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta said.

The push is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years. De Blasio’s plan also calls for a reduction in the citywide speed limit from 30 to 25 mph and stiffer penalties on reckless taxi and livery drivers.

Speeding and failing to yield make up 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the city, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Officers will be closely eyeing major area intersections like Northern and Bell Blvds. and Springfield Blvd. and Horace Harding Expwy., Huerta said.

The 111th Precinct  covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows. It is one of many citywide precincts to beef up traffic enforcement in order to reach the mayor’s goals.

There have been no pedestrian deaths within the precinct this year, Huerta said.

However, a 2-year-old boy was hit by a car Monday afternoon in Auburndale after he darted onto 196th St. near Northern Blvd., police said, though he is expected to recover.

“They think the child is going to pull through,” Huerta said. “Obviously, it’s a tragedy.”




Cops arrest alleged catalytic converter thieves in Flushing

| mchan@queenscourier.com

File graphic image

Police arrested two men in Flushing for allegedly sawing catalytic converters off multiple trucks in a U-Haul storage lot.

The device — which contains precious metals inside, like platinum — has been the target of a costly new citywide crime trend.

Dwayne Longmore, 31, and Neil Stephens, 33, were arrested Jan. 4 and charged with grand larceny for allegedly removing eight catalytic converters out of the 36-30 College Point Blvd. lot, police said.

The stolen devices totaled nearly $5,000, according to Crime Prevention Officer Anthony Lo Verme of the 109th Precinct.

Executive Officer Captain Tommy Ng said the precinct has not seen other catalytic converter thefts since the arrests.

The 111th Precinct, which reported a spike in November and December, is also experiencing a lull in the crime this month, though other grand larcenies are spiking, Crime Prevention Officer Luigi Galano said.

Car thefts and vehicle break-ins in Bayside have increased, as drivers are still leaving valuables unattended and in plain view.

“It’s enough for us to realize there’s a problem,” Galano said.

The crimes are taking place near the Bayside Gables and from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue.

The NYPD said parking in well-lit areas near traffic, being aware of surroundings and checking on cars, even while at home, could help avoid thefts.


Toyota Sequoias targeted in costly new crime trend

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Toyota

Toyota Sequoias have become the target of a costly new crime trend in northeast Queens.

Thieves are stealing catalytic converters off the bottom of the SUVs in the 111th Precinct and selling them for the precious metals inside, like platinum, the precinct said.

The needed device that prevents engine exhaust gasses from polluting the environment is worth at least $200 to criminals, police said. But replacing the converter can set car owners back at least $1,000.

“It’s a new thing,” Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta said. “It’s very expensive, and you’d have to get your car towed.”

Four catalytic converters have been taken off Toyota Sequoias in the last two months within the precinct that covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows, Huerta said.

The crime, difficult to prevent, happens in about one minute, according to the executive officer. At least two vehicles have been tampered with on residential streets and even driveways.

It sounds like “a very loud rumble” when the car is started without a catalytic converter, Huerta said.

The deputy inspector said parking in well-lit areas, being aware of surroundings and checking on cars, even while at home, could help avoid the theft.


111th Precinct bids adieu to beloved community affairs officer

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

For 10 years, Community Affairs Officer Gary Poggiali has watched 120 officers accept their “Cops of the Month” awards from the back of the room.

Now he has plenty of plaques to call his own.

Community leaders gave a final salute to the retiring, beloved cop with an armful of plaques and an earful of praises at a farewell party on December 3.

“Gary is one of the good guys,” said Community Board 11 Chair Jerry Iannece. “He deals with us and all the issues in the community, and he does it with humor. He does it with pride, and he does it really well.”

Poggiali has served close to 20 years with the NYPD. After one year in the police academy, he spent five years with the 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn, three working patrol for the 111th Precinct and then a decade in community affairs.

“I know this community better than the community I grew up in,” Poggiali said. “I’ve spent a lot of time here.

It’s just another page. My mother used to say, ‘When one door closes, another one opens.’”

The precinct’s Community Council and a number of elected officials thanked him for his service, while poking jabs at him for “always eating.”

“No matter what, Gary was always there for us, always friendly, always went the extra mile to help our office out,” said Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.

Community Council President Jack Fried credited the affable Poggiali for the success of the precinct’s annual National Night Out Against Crime.

“If it [weren’t] for Gary, they wouldn’t be half as big as they were,” Fried said. “Gary really put everything into it.”
Poggiali, 50, plans to move and work security jobs down south in March. The new father welcomed his son Ryan to the world about two months ago.

His last day with the NYPD is in mid-February.

“This was a big piece of my life,” Poggiali said.

“I’ll look back and tell my kids stories of how I ran the neighborhood, how I was the commanding officer,” he joked.



Cops honored for collaring car break-in thief

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

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.”



Cops bust business suit burglar

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A man who police say burglarized homes in a business suit after posing as a children’s nonprofit employee has been arrested, according to the 111th Precinct.

Police believe a 26-year-old man from northeast Queens was behind a spike in burglaries between July and August.

The suspect, whose name is being withheld by The Courier, was a “well-dressed” man who knocked on doors in the middle of the day to gauge if homes were empty, according to police.

He would talk about his nonprofit — and then leave — if someone answered the door, authorities said, and would burglarize the home if it was vacant.

“Your burglar isn’t always going to be who you traditionally think,” said Sgt. Nick Gravino. “They don’t always look like that.”

Gravino and Officer Evan Ostrofsky were honored as the precinct’s “Cops of the Month” for their August 8 arrest of the apparent burglar.

“Before they made the arrest, we were hit hard by burglaries from July,” said Capt. Derick Seneus, the precinct’s new executive officer. “That’s when the guy they arrested came out of jail and burglaries started going up. After they made that arrest, they started going down.”

Gravino said he had personally arrested the suspect twice for burglary-related incidents before the August collar.

He said he and Ostrofsky saw the suspect walking in Auburndale, when they noted suspicious behavior.

“We watched him, he disappeared down an alleyway, comes out a few minutes later carrying a bag,” Gravino said. “We pretty much knew what he was up to at that point.”

This was the perp’s third arrest for burglary-related incidents in 14 months, police said.

Seneus, meanwhile, was promoted about two months ago. He has spent about two weeks at the 111th Precinct after being transferred from the 114th based in Astoria. “I was told that the 111th is the best in the borough,” he said. “So far, I think it’s true.”




111th Precinct warns residents of increasing Internet scams

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Internet scams were on the rise during an otherwise quiet summer for the 111th Precinct, officials said.

Jack Fried, president of the precinct’s Community Council, said he was one of hundreds to recently receive a fake but convincing email from Chase Bank, which sought vital information like his social security and account numbers.

The electronic note, which appeared to be on official Chase letterhead, is part of a popular scam called “spoofing,” according to Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta.

Thieves forge e-mail headers so the message appears to be sent from the original source. The scam usually targets the elderly or those not as savvy with technology, officials said.

Huerta said he has seen seniors lose their life savings after falling victim to the hoax.

“There’s a big increase in identity theft,” Huerta said. “It’s an epidemic and it’s taking the form of all kinds of different scams.”

The 111th Precinct said grand larcenies, mostly identity theft related, made up for the biggest spike in crime – an increase of 14 for the year.

“The only way to stop this is to stop falling for it,” Huerta said. “Unfortunately, it’s difficult.”

The precinct’s commanding officer warned residents not to click scam links which usually have an @ symbol in the web address. Safe links from official, secure sites will almost always begin with “https,” experts say.

Car break-ins have also been “popping up all over the precinct” and are no longer in clustered areas, according to Huerta. In the last six weeks, cops have arrested at least four people caught in the act, he said.

No officers were awarded at the Community Council’s meeting this month, which started up after a summer break. But the precinct’s top cop received an accolade of his own.

Huerta was promoted to deputy inspector last week.

The “Cops of the Month” award program will pick up again in October, officials said.