Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Woman dies after jumping in front of train at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A woman was killed Monday morning after she was struck by an M train at a subway station on the Ridgewood border, police said.

The woman, who police said was in her 30s, was pronounced dead about 9:30 a.m. at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station

Cops said the woman was hit after she jumped in front of a Queens-bound train.

 

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De Blasio to live in Gracie Mansion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson

The de Blasios are moving out of Brooklyn and into Gracie Mansion.

After much speculation, the mayor-elect announced Wednesday through his Transition 2013 website he would live in the Manhattan digs during his time heading the city.

“It’s a tough decision. Brooklyn is our home and Park Slope is our neighborhood. And we love these places. In many ways, they’ve come to define who we are,” de Blasio said in a statement on the site.

“For a variety of reasons, like logistical and security concerns, we’ve decided to move to Gracie Mansion. It’s a practical choice but one that we make with respect and gratitude for the people of New York City.”

One reported reason the family was considering staying in Brooklyn was the commute his 16-year-old son Dante would need to take to Brooklyn Technical High School.

But the de Blasios won’t be leaving Brooklyn behind.

“Even while we move to Gracie Mansion for a spell, we’ll be keeping our home in Brooklyn and stopping by our favorite spots like The Purity Diner and Bar Toto as often as we can. And don’t bet against seeing us at the Park Slope YMCA occasionally,” de Blasio said.

 

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Multi-million dollar trademark counterfeiting rings operating from Queens busted


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens District Attorney’s Office

Multi-million dollar trademark counterfeiting rings, operating from facilities in Queens and Brooklyn, have been charged for importing, manufacturing and distributing items nationwide.

According to District Attorney Richard A. Brown, four organized trademark counterfeiting rings have been dismantled after the indictment of 26 individuals and two corporations for allegedly importing and selling counterfeit brand name apparel and other items from China to wholesale buyers throughout the United States and the Virgin Islands.

“Operations such as those allegedly run by the defendants fuel an underground economy,” said Brown. “They are cash businesses that pay no taxes and damage the reputations of reputable brand owners and lower consumer confidence in the name brands by foisting inferior products into the marketplace.”

The four rings allegedly generated close to $10 million in combined gross annual revenue operating out of self-storage facilities in the two boroughs. The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, a multi-agency task force operating under the City’s Criminal Justice Coordinator’s Office, will be filing nuisance abatement lawsuits against the facilities that allegedly were being used, as well as their owners and operators and those defendants who actually ran the illegal businesses from within the sites.

Nineteen of the defendants, including one of the corporations, are currently in custody and were arraigned on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Twelve of the defendants have been indicted for enterprise corruption under New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act. The remaining defendants face felony trademark counterfeiting and conspiracy charges.

The investigation, called “Operation Finish Line,” began in November 2010, and included the apprehension of counterfeit merchandise with an estimated street value of $750,000.

One of the counterfeiting enterprises, The Izak and Joseph Trademark Counterfeiting Enterprise, has been charged with enterprise corruption. It is alleged that since May 2012 the enterprise has imported more than 100,000 pairs of jeans and more than 100,000 articles of clothing, including blank shirts, fleece jackets, and steep-tech style jackets. It is also alleged that the enterprise created several factories that attached counterfeit trademarks of True Religion, Polo Ralph Lauren, and The North Face to the formerly generic product, and the finished product is then sold and distributed throughout Queens and the country.

This enterprise included four Queens individuals who were indicted after the bust. One of the individuals in the enterprise that was charged is Bobak Ahouraie, 23, of Bellerose. He was charged with enterprise corruption, first- and second-degree trademark counterfeiting and fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy. Suk B. Yi, 18, of Oakland Gardens, was charged with enterprise corruption, first- and second-degree trademark counterfeiting and fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy. Samantha Defreitas, 26, of Woodhaven, was charged with third-degree trademark counterfeiting. Jan Sanandaji, 37, of Great Neck, is charged with second-degree trademark counterfeiting.

The second ring, known as The Xiu Wei Ye and Jian Zhong Jian Operation, conducted a large scale trademark-counterfeiting operation where they purchased footwear and other items featuring counterfeit trademarks of various brands and maintained the items at their Brooklyn store and sold the items wholesale to customers throughout the country, including undercover police officers.

Individuals charged in this group included Jian Zhong Jian, 43, of Flushing who was charged with second- and third-degree trademark counterfeit, and Xiu Wei Ye, 43, from Flushing, who was charged with second- and third-degree trademark counterfeit.

The third ring, known as The Peter Operation, allegedly conducted a large scale trademark-counterfeiting operation in which they maintained the merchandise at its store in College Point.

The final ring, known as The James, Leon and Omar Untaxed and Trademark Counterfeiting Cigarette Operation, allegedly bought and sold untaxed and trademark counterfeit cigarettes and supplied those cigarettes to Bobak Ahouraie, of Bellerose. Ahouraie was charged with second-degree trademark counterfeit in his involvement in this operation.

 

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Ridgewood musician kills himself, three others in Brooklyn shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Ridgewood man fatally shot himself and three fellow musicians at a Brooklyn home Monday morning, according to police and published reports.

Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, 29, allegedly killed the three men and wounded a fourth just after midnight at a residence on Maujer Street in East Williamsburg, said cops.

Two of the homicide victims, Soroush Farazmand, 27, and his brother, Arash, 28, were both members of Yellow Dogs, an indie band that originated in Iran, according to published reports.

The third victim, Ali Eskandarian, 35, was reportedly not a part of the band, but was also a musician.

The wounded victim, a 22-year-old man, was shot in the right arm and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he remains in stable condition, said cops.

Police said they discovered Rafie dead on the roof of the Maujer Street home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and a rifle next to his body.

Rafie was a member of another Iranian band, the Free Keys, the New York Times reported. Members of both bands were acquaintances, but Rafie was no longer a part of the Free Keys.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the shooting seems to have stemmed from a dispute over money “involving an indie rock band.”

 

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Cops searching for suspect in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn jewelry store robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking to identify a suspect wanted in connection to seven jewelry store robberies across the city, including three in Queens.

During each robbery, the suspect enters the store, armed with a handgun, and two to three additional suspects jump over the counter and take the jewelry, said cops. No injuries were reported during any of the incidents.

The robberies happened at the following locations and times:

  • 169 Canal Street in Manhattan on September 10 at 4:15 p.m.
  • 5914 8th Avenue in Brooklyn on October 15at 6:45 p.m.
  • 66 East Broadway in Manhattan October 17, at 6:35 p.m. and on October 18 at 4:30 p.m.
  • 37-58 103rd Street in the Corona section of Queens on October 28 at 7:50 p.m.
  • 74-15 37th Avenue in the Jackson Heights section of Queens on October 31 at 6:35 p.m.
  • 37-11 Main Street in the Flushing section of Queens on November 9 at 5:55 p.m.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic male and have released video footage of him.

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.

 

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Three people killed, two injured in Halloween night shootings in Queens, Brooklyn


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Three people died and two people were injured within a five-hour period during Halloween shootings across Queens and Brooklyn, according to police.

The two non-fatal incidents occurred in the Jamaica and Rockaway Park sections of Queens, said cops.

Around 7 p.m. on 148th Street near 88th Avenue an unidentified suspect exited his vehicle wearing a mask and shot a man in his 20s multiple times, said police. The suspect then fled northbound on 148th Street.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition.

An hour later, an 18-year-old man was shot in the right leg at Beach Channel Drive near Beach 141st Street, said police.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital and is expected to survive.

Cops said there are no arrests at this time in both Queens shooting incidents.

In Brooklyn the violence was deadly, with three men losing their lives, according to police.

Shawn Rhodes, 46, was shot multiple times at the Linden Houses in East New York around 7: 30 p.m.

Three hours later, Anthony Seaberry, 19, was fatally shot in East Flatbush.

Around 11:30 p.m., 37 year-old Kevin Thompson died after he was shot in the neck in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.

 

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Fares suspended on Sandy anniversary for A train riders in Rockaways, Howard Beach


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Amy Hausmann

Governor Cuomo announced Friday that A train riders in the Rockaways and Howard Beach will ride for free all day on the anniversary of Sandy this Tuesday.

R train riders in Brooklyn also won’t need to pay October 29.

“These free rides are a thank you to the MTA riders in the Rockaways in Queens and those who use the R train in Brooklyn for taking the hardships of the storm in stride and for their understanding in the months since,” said Cuomo.

According to the governor, there will be no charge for MTA riders entering stations on the A  line between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula, and stations on the R  line between Bay Ridge-95th Street and Court Street from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

 

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Family gets house in Jamaica thanks to Habitat for Humanity


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Maggie Hayes

Dawnette Dixon finally has her own home and even a backyard, fixed up by none other than a former president.

Habitat for Humanity acquired five New York City Housing Authority (NCYHA) homes in the borough that were abandoned, boarded up and a “blight” in the community. One of those homes was on 112th Road in Jamaica, which was vacant for roughly two decades. It is also the home Dixon, her son and daughter will be moving into early next year.

“We said to the city, we’ll turn [the homes] around,” said Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity NYC.

Hetherington and the Habitat team hosted the 30th Annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to build and repair homes citywide. President Carter, 89, and his wife have been working with the group for almost 30 years, and the Jamaica home was part of a country-wide tour fixing houses.

Carter worked the power tools and his wife moved slabs of wood, all part of constructing a new deck for the Dixons. Hundreds of volunteers and the Dixons themselves worked on the new house. Construction is estimated to be complete in six to eight weeks.

As well as cleaning up the once-vacant home, Habitat for Humanity makes upkeep for the home affordable for people like Dixon, 53, who works for the Department of Health. They receive government grants and state mortgages which can make living affordable in the long haul.

“Now they have the pride and dignity associated with not only building their home, but paying for their home,” Hetherington said. “It’s helping in a dignified way.”

Dixon, who lived in Brooklyn for most of her life, “can’t explain how excited” she is. She is moving to the home from a cramped apartment in Prospect Park.

“This is a change of environment, a change of scenery and a new life,” she said. “Even if I don’t have anything in the house, as long as I’m living there, I’m happy.”

 

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Woodhaven man killed by toy helicopter


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND DENISE ROMANO

A 19-year-old Woodhaven man was killed by his own toy helicopter in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon.

Roman Pirozek was flying his remote control helicopter in Calvert Vaux Park in Gravesend around 3:40 p.m. when one of the blades hit him in the head, killing him.

According to police, emergency crews responded to Bay 44th Street and Shore Parkway and found Pirozek unconscious and unresponsive lying on the ground with severe head trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pirozek reportedly graduated from High School For Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture in Queens and was vice president of a Brooklyn-based model helicopter flying club, Seaview Rotary Wings.

His YouTube channel, where he posted several videos of his hobby, shows his passion for model helicopters.

Pirozek also attended Woodhaven’s St. Thomas the Apostle School, according to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).

“We heard the news from one of his teachers who said he was a wonderful person from a good family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time—it’s hard to comprehend the pain they must be feeling,” said the WRBA.

Man wanted for allegedly sticking gun in girlfriend’s mouth


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for assaulting his girlfriend with a gun at her southwest Queens home.

On July 15 Alfredo Bonilla allegedly entered his girlfriend’s residence without permission and they got into an argument. Bonilla put a gun in her mouth, cutting her, said police. He stopped short of pulling the trigger and his girlfriend later called the authorities.

Bonilla, 42, is described as Hispanic, five feet four inches tall, about 140 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes.

Cops say Bonilla is armed and dangerous and usually hangs out in Ridgewood and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His last known address is 369 Howard Avenue in Brooklyn.

 

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Joe Torre’s daughter saves falling baby


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by SB News

BY AMANDA GLODOWSKI

What a catch.

Good Samaritan and daughter of former Yankees manager Joe Torre, Cristina Torre, made the catch of a lifetime that will surely make her father, himself an ex-catcher, proud. Torre heroically snatched a one-year-old baby this morning, as it tumbled out of a second-floor window on 92nd Street and 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

“Today I join the community in commending Cristina Torre for reacting so quickly. How lucky we are today that Cristina was in the right place at the right time. Like a true heroine, Cristina was incredibly humble,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “She went right into action.”

According to police sources, the little boy crawled through a window with an unstable air-conditioner, onto the fire escape.

“The opening was not secure,” said Captain Richard DiBlasio, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct.

As the baby began its descent, Torre “saw this and caught the baby as it was coming down,” DiBlasio said.

The baby was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, but “seemed fine,” DiBlasio said, adding, “It could have been a lot worse.”

The parents were arrested, and will be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and their four children ages one through five have been removed from the home.

DiBlasio stressed the importance of making sure that windows are secured when there are children in a residence. “Check your windows,” the captain urged, adding that window guards are important and should be installed where mandated by law. In addition, he said, “air conditioners must be secure” so children cannot get out of the home in that way.

With additional reporting by Helen Klein

 

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Police seek Queens, Brooklyn bank robber


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect wanted for an attempted bank robbery in Ridgewood yesterday and a Brooklyn bank robbery in March.

In both incidents, the suspect passes a note and demands money.

The Brooklyn robbery occurred on March 22 at 2:25 p.m. inside of a Popular Community Bank at 2095 Ralph Avenue.

Monday’s attempted robbery took place at a bank located at 59-01 Myrtle Avenue around 10:50 a.m.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident 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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Livery cab driver stabbed to death in Brooklyn


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

A man was brutally killed while driving his livery car in Brooklyn Thursday.

The driver, identified as 54-year-old Uro Orji Ama, who has close family ties to Rosedale, was dropping off two passengers near Lott Avenue and Thomas Boyland Street in Brownsville around 5:30 p.m. when one of them allegedly stabbed him with what a witness described as an umbrella, said police.

After the attack, the car reportedly crashed a short distance away and the suspects, a man and a woman, escaped from the scene.

Ama was taken to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead, said police.

The NYPD is offering a $12,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Updated Monday, June 17

 

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10 Queens, Brooklyn men busted in connection to auto theft ring


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size1111

Ten men were arrested in connection with an auto theft ring with the intention to resell the stolen cars, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The defendants, all from Brooklyn or Queens, have been charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle and conspiracy.

According to the indictment, the men stole close to a dozen vehicles between the dates of Dec. 5, 2011 and Feb. 27, 2012. The majority of the vehicles were stolen from various car dealerships as they were being unloaded off a transportation truck. One car is believed to have been stolen from a private individual.

Brown said the bust of this theft ring is a part of his ongoing efforts to reduce the number of auto robberies in the borough.

“Since I took office in 1991 – when an astounding 50,000 cars a year were reported stolen in Queens – the incidence of auto theft has dropped to fewer than 3,000 cars a year being reported stolen in Queens,” he said. “Operations like the one being announced today in conjunction with the New York State Police are effective measures to ward off auto theft.”

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

 

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Sanitation worker rescues dog left in Astoria trash bag


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of BARC Shelter

It was just another day on the job for sanitation worker Victoria Roman — until something caught her eye.

On Friday morning, April 5 as the Brooklyn native was working in Astoria, she approached a garbage bag that began to move. When she and her partner looked inside, they found a wagging tail and a very sickly looking dog.

“First I thought it was just paper in the bag because she was white. When she moved I thought she was a rabbit,” said Roman. “I did what came naturally and what I think anyone else would do to an animal in that condition.”

After calling in her find to her superiors, Roman asked her supervisor to watch over the helpless animal until she finished her shift and could then find a way to care for the dog. Having dealt with the loss of her own dog, which she had for over 16 years, Roman decided not to take rescue home.

Due to financial problems, Roman could not immediately take the pup to her personal veterinarian and instead asked for help from a friend who referred her to BARC Shelter in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“I didn’t want to take her to a shelter where she would be put to sleep,” said Roman. “BARC is a non-kill shelter and they will find her a loving home.”

Although the Maltese, now lovingly nicknamed “Victoria” at the shelter after her rescuer, was found matted with feces and with an eye infection, she is now bathed, full of life and slowly getting better.

“She’s in good health,” said Alex Kaplun, dog kennel supervisor at BARC Shelter. “She’s been very curious, friendly and sweet. She’s learning how to be a dog.”

“Victoria,” who is believed to be eight years old, is currently living with the shelter’s owners, Tony Spato and Vinny Spinola and is under the care of Veterinarian Elaine Felton who is looking after her and treating her for anemia. Once

“Victoria” gains weight and the shelter believes she is healthy and in a comfortable state, then she will be put up for adoption.

Due to close to 100 applications coming in to adopt “Victoria,” the shelter is no longer taking any more but still welcomes donations to fund her recovery through the shelter’s website at barcshelther.org. Along with “Victoria,” Kaplun also hopes people can take the time to adopt other less unfortunate animals at the shelter who are looking for a place to call home.

 

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