Tag Archives: cops

EXCLUSIVE: Squatters using foreclosed Ozone Park home as drug outlet even after police raids


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

They just want this nightmare to end.

An Ozone Park home in foreclosure, which squatters use to sell drugs, has been the target of police investigations and raids for years — yet it’s still terrorizing the neighborhood, while the process to reclaim the home is ongoing.

Residents have witnessed squatters exchange money for drugs from the house at 105-17 101st Rd. for about four years. As little as three weeks ago, on April 2, cops busted open the home around 6 a.m. with a search warrant and arrested five individuals from ages 25 to 42 after finding drugs, including marijuana.

Christan Henderson, Hasun and Judith Andino, Ebony Goggans and Troy James were all charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to authorities. But as in the past, even after arrests, illegal activities haven’t ceased at the home, according to neighbors.

“It’s Grand Central Station all day,” said an elderly resident on the block, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of becoming a possible target for the squatters. “All day long you see them coming back and forth, back and forth. I have to have four locks on my door. I remember we never even locked our doors when I was younger. Now I’m afraid. I’m a prisoner in my own home.”

Neighbors say “shady” people rotate as residents in the home, so there is not a set family living in the house. Also, individuals come to buy drugs during the day and even late at night.

The property is noticeably falling apart from the outside and it has been sited with complaints and violations from the Department of Buildings, including illegally converting part of the kitchen into a bedroom.

The dead-end 101st Road is bordered by St. Mary’s Gate of Heaven, a Catholic kindergarten through eighth-grade school, a building that nearly 1,000 kids use for school, religious activities and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball and volleyball.

St. Marys 2

There has never been a reported incident involving the squatters and children, who are as young as 5, according to a school representative. However, the school community joined forces with residents to report illegal activities to authorities and local politicians, hoping stop the problem before any incidents occur. Also, the school wants to limit exposure of drugs to students.

Because the home is private property, the city and cops are not able to stop people from entering it.

The owner of the house is listed as Nicole Absalom of Bay Shore in Suffolk County, according to city records. Absalom acquired the property in 2008, records show. The home has been in foreclosure since 2010, after Absalom failed to pay CitiMortgage, a division of Citigroup.

There isn’t a listed contact number for Absalom, but according to Assemblyman Mike Miller, his office has attempted to contact the homeowner, with no response. Miller is hoping that CitiMortgage can reclaim the house and remove squatters or give authorities permission to lock up the home.

“The only way to really take action and to keep everybody out of the house is to get permission from the owner to do that, but because the owner is not cooperating, we need the bank to foreclose on the property so that we can get permission from them to get everybody out of the house,” Assemblyman Mike Miller said. “We need them to take action. It’s their responsibility at this point.”

Mike Miller 1

Assemblyman Mike Miller

However, the bank said it can’t take back the home yet, because of a sluggish New York State foreclosure process.

“Because Citi services this loan, but does not own it, we have limited options for managing the property prior to foreclosure,” said Mark Rodgers, director of public affairs at Citi. “As we do not own the property, we cannot legally have squatters evicted. We are working with our legal counsel trying to expedite this case.”

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Two 109th Precinct cops show NYPD’s friendly side in Whitestone


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of We Love Whitestone

While 12-year-old Joseph Prisco was playing basketball alone in a local Whitestone park one day, a squad car pulled up at the curb and one officer approached him.

Joseph thought maybe he was in trouble, but what the officer said shocked him. The policeman asked to “shoot some hoops,” according to the boy, while his partner waited by the car.

As the officer played with the preteen, he asked questions about where Joseph lived, sports he liked and school. When they finished playing, Joseph called his mother, Angela Delli Gatti-Prisco, and told her about what happened. She was stunned, and thought, “Since when does a police officer stop a car to play ball with some kid at a park?” she recalled.

But the men, Police Officers Justin Hubbard and Nicholas Hon, were just making certain the boy was okay when they saw him alone on March 26 at Clintonville Playground. Their actions inspired Delli Gatti-Prisco to write a letter of appreciation to the We Love Whitestone community group, which honored the two officers on Wednesday.

“In today’s day and age, many of us take for granted the protection and service we are provided by our ‘men in blue,’ the policemen of New York City, who day in and day out put their lives on the line for the lives of others,” the mother wrote in a letter to the group.

About the incident, the cops said they were just doing their job and checking on the boy. That humble response resonated with community members.

“With all the bad publicity that cops have been getting, we felt that the majority of them are good and trying to do good things,” We Love Whitestone founder Alfredo Centola said. “And we wanted to acknowledge their going above and beyond their everyday duties.”

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Suspect wanted in burglary of Flushing auto repair shop


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection to a burglary of a Flushing auto repair shop on Valentine’s Day.

The suspect, described as a man in his 20s, forced his way into 43 Auto Service, located at 133-28 32nd Ave., on Feb. 14 at about 1:22 a.m. by using a wooden pallet as a ladder and breaking into the side window, cops said. Once inside, he removed an undetermined amount of money and various New York State inspection stickers.

He was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt, baseball cap and gloves.

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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More than 120 bank customers in Queens targeted in identity theft scam


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com


Police are investigating a spree of identity thefts in the Flushing area that has hit more than 120 customers of a local bank targeting ATM card personal identification numbers and using these to steal money from their accounts.

The thefts affecting Flushing Bank customers’ accounts began in October 2014 according to the president and CEO of the bank, John Buran, who said all the account holders were reimbursed.

Cops suspect thieves installed a skimming device on three Flushing Bank ATMs in the 109th and 111th precinct areas, which cover neighborhoods like Flushing and Bayside, respectively, but their investigation has yet to reveal if these suspicions are correct.

Buran said the bank began working with the NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force in October shortly after the first few incidents came to light.

“This is more than just a Flushing Bank problem. It’s a national problem,” Buran said. “The police informed us that there is a ring going around hitting many banks. The authorities have been unable to find who’s involved in this ring.”

The NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force is investigating the case but police said they have no leads.

“Right now the only thing we can put out there is ATM tips. We don’t know if it’s a rogue employee, someone hacking the system or whatever else. We just don’t know,” a police source said.

“We will continue to work with the NYPD and other law-enforcement agencies to enhance security for all of our customers,” Buran said.

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Community welcomes new officers coming into Patrol Borough Queens North


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A group of 56 new members of New York’s Finest, who will be patrolling the streets of Queens, received a warm welcome Monday afternoon by the communities they will work to keep safe.

The incoming officers, who were part of the graduating NYPD class on Dec. 29 and were assigned to Patrol Borough Queens North, were greeted on Jan. 5 by local leaders and NYPD officials during a ceremony at the Langston Hughes Community Library in Corona.

Patrol Borough Queens North is made up of eight precincts ranging from locations in Bayside to Ridgewood. The officers who filled the library’s second floor on Monday have been assigned to the 104th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, 112th, 114th and 115th precincts. 

Assistant Chief Diana Pizzuti, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens North, welcomed the new cops to their posts and called them “ambassadors” for the borough, which was named the top tourist destination for 2015. 

“You are our youth, and it means a lot to me to make sure you get the best training,” Pizzuti told  the officers. “Queens is a very supportive community.”

Pizzuti also went over what she called the “Five Cs in Policing”: Community, Communication, Crime Prevention, Counter terrorism, and Character.

Pizzuti also spoke of the two slain officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, and reminded the new cops to stay safe while patrolling the streets.

“You have to stay vigilant. You wear the blue, you’re the target,” Pizzuti said. “Be mindful of your surroundings, not just at work but at home. Not everyone is our friend.”

Among the community leaders that spoke was Victoria Schneps, publisher of The Queens Courier, who congratulated and welcomed the new faces to the NYPD.

“You are the future sitting here, and I want you to know how much we respect you,” Schneps said. “We love our neighborhoods and we love the police that protect our neighborhoods.”

Seven of the eight precincts will receive six new officers. The 114th Precinct, which patrols Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside and Jackson Heights, will get 12 cops because they have more reported crimes, according to the NYPD.

“Keep an open mind and keep a positive attitude while you’re out there,” Pizzuti said. “Good luck and we’re here to help. We are one family.”

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Professional boxer arrested for brutal killing of Jamaica woman


| slicata@queenscourier.com

HANDCUFFS 2

A professional boxer and former Golden Gloves champ was arrested Wednesday night and charged with stabbing and beating his ex-girlfriend to death near her Jamaica home two days earlier, police said.

Trevis Hall, 28, was charged with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the brutal slaying of Margarita Rivera, 31, a mother of two, police said.

Rivera was found fatally injured on Monday at about 2:30 p.m. in front of 107-22 Watson Place, just down the street from her residence, authorities said.

She had been stabbed several times in the head and chest, police said, and had also been beaten in the head, according to a witness, who told cops someone had struck Rivera with a pipe. Both weapons were recovered by police at the scene.

Rivera was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Hall, a native of Guyana, was a 2009 Golden Gloves champ. He’s boxed in eight pro matches since 2010 and as recently as Sept. 20 of this year.

According to published reports, Hall, who had recently split with Rivera, was found by cops behind a dumpster, unconscious and intoxicated about 10 miles away from the murder scene. He was also taken to Jamiaca Hospital, where he was questioned by detectives.

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Off-duty NYPD officer charged with DWI, leaving accident scene in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

Updated Monday, Dec. 1, 4:47 p.m.

An off-duty NYPD officer was charged with driving while intoxicated after leaving the scene of an accident in Woodside on Friday night, authorities said.

The officer, identified by police as Aaron Sanchez, 28, got into a fender bender at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 50th Street about 10:45 p.m. before driving off in his Ford, the complaint said.

The other driver reported the accident, according to media reports, after Sanchez struck the rear passenger side of the vehicle.

A cop then spotted Sanchez’s car and proceeded to pull him over, court records said. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test after the officer noticed he had alcohol on his breath, slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet.

Sanchez was arraigned on Saturday on charges of DWI and leaving the scene of an accident, according to court records, and released on his own recognizance.

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Serial Queens bank robber strikes again: cops


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect wanted in eight bank robberies and two attempted heists around Queens over the past two years.

The latest incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 2:50 p.m. at a Chase Bank on Grand Avenue in Maspeth, cops said. During the robbery, the suspect passed a demand note while displaying a firearm. The suspect left with $5,170.

A previous incident happened on Aug. 30 at 12:40 p.m. when the suspect entered The Dimes Savings Bank, located at 77-23 27th Ave. in Flushing, while similarly passing a demand note to a bank teller and displaying a firearm. He walked away with $1,300.

The other robberies, which date back to July 2012, took place in the Kew GardensLong Island CityAstoriaEast Elmhurst and Middle Village areas of the borough, officials said. In the suspect’s most successful theft, on Dec. 12, 2012 at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave., he fled with $12,400, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Authorities have released a photo of the suspect from the July 22 attempted robbery and a June 7 robbery at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave.

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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Pedestrian struck and killed while walking on LIE


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

police car

A 38-year-old man was fatally hit by a vehicle early Wednesday morning as he was walking in the middle lane of the Long Island Expressway, cops said.

The victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was struck at about 3:15 a.m. on the westbound side of the roadway at the Grand Central Parkway near Corona, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The driver of the vehicle, a green Ford, remained at the site of the collision and the investigation is ongoing.

It was not immediately clear what the pedestrian was doing on the expressway.

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Motorcyclist killed in Glendale crash


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

A 38-year-old motorcyclist is dead after a collision in Glendale early Sunday morning, according to police.

At about 4:10 a.m., David Malave was riding his bike eastbound on Cypress Avenue when he struck a curb and began to skid toward a second motorcyclist, a 43-year-old man who was stopped at a red light on Cypress Avenue and Cypress Hills Street, cops said. Malave’s motorcycle struck the rear of the second bike before coming to a rest.

Malave was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The 43-year-old man was not injured in the accident, according to authorities.

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Flushing 7-Eleven robbery ends in flames after police chase


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Three men suspected of robbing a Flushing 7-Eleven at gunpoint early Tuesday morning crashed into a deli after police chased the trio through the streets of Queens, authorities said.

Three men in their 20s were in the process of robbing the 7-Eleven on Northern Boulevard near 171st Street at about 2 a.m. when cops arrived, police said. The three men then took off in a Nissan Altima.

During the chase, the three suspects threw a wallet and money out of their window. Police later discovered that it belonged to the 7-Eleven workers they robbed, cops said.

The hour-long chase led police and the thieves along Northern Boulevard and then the Long Island Expressway before ending when the robbers crashed into a Flushing deli on 164th Street and Pidgeon Meadow Road, according to authorities. Fire and smoke rose out of the car’s engine following the crash.

Police recovered a shotgun from the car but couldn’t say if it was the weapon used in the robbery.

The deli was empty at the time of the crash, but the incident left one of the suspects, 21, with a broken hip, and a 22-year-old suspect with a broken hand, cops said. Both were taken to Flushing Hospital. The driver, a 29-year old, was not injured.

Charges against the three suspects are pending.

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Suspect wanted in Elmhurst attempted rape: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD110Pct

Police are looking for the suspect wanted for attempting to rape a 23-year-old woman in Elmhurst.

On Aug. 16 at about 5 a.m. the victim was walking along Gleane Street near Elmhurst Avenue when the suspect grabbed her from behind and punched her in the head, according to cops. The victim fell to the floor and the suspect attempted to grab her while she was down, however she resisted.

The suspect then touched the victim forcibly before fleeing the scene, police said.


The NYPD has released a surveillance video of the suspect.

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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Man found stabbed in Elmhurst building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated Tuesday Aug. 26, 11:14 a.m.

A 50-year-old man was found stabbed to death in the front lobby of his Elmhurst building on Friday afternoon, according to police.

The victim, Mukesh Patel, who had multiple stab wounds to the chest, was discovered inside a building located at Broadway near St. James Avenue at about 3:10 p.m., cops said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No arrests have been made.

 

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Suspect wanted in South Ozone Park robbery: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

PoliceCar

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Police are looking for the suspect in a robbery that occurred near Lincoln Street and 135th Street last month.

On July 29 at about 6:15 p.m., a 23-year-old man was approached by the suspect who followed by forcibly removing the victim’s sneakers and wallet before fleeing the scene, cops said. The victim was uninjured.

Police have released a surveillance photo of the suspect using the victim’s stolen debit card.

1694-14 Robbery 106Pct 7-30-14

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

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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Missing 85-year-old Flushing man found in good health: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

Updated 5:32 p.m.

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Police have found the 85-year-old Flushing man who went missing Monday afternoon.

A Silver Alert was issued  for Michael Sakis , who only speaks Greek, on Aug. 18 after he was last seen inside his residence, wearing blue jeans, a blue polo shirt and brown shoes, according to police.

According to police, Sakis was found in good health.

 

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