Tag Archives: Corona

Dairy Queen arrives in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 19, 12:37 p.m.

Dairy Queen opened in Corona this month, bringing its famous soft-serve treats back to the borough for the first time in decades.

The DQ Grill & Chill Restaurant, at 37-39 Junction Blvd., is one of four locations in the city, joining DQs in the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan, which just debuted in May.

At least one Dairy Queen existed in the borough prior to the 1980s, according to corporate headquarters, but the Corona eatery is currently the only location in Queens.

The restaurant serves more than just dessert. As its name suggests, it has both a “grill” and “chill” side. Its menu features familiar sweets, including Blizzards, and lunch and dinner items, such as burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Since the Dairy Queen opened on Nov. 11, everything on the menu has been selling, according to assistant manager Gary Holmes.

“Once you order something for dinner, you’re going to have something for dessert,” he said.

Hungry diners looking for a deal can enjoy Dairy Queen’s “$5 Buck Lunch,” which includes crispy fries, a drink and a sundae for dessert.

A week after its opening, which was first reported by DNAinfo, the crowds have been decent, but the restaurant would like to see more customers.

“We are new to the area. We’ve been pretty good,” Holmes said. “But we could always do better.”

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New precinct captain will start ‘Neighborhood Friday’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Captain Brian Hennessy feels like he is back home, and he’s ready to bring the tools that helped him succeed in the 108th Precinct to his new command.

Hennessy is now the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers East Elmhurst, north Corona and Jackson Heights. He made the move from the 108th Precinct on Nov. 6, replacing Deputy Inspector Michael Cody, who since transferred to the narcotics bureau.

“The 108 was my first command and the community there was outstanding. To have that as my first command I was very lucky and I was very grateful,” Hennessy said about the precinct, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth. “The community [at the 115] is very involved. It’s going to be good.”

The move for Hennessy is like a return back home, because before becoming the commanding officer of the 108th Precinct in May 2013, he was the second in command at the 115th Precinct for about two years.

“Inspector Cody taught me a lot,” Hennessy said. “He left me in good hands. The community here, just like the 108, is very supportive, very involved. So I enjoyed working here and I’m ecstatic to be back.”

Cody placed an emphasis on community, and Hennessy plans to continue that focus. He hopes to build on relationships with community members and bring in new programs to help strengthen the ties.

One of the big programs he hopes to start up soon is what he calls Community Fridays, which he started at his previous post. Every Friday, volunteers from the precinct and community would address quality-of-life issues such as graffiti and abandoned cars left on the streets. Another issue is homelessness, which Hennessy works closely with the Department of Homeless Services to address.

“Whatever was brought up in a community meeting or a blog or anywhere that we did see a complaint on something that needed to be fixed, we went out and took all the volunteers and did one section a week,” he said. “I’m a big proponent of community first. The relationship between the community and police has to be there in order for us to be successful.”

He also plans to bring in a conditions team to the community in which officers are assigned to different neighborhood and build “personal connections and interaction” with residents.

“They can follow up with any issues. It gives a personal face to the command,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy also hopes to work on the bigger issues in the surrounding neighborhoods such as prostitution and illegally vending on Roosevelt Avenue, gang violence and disturbances that come from the local bars and their patrons.

Working on what he began in the 108th Precinct, Hennessy also plans to start a Twitter account for the 115th Precinct because he said there were positive responses from residents at his previous post.

The next community council meeting for the 115th Precinct, which Hennessy will attend, will be held on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the precinct, 92-15 Northern Blvd.

“You know when you come to the meeting and you give me a complaint, I’m going to personally address it,” Hennessy said. “I’m excited to be back, and I can’t wait to get out there and work with the community and help in any way we can.”

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‘Thank you and God bless you for your unimaginable courage’: Veterans Day essay winner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kezia Dickson

One Corona student has stood out from the rest for an essay that came from the heart.

Kezia Dickson, an eighth-grader at I.S. 61, won the inaugural Veterans Day essay competition for students in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

Dickson was recognized on Nov. 5 by U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley for placing first with her 500-word essay out of more than 800 students who participated in the competition. The contest was open to students in grades five through eight. The top essays from each grade were also given congressional recognition.

“Our Veterans Day essay contest was a wonderful opportunity to encourage our youth to reflect upon our nation’s history and salute the members of our armed forces for all their sacrifices,” Crowley said. “Kezia’s essay perfectly captures what it means to commemorate the holiday and underscores the importance of paying tribute to the men and women who protect the freedoms we’ve fought so hard for. “

Dickson, who hopes to one day work in politics, said that when she was writing the article, she wasn’t thinking about winning the contest, but about her uncles and cousins in the armed forces.

“First, I thought it was a joke because when I first wrote the essay I wasn’t doing it for the contest. Veterans Day is something that is really important to me. When I wrote it, that was right from the heart,” she said. “It really meant a lot because I know a lot of people don’t know what Veterans Day is so when I saw that someone took what I wrote to heart and took it seriously it made me feel like I was saying something that really meant a lot.”

The congressman awarded Dickson with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and also presented her with a statement that will be entered into the Congressional Record in honor of her essay.

Veterans Day to Me
By Kezia Dickson

Each day millions of people in the armed forces risk their lives in order to protect us. They put losing their family, friends, and life behind just so that they can protect us. These people show unexplainable bravery and courage. I can’t even imagine putting my life on the line to fight in a war where I may possibly die. When I sit down and think about what these people are doing it blows my mind. I find it so honorable and breath-taking that someone would put themselves in such danger for strangers. That is why when Veterans Day comes along I make sure to do something for those members of the armed forces. This holiday is just a chance for me to say, “Thank you and God bless you for your unimaginable courage and kindness.” I can’t even go on to think about the struggle and pain some of these family members may feel each day as they don’t know if their husband or wife, son or daughter, mother or father is still alive. Just let alone going to sleep without having that type of awareness is hard. Sometimes us Americans take things for granted, especially, our freedom. Most people fail to understand that the freedom we have doesn’t come for free. Sacrifices are made and people end up dying in the process. Veterans Day is very important to me. For some it’s a day where you don’t have to go to work or school. For me it’s a time of reflection and renewal. To know that somebody’s husband/wife, son/daughter, father/mother is dying just so, that I can have my freedom makes me take a step back. It makes me think twice about the actions I’m taking and the things I’m doing right now. I just begin to say to myself, “Is the things I’m doing now worth someone’s life being lost?” I appreciate these members of the armed forces with the deepest gratitude. They’ve helped save my life and protect other millions of Americans. In my family, I have uncles and cousins who have served and are serving now. I understand what they do is very hard and it takes mental, emotional, and physical strength to go through with it. They go through so many obstacles but, they seem to never give up. They make me proud to call myself an American. It is their bravery and audacity that keeps America living. What they do is just unbelievable. Basically, Veterans Day my time to say, “Thank you for saving my life and thank you for your service.”                  

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82nd Street Partnership names new executive director


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Leslie Ramos

The 82nd Street Partnership has welcomed a new face to its family.

After a two-month-long search, the group’s board of directors named Leslie Ramos as the new executive director.

Ramos replaces Seth Taylor, who in August announced his resignation from the position, which he held since 2012. Taylor is now serving as the executive director of the NoHo NY Business Improvement District.

“It’s an honor to join the 82nd Street Partnership,” Ramos said. “To work within such a multicultural and booming community in Jackson Heights is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to continue strengthening the 82nd Street business enclave, which represents the entrepreneurial spirit and diversity of our city.”

Ramos was born in New York but grew up in Puerto Rico until her early teens. She then lived in Chicago and now currently resides in Brooklyn.

“It could not get any better than this,” Ramos said about the opportunity to work in such a multicultural area.

Ramos previously held the position as assistant commissioner for finance at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Other positions she has held include the executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses.

Taylor and the 82nd Street Partnership have been working to expand the business improvement district (BID) to Roosevelt Avenue and tackle issues of graffiti, crime, poor lighting and lack of sanitation.

Yet they have faced a lack of support from residents and business owners in the area — many of whom claim that the change is not worth the rise of costs and would kick out immigrant business owners.

Ramos said that as the group is still counting the ballots of who is in favor or the BID expansion or not, she plans to reach out to businesses and answer any questions or concerns.

“For the most part I find that the businesses are more interested to create an area that is more pleasant for them to come to work and also their customers,” Ramos said. “I want to make sure that their visions and concerns are met because at the end of the day the BID is a community of the businesses coming together to make sure things work out for the best.”

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Suspect wanted for committing lewd act in front of girl in Corona


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man who they say committed a lewd act in front of a 10-year-old girl in Corona earlier this month.

The incident took place at about 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 15 near Lewis Avenue and 101st Street. The suspect “displayed himself” in front of the child before fleeing in an unknown direction, police said.

Authorities have released a sketch of the suspect and describe him as Hispanic, about 20 years old, approximately 6 feet tall and 140 pounds, with short black hair.

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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Community partners chosen for new SBS initiative to help immigrant-owned businesses


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Logo courtesy of the Department of Small Business Services

Immigrant business owners are getting local helping hands to help them thrive in their communities.

Five community-based partners were chosen on Oct. 20 to participate in the Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) Immigrant Business Initiative, in partnership with Citi Community Development, which was initially announced in May and will provide free business services to immigrant business owners.

The selected community partners that will be helping owners in Queens include the Business Outreach Center Network, Make The Road New York and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.

“Immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to the city’s identity and economy, opening businesses that create jobs and bring great diversity and energy to our most dynamic communities,” said SBS Commissioner Marie Torres-Springer.

The community partners will provide free business courses, one-on-one counseling and community-based outreach in five languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Haitian-Creole and Russian. Each organization will partner with SBS and also help owners get in touch with existing services throughout the city.

“We have been able to have a great relationship with SBS and this will be able to take us to a new level and combine our roots and expertise in the neighborhood with so many other resources that SBS could offer,” said Nick Petrie, small business organizer at Make The Road NY.

Flora Vizuete, a Colombian immigrant living in Corona who is working on launching her business called Flower’s Cleaning Service, recently received help from SBS to register her company and set up a bank account.

Through getting direct help from the Business Outreach Center Network, Vizuete said she feels like everything is heading in the right direction for her business.

“It’s much easier [with their help], especially because to start you don’t know where to go. Sometimes you don’t know what to do because you are overwhelmed,” Vizuete said. “And when I went there they helped me out a lot. So far I’ve been having good luck because there are people there helping you and guiding you.”

Vizuete also added that she thinks the service will help others who are in the same situation.

“It’s going to be helpful for people because sometimes you don’t know where to find things, and so far for me it’s going [well],” Vizuete said. “And if anyone would ask me I would definitely recommend it to them.”

For more information on the services provided by the Immigrant Business Initiative, visit www.nyc.gov/immigrantbusinesses or call 311.

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Op-ed: Roosevelt Avenue needs Street Vendor Review Panel


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY STATE SENATOR JOSE PERALTA 

Walk along Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and Corona, and everywhere you go you’ll see small businesses, the vast majority of which are mom-and-pop operations.

These businesses, including the street vending carts and stands, sustain families and breathe life into the community.

From early in the morning until well into the evening, you’ll come across rows of street vendors offering up a smorgasbord of tasty dishes from throughout Latin America, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, books, homemade trinkets and on and on. All this amidst a sea of commuters and shoppers flowing in out of the subway stations and many retail stores along the avenue.

If the scene looks more than a little chaotic, it’s because it is.

The city has a jumble of overlapping and confusing regulations governing the rights and obligations of street vendors. But for all of the rules and regulations, nobody is happy with the system. Not local residents; not brick-and-mortar retailers; and certainly not the street vendors themselves.

Local residents regularly complain to me about sanitation issues and congestion on streets and sidewalks.

Restaurants, diners and fruit stores complain about carts setting up directly in front of their businesses to sell the same kind of food they do.

Other brick-and-mortar businesses complain that the smell and smoke from cooking food in front of their stores, along with the congestion and litter, drives away customers.

And the street vendors complain about petty and excessive city fines and the caps on the number of licenses. Because of the caps on licenses, you have unregulated vendors and even a black market for licenses. I’ve heard of street vendors having to pay as much as $24,000 for an illegal two-year rental of a license.

In order for the street vendors and brick-and-mortar retailers to peacefully and profitably coexist on Roosevelt Avenue and other commercial strips throughout the five boroughs, the city needs to do something, and it needs to start by making sense of the street vending regulations.

That’s why I’m urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconvene the defunct Street Vendor Review Panel and charge it with making sense of the myriad, often overlapping and confusing city regulations governing the rights and obligations of street vendors.

A new Street Vendor Review Panel with a broad, holistic mandate and representatives of street vendors, business owners and community interests is the right entity to study these issues and make appropriate recommendations.

In addition to revising the regulations governing street vendors, I would want the panel to:

• Eliminate the black market for street vendor permits by lifting the current cap on permits and rescinding those of individuals who illegally rent them out.
• Create zoning regulations and incentive structures to reduce sidewalk and street congestion and achieve a more efficient distribution of vendor locations.
• Enact a letter-grade system for mobile food vendors, in accordance with my bill (S. 43-A-2014), to further legitimize the vast majority of street vendors, who sell safe, healthy and delicious food.
• Reduce fines for minor issues and focus enforcement on serious health, safety, traffic and sanitation violations.
• Create and promote designated community spaces where street vendors can congregate to sell food without exacerbating congestion issues.

Inaction on issues surrounding street vendors has allowed enmity and confusion to fester where what’s needed is cooperation, understanding and common purpose.

Small businesses and bustling commercial corridors like Roosevelt Avenue are far too important to the city’s economy for the government to continue to do nothing.

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Police investigating death of man in Corona


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

Updated Sunday, Oct. 12, 8:22 a.m.

Police are investigating the death of a man who was found with head trauma outside a Corona home Friday night.

Amar Amador, 51, was found unconscious and unresponsive by officers at about 11:30 p.m. in front of a Corona Avenue residence near 103rd Street, cops said.

Amador, who lived in the neighborhood less than 10 blocks from where he was found, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His death appears to be consistent with a fall, according to a police source.

The incident is still under investigation, however, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death and whether any criminality may have been involved.

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Queens Museum, Parks Dept. ask communities to redesign Flushing Meadows


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

What will Flushing Meadows Corona Park look like in the future? The Queens Museum and the Parks Department are asking members of communities around the park to come up with ideas and solutions to make the green space more accessible to local communities.

“This is a bit of an experiment,” said Jose Serrano, the museum’s community organizer. “Instead of having people give us their ideas in some kind of meeting, we asked, why don’t we equip them with the tools to improve the park creatively and practically.”

Serrano and the Parks Department are asking the public to submit ideas on how to improve the parks connection and the way it’s used with the surrounding neighborhoods.

The deadline is Oct. 25 and 20 people will be chosen to create an exhibition project that will be shown next year at the museum. Over the course of a year, the 20 selected people will learn more about the park and its pros and cons through a series of hands-on learning events.

Serrano said that they will be only accepting people from communities like Flushing, Corona and Forest Hills because they are directly connected to the park.

“They’re meant to be community designs,” he said. “And we want to give people the confidence to talk to decision makers.”

At the museum’s exhibition, the community members will present their ideas to these “decision makers” and, Serrano hopes, affect change in how the park can be changed.

The park was created for the 1939-40 Worlds Fair and as a fair ground, Serrano said, it is designed to control who enters the area. But now, as a public park, a design for controlling fare-goers no longer makes sense.

“The park will be changed to make it more open to people,” Serrano said. “Can we put the community’s signature on the solutions?”

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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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Two killed, teen injured in Belt Parkway ramp crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated 2:49 p.m.

Two young men were killed and a 14-year-old was hurt Thursday night after their car lost control near the Belt Parkway before slamming into a pole and then a tree, authorities said.

The vehicle, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was apparently speeding westbound on North Conduit Avenue in Springfield Gardens at about 10:45 p.m. when it swerved to overtake another vehicle, according to police. It then tried to swerve back into the left lane and enter the entrance ramp to the Belt Parkway near 181st Street.

The Mitsubishi lost control, drove onto the grass shoulder, striking a light pole and then a tree, cops said.

The driver, 20-year-old D’John Arias, of Corona, was pronounced dead at the scene. His front seat passenger, 19-year-old Karim Carter, of Jamaica, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, authorities said.

A 14-year-old boy suffered injuries to his legs and was transported to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the crash.

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First Queens Art Intervention Day to offer interactive projects throughout borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by RPGA Studios

Communities throughout Queens are set for an artistic intervention, looking to inspire, educate and empower residents and feed the pulse of the borough.

The nonprofit studio Rego Park Green Alliance, which uses creative methods to address community issues, will host the first Queens Art Intervention Day on Sept. 27 throughout the borough from Long Island City to the Rockaways.

“We see something that we are not happy with and we try to think about how we can fix it in a creative way,” said Yvonne Shortt, who started the studio and is currently the executive director.

The day-long event, which has a rain date for Oct. 4, will feature a total of 30 projects including murals, art installations, performance pieces, hands-on programs, and many more creative activities taking place outdoors in Astoria, LIC, Kew Gardens, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Laurelton, Corona, Whitestone and the Rockaways.

QAIposter6

“We want our borough to be seen as a place that people want to come and do interesting things,” Shortt said. “We hope this will help Queens continue to grow and continue to thrive and not just have one spot thought of as artistic and creative.”

According to Shortt, along with being visually appealing, the pieces will also serve to bring about change and to get community members thinking about certain issues.

For example, posters for one project called “Stat Girl” depict a super hero displaying statistics on traffic accidents that have occurred on Queens Boulevard in the past two years. The posters will be put up all day down the thoroughfare.

stat girl photo by RPGA Studios

“We would love for people to stop and engage,” Shortt said. “It’s really about the communities themselves to find some inspiration and advocate for better communities.”

Shortt said that although there were over 160 submissions this year, funding, provided solely by Shortt, only allowed for 25 projects to be part of the event. In the future, she hopes to expand the event to more days and many more communities in the borough.

“There’s an active pulse throughout the borough of Queens and I’m very excited to help it move forward. I feel that if you have ideas and are willing to push it forward, that Queens is a very inviting borough.” Shortt said. “We’re showing the vitality of Queens.”

For more information and the full list of projects for Queens Art Intervention Day, click here.

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Former Community Board 2 district manager Dolores Rizzotto passes away


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rizzotto family

Dolores Rizzotto, former district manager of Community Board 2 for more than 15 years, died Thursday after a battle with cancer, according to CB2 chair Joseph Conley.

Rizzotto, who chaired CB2 for more than 15 years, was 70.

“Dolores served the City of New York in many capacities but none so important as her role in our community as district manager,” Conley said. “Dolores worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for so many. Dolores will be sorely missed for her wisdom, compassion, sense of humor and leadership. Dolores was a true friend to all and an expert in helping so many.”

Rizzotto, a lifelong Corona resident who recently moved to Florida, retired in 2006 from CB2, which serves Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside. Rizzotto would travel back and forth between Queens and Florida visiting family and friends.

She is survived by her two sons, Michael and Robert, and two grandchildren, Anthony and Thomas.

A wake will be held at Edward Guida Funeral Home, located at 47-20 104th St. in Corona. Visitations hours will be Sept. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be on Sept. 20 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-05 49th Ave. Rizzotto will be buried at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing.

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2-year-old found in stolen vehicle in Corona


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A missing toddler was returned to her mother after the stolen vehicle she was taken in was found in Corona early Sunday morning, police said.

The two-year-old child, Gabriella, was found at 47-14 98th St., with no injuries, in a blue Hyundai rental car that was taken by a thief around 12:30 a.m., according to authorities.

The child’s mother was said to have left the car running with the child in it as she quickly went inside a food store on 108th Street and 49th Avenue to buy diapers, according to published reports. As she came back out of the store her car and Gabriella were gone.

Police then went on a citywide search for the vehicle and the thief, believing the suspect deserted the car once he realized the toddler was inside of it, the Daily News said.

Around 2:00 a.m. officers found the car, which appeared to have shattered windows, but Gabriella was unharmed, cops said.

The mother is not facing any charges at this point in the case, officials said. The investigation and the search for the car thief are ongoing.

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Cops looking for suspect in Corona attempted abduction of 7-year-old


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

A man tried to lure a 7-year-old girl from a Corona street and into his car on Monday, according to police.

The victim was near Corona Avenue and National Street at about 6:30 p.m. when the suspect approached her while driving a black Toyota Camry, cops said.

He motioned with his hand for her to come to the vehicle, but the girl declined. The suspect then fled on National Street toward Corona Avenue.

Police describe the Toyota Camry as a 2012-2014 black four-door sedan with tinted windows and white New York State license plates.

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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