Tag Archives: Far Rockaway

Rockaway pair convicted on murder and kidnapping charges


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Two 29-year-old Queens men have been convicted of second-degree murder and other charges in the brutal April 2012 stabbing death of a man who had begun a relationship with the estranged wife of one of the defendants.

Michael B. Cunningham, 29, of Dickens Street in Far Rockaway, and Damian Husain, also 29, of Beach 64th Street in Arverne, were convicted on July 28 of second-degree murder, second-degree felony murder, first-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Cunningham was additionally convicted of aggravated criminal contempt for violating an order of protection.

Sentencing has been set for September 23. If convicted, both defendants face 25 years to life in prison.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “This was a particularly brutal attack. The 27-year-old victim had gashes and puncture wounds all over his body. A jury has spoken and found the two defendants guilty of murder and other charges. A lengthy prison term is more than warranted.”

According to trial testimony, the victim, 27-year-old Albert Robinson, had for six months been in a relationship with a woman who was married but separated from Cunningham. After Cunningham rammed his car into Robinson’s on December 28, 2011, an order of protection was issued requiring Cunningham to stay away from Robinson. However, Robinson still received a death threat on his cellphone from Cunningham.

On April 4, 2012, the victim left the woman’s house some time after midnight. Video surveillance in the area showed a man exiting the woman’s home and moments later being chased by a person on foot as well as by someone driving a dark-colored car. The men became entangled in a struggle just before moving out of view of the surveillance camera.

Robinson’s body was found some time after 11 a.m. that day off the shoreline of Jamaica Bay. He had been stabbed in multiple places, including his neck and chest, and had multiple punctures in his internal organs, including his lung, diaphragm and an artery. A glove found at the scene tested positive for Robinson’s blood and Husain’s skin cells. Robinson’s blood was also found on the backseat of Cunningham’s car.

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Queens Village street to be named after slain police officer


| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Queens Village street will be renamed to honor Det. Brian Moore, who was shot and killed this May while on plainclothes patrol.

Moore, who was an officer in the 105th Precinct, was in an unmarked police cruiser on the night of May 2 when he stopped Demetrius Blackwell for acting suspiciously. Blackwell allegedly motioned to his waist as if concealing a firearm. When Moore pulled up to Blackwell, he was shot in the head and face and later died from his injuries; he was posthumously promoted to first-grade detective.

City Councilman I. Daneek Miller sponsored legislation that the City Council passed unanimously last Thursday co-naming the intersection of 222nd Street and 92nd Road as Detective First Grade Brian Moore Way.

“There is consensus within the community that we want to honor those who serve and protect. Detective First Grade Brian Moore was a bright young man and a member of the elite Anti-Crime Unit; he received medals for Excellent Police Duty and Meritorious Police Duty,” Miller said. “Detective Moore’s untimely death shook both our city and our nation. To memorialize his dedication, service and life, we resolve to co-name Detective First Grade Brian Moore Way.”

Moore, 25, made 159 arrests during his time on the force. Thousands of officers from around the country and Canada attended Moore’s funeral on Long Island at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford on May 8.

“It’s not many of us who can say we lived out a dream. But Brian could. He dreamed of being a cop,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said during the funeral. “He had an eye for the street…not even five years on, but he was already in anti-crime, already decorated…we need more like him.”

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Private investigator, father and son indicted for tampering with witnesses in gun possession case


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A father and a son, along with a private investigator, have been indicted on charges of soliciting, intimidating and tampering with witnesses in a gun possession case in Jamaica.

Frederick Freeman, 27, of Miller Avenue in Brooklyn, along with his father Frederick Hutcherson, 47, of Beach 27th Street in Far Rockaway, and private investigator Charles Gallman, 52, of Metropolitan Avenue in the Bronx, are charged with 13 counts of bribing a witness, third- and fourth-degree tampering with a witness, third-degree intimidating a victim or witness, fourth-degree criminal solicitation and fifth-degree conspiracy. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.

Freeman is currently awaiting trial for weapons possession after a confrontation at the Jamaica, Queens, apartment of his girlfriend’s brother, Rashown Williams, on Jan. 30, 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

According to the charges in the case, Freeman, Hutcherson and Gallman conspired between Feb. 1, 2015, and April 1, 2015, to bribe and intimidate witnesses due to testify at Freeman’s gun case.

The three defendants allegedly attempted to instill the fear in Williams and his family that they might be physically injured if they testified. It is also alleged that the defendants offered to confer benefits on the potential witnesses if they altered their testimony or refused to appear in court.

“Prospective witnesses must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “This office will not tolerate the intimidation of, or tampering with, witnesses and is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who engage in such conduct.”

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Reputed Rockaway street gang members cuffed for murder, assault plots


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Thirteen alleged members of a Far Rockaway-based street gang found themselves in handcuffs Wednesday for an indictment charging them with various violent crimes including conspiring to murder and assault rival groups, prosecutors announced.

Authorities said the suspects, reputed members of the “70Gs/G-Boyz” gang, operated in an 11 block area of Arverne between Beach 62nd and Beach 73rd streets. According to police, the gang members — some of whom were as young as 16 — obtained weapons and ordered beatings and shootings of rival gang members in an effort to expand their territory and control.

The arrests and indictments were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the NYPD’s Queens South Violence Reduction Task Force and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigations Bureau. Detectives monitored phone conversations and social media accounts of the suspects — in which the reputed gang members openly planned and bragged about their criminal activities — to build their case.

In one instance, alleged gang member Joshua Simon, 21, took to social media to apologize to an individual whom he accidentally hit with gunfire while shooting at rival gang members on April 13, 2014.

Detectives also learned from Simon, through phone conversations he made from Rikers Island, that he was involved in other shootings with fellow gang members Michael Motta, 23, and Matthew Robinson, 19. Motta was charged in a separate indictment for firing shots at rival gang members outside P.S. 42, then pointing a gun at an officer before eventually dropping it, on March 13 of this year.

“These indictments are another example of police and prosecutors working together to eliminate gang violence that too often plagues our neighborhoods and strikes at the heart of a unified and criminally active group of young people who threaten the lives and safety of innocent bystanders,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

“The defendants are variously accused of turning the streets of Rockaway into the Wild West by acting in concert with one or more of their co-defendants to shoot and wound five individuals and firing weapons at no less than four others,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton added. “Their alleged criminal and violent acts have no place in a civilized society.”

According to the 86-count indictment, the gang members allegedly obtained firearms and carried out violent acts against rival gang members at neighboring housing developments. In many instances, prosecutors said, the adult gang members recruited juveniles as young as 14 years of age to carry out deeds ranging from weapons smuggling to shootings and beatings.

Police also determined that the gang members used coded language in communicating with one another to avoid detection from investigators.

The other suspects named in the 86-count indictment were identified as Taedwon Lyons, 17; Dwayne Lyons, 16; Kane Motta, 16; Ashanti Brown, 18; Isaiah Boyd, 21; Brandon Fuentes, 22; Diequan Underwood, 20; Jordane Maurice Gayle, 16; and Tamar Horton, 16.

Each of the 13 reputed gang members could face up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.

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Human remains found in duffel bag on Far Rockaway shore identified


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google maps

Three months after human remains were discovered in a black duffel bag along the Far Rockaway shoreline, police have identified the victim and are investigating the death as a homicide.

The remains, now identified as 26-year-old Westerley Osson, whose address is unknown, were found inside the duffel bag the morning of March 30 near 14-52 Gipson St., according to authorities.

On Wednesday, the medical examiner determined the cause of death to be from homicidal asphyxia, according to a spokeswoman from the office.

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Nursing home caregivers arrested for neglect of disabled resident in Far Rockaway


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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Three caregivers in Far Rockaway found themselves in handcuffs Wednesday after they allegedly dragged a disabled and bleeding nursing home resident and left him bleeding on the floor for over 20 minutes last October, authorities said.

On the evening of October 23, 2014, at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center a 51-year-old resident, who suffered from multiple debilitating conditions including mental status, fell in front of nurse Esohe Agbonkpolor while in a hallway, according to court papers. After the resident was left lying on his back on the floor for 12 minutes, certified nurse aide Emmanuel Ufot allegedly grabbed the resident by the arm and dragged him into his room.

About 25 minutes later, the resident, wearing only a backless gown pulled over his waist, came out of his room crawling on the floor on his back, bleeding profusely from a wound on the back of his head and another serious wound on his jaw, according to authorities. For the next 20 minutes, Agbonkpolor and another nurse, Funmilola Taiwo, working a few feet away, allegedly ignored the resident on the floor and did not appropriately treat his wounds or try to stop the bleeding.

Instead, Ufot allegedly grabbed the resident by his hospital gown, which was at the time twisted around his neck, and dragged him along the floor and dropped him abruptly in front of his room, authorities said.

The entire incident was caught by hallway surveillance cameras and management at the center turned the video over to authorities.

All three were either terminated or resigned from Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Taiwo, Agbonkpolor, and Ufot were arrested by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit on Wednesday.

“My office will not tolerate nurses who callously fail to treat or endanger injured patients under their care,” said New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Caregivers must know that we will vigorously prosecute behavior that endangers our most vulnerable citizens. New Yorkers in nursing facilities deserve quality care and their loved ones deserve to know their caregivers act like the professionals they are.”

Taiwo, 34, of Far Rockaway; Agbonkpolor, 39, of Arverne; and Ufot, 36, of Far Rockaway were each charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, and willful violation of health laws.

Each were arraigned in New York City Criminal Court and their cases were adjourned for conference on July 30.

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Far Rockaway supermarket robbed at gunpoint


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect in the armed robbery of a Far Rockaway grocery store early Friday morning.

At 2 a.m. the suspect approached an employee at RR Food Store at 552 Beach 25th St., then displayed a firearm and demanded cash, according to authorities. He was able to flee the location with about $300 in cash.

There were no injuries sustained during the robbery.

The suspect is described as a male wearing a black sweatshirt with red trim on the shoulders and sides.

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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Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center appoints new CEO


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Marjorie J. Hill

BY ANGELA MATUA

The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Far Rockaway welcomed Marjorie J. Hill, who has 30 years of experience in public health, as their new CEO.

Hill, who most recently served as CEO for the nonprofit Gay Men’s Health Crisis for seven years, and who was also appointed assistant commissioner to the HIV/AIDS bureau of the Department of Mental Health & Hygiene, said she was always interested in pursing a career in the mental health field.

“I believed that if a person became empowered and self actualized, that they could change their circumstances and both as I learned more about the world and the challenges that people are faced with, I realized that both mental health as well as physical health are in a context that includes issues of racism, issues of sexism, economic challenges,” Hill said. “So the more interested I became in those areas, the more public health minded I became.”

Hill said she has spent her entire career working  with the medically underserved and disadvantaged and believes that health care should be a community effort. For these reasons, Hill desired to be a part of the Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center.

The health center was created in 1987 to serve the “poor, medically indignant and/or medically underserved residents of Queens County, ” according to its website, and offers a full spectrum of health care services including ophthalmology, cardiology, HIV/AIDS, pediatrics and dental care.

Hill said her role as CEO is complex and requires her to be a “visionary leader, problem solver, cheerleader and analytic strategist.”

She will draw from her experience working closely with the state Assembly, Senate and City Council members to implement changes in health care at the state and city level and managing big budgets for several organizations, she said.

Hill’s major goals for the organization are to increase the visibility of the institution in the communities it serves, to improve the infrastructure and to make the agency administratively and technically stronger.

In the six weeks that she has been CEO, Hill has met with many employees to understand their concerns, their vision for the organization, their success stories and their challenges.

She met with all 32 managers and supervisors and asked them one question: “If Addabbo were to get an award from the president or governor what would that award be for?”

“Twenty-seven of the 32 people said it would be for the quality of the services we give, it would be for the caring of our community, it would be because we are really committed to our patients,” Hill said. “And this was not just doctors and nurses, it was the accounts payable, it was the IT person, it was the person who runs facilities. I think it was not just that they said it but it was the passion that was behind it and it made me know that this was the right choice for me.”

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Cops shot at while patrolling Far Rockaway housing complex: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Updated Tuesday, June 9, 4:16 p.m.

Police are looking to question six individuals after shots were fired at two plainclothes officers in Far Rockaway early Sunday morning.

The two cops, a plainclothes sergeant and police officer assigned to the 101st Precinct, were patrolling the Redfern Houses about 1:45 a.m. when they saw six men standing in front of 14-30 Redfern Ave., authorities said.

To further investigate the group, the officers then parked their unmarked department vehicle and tried to enter 14-20 Redfern Ave. to access that location’s roof.

As they exited their vehicle and walked across the street, the officers noticed an unidentified black male wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt on the sidewalk in front of 14-20 Redfern Ave., according to police. That man displayed a firearm and fired his weapon three times in the direction of the officers, before fleeing on foot to an unknown location. The officers did not return fire.


The cops were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in stable condition, where the sergeant was treated and released for tinnitus, and the police officer was treated and released for back spasms and a bruised knee.

There was no firearm recovered, but police did find three 9mm shell casings at the scene, authorities said.

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.

A $12,500 reward ($2,500 from NYPD Crime-Stoppers and $10,000 from the COP-SHOT Foundation) is being offered in regard to the incident.

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Woman dies after getting butt injections in Far Rockaway: reports


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/Property Shark

A 34-year-old woman died over the weekend after a butt injection procedure went wrong in a Far Rockaway basement apartment, according to published reports.

The woman, who was identified in reports as Kelly Mayhew of Maryland, was found unconscious and unresponsive at a residence on Dickens Street at about 5:46 p.m. on Saturday, police said.

She was taken to St. John’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to published reports, Mayhew and her mother went to the home’s basement apartment to receive butt injections from an unlicensed technician. Mayhew then had an apparent allergic reaction and became unconscious.

As the victim’s mother called 911, the technician, who allegedly rented the site and had women coming day and night, reportedly ran off in a gray SUV and is still at large.

Authorities also reportedly recovered needles filled with a substance believed to be silicone and tests are being conducted to determine the content of the needles.

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Queens Library CEO appeals for more city funding


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Borough Public Library

With a little more than a month until the city’s budget deadline, the Queens Borough Public Library is urging elected officials to make a much-needed investment in its system.

The Queens Library, along with the Brooklyn and New York public libraries, recently launched the “Invest in Libraries” campaign, which aims to engage New Yorkers in the debate and convince city lawmakers to provide an additional $65 million in combined funding in the 2016 fiscal year budget, which takes effect in July.

Queens Library’s Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey outlined the campaign in an exclusive interview with The Courier Thursday. The Queens Library seeks an $18.2 million funding boost from the city, a drop in the bucket in a budget projected to meet or exceed $70 billion.

Should Queens Library receive the extra funding, Quinn-Carey claimed, it would restore the library’s funding level to that of 2008 and open the door toward adding more than 200 new jobs, expanding existing educational programs and restoring six-day service throughout the system. Since 2008, the library lost 20 percent of its funds, pared jobs and eliminated six-day service at two-thirds of its 62 branches.

Quinn-Carey charged that increasing library funds is a concept that aligns with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to increase economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.  For instance, the extra funds would enable Queens Library to expand its English as a second language program, which was held at 40 branches and proved so popular that some potential students were turned away due to a lack of available seats.

“This is really an investment not only in the traditional library system but also community engagement,” she said. “This is giving communities a greater chance of success.”

Additionally, the Queens Library is also seeking capital funds to renovate many aging, yet heavily used branches such as the Corona, Rego Park and Far Rockaway locations. De Blasio set aside $300 million in the city’s 10-year capital plan to renovate libraries, but Quinn-Carey noted the actual projected costs exceed $1.4 billion.

Quinn-Carey and the Queens Library have spent the better part of a year working to repair its image following a scandal centered around its former president and CEO, Thomas W. Galante. He came under fire early in 2014 after it was revealed that he collected a nearly $400,000 annual salary, ordered a six-figure renovation of his office and made other lavish expenses at a time when the library cut jobs and services due to funding cutbacks.

The library lost political and financial support, and local elected officials such as Queens Borough President Melinda Katz sought to change the library’s board of trustees after it resisted calls to force Galante out of office and fully open its financial books. Legislation enacted by the state in June empowered Katz and de Blasio to remove eight library trustees who supported Galante and resisted calls for full financial disclosure.

The board of trustees was stocked with new members by September, when it forced Galante into a leave of absence. Quinn-Carey was named as his interim replacement, and Galante was subsequently fired in December.

Quinn-Carey said she and the reconstituted board are working closely with the government to reform the library system. It engaged audit firms to assess the library’s risks and expenses. Steps were also taken to make the library more transparent; the library is now in compliance with the Freedom of Information Law and posts expense records on its website.

“These efforts and a reform of policies and procedures should reassure the public that the library is a great institution and still able to deliver these great services,” Quinn-Carey said.

Click here for more information about the Invest in Libraries campaign.

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Far Rockaway nursing home aide arrested in assault of 80-year-old bedridden woman


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office

A 59-year-old nurse aide was arrested on felony charges Thursday for assaulting an 80-year-old bedridden nursing home resident in Far Rockaway, according to officials.

According to court records, on or around Aug. 15, 2014, at the West Lawrence Care Center at 14-10 Seagirt Blvd., Marie Jeanty, a certified nurse aide, instructed the 80-year-old victim to move so that she could change the resident’s clothing and bed linens.

Jeanty allegedly then pushed and hit the resident multiple times in the arm and shoulder with a closed fist and forcibly pushed her into the side of the bed rail, causing the victim’s face to hit the rail. This resulted in the resident suffering from a black eye and significant bruising and swelling to her left arm, right temporal area and right orbital area, according to authorities. Her injuries were treated at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

“When New Yorkers place those who mean the most to them in a nursing home, they should have confidence that their loved ones are not in danger of severe physical abuse,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said. “My office will bring criminal charges against nurses who violate the trust of the residents in their care and their family members.”

Jeanty, who no longer works at the nursing home, has been charged with assault in the second degree; endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree; endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person; and willful violation of health laws.

If convicted, she faces up to seven years in state prison.

Jeanty pleaded not guilty during her arraignment Thursday in Queens Criminal Court and was released without bail.

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More Queens Library locations loaning mobile hot spots, tablets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card, and now more cardholders will be able to stay connected while on the go.

The Queens Library announced Tuesday that it will be expanding its mobile technology lending program in the upcoming weeks to more libraries throughout the borough.

While using their Queens Library cards, customers will be able to borrow free mobile hot spots, providing Internet access anywhere to any Wi-Fi-enabled devices with cellphone reception. Customers will also have the chance to borrow free Google Nexus tablets.

The hot spots are available for one month, and there are three renewals available afterwards. First-time hot spot borrowers will have to sign an agreement and bring a photo ID.

Locations that have been offering the free mobile hot spots and tablets since last year include branches at 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica; 1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway; 108-19 71st Ave., Forest Hills; 41-17 Main St., Flushing; and 35-51 81st St., Jackson Heights.

The new locations offering the hot spots include 214-20 Northern Blvd. in Bayside and 37-44 21st St. in Long Island City. They will also be available at the branch at 218-13 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights starting April 8; 193-20 Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows on April 15; and 169-09 137th Ave. in Rochdale Village on April 22.

The Google Nexus tablets are now available at Queens Library branches at 2012 Madison St. in Ridgewood; 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park; and 169-09 137th Ave. in Rochdale Village. Starting later this month, the tablets will be available at the following locations: 187-05 Union Turnpike in Hillcrest; 103-34 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill; and the Langston Hughes Community Library at 100-01 Northern Blvd.

A full list of borrowing sites is available at www.queenslibrary.org.

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Human remains found in duffel bag on Far Rockaway shoreline


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image via Google maps

Unidentified human remains were found inside a black duffel bag along the Far Rockaway shoreline Monday morning, police said.

At about 10:45 a.m., cops responded to a 911 call at 14-52 Gipson St. where they discovered the remains inside the bag along the shore.

Emergency personnel pronounced the individual as dead and it was not immediately clear if the bag contained a whole body or parts of a human body.

The Medical Examiner will now determine the cause of death and the investigation is still ongoing.

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Police looking for man in Far Rockaway attempted abduction of 11-year-old boy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.24.48 AM

Police are continuing to search for a man who they say tried to lure a 11-year-old boy into his vehicle in Far Rockaway Saturday afternoon.

The victim was on on Mott Avenue near Bay 24th Street about 2 p.m. when the suspect approached him while driving his car, authorities said. He tried to convince the boy to get inside his vehicle, but he refused and fled.

Authorities describe the suspect as a black male and have released a video of his car — a black Nissan Altima with chrome trim around the doors.


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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