Tag Archives: home invasion

Sanitation workers help elderly man after Ozone Park home invasion

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos by Robert Stridiron

Updated Monday, Aug. 24, 9:20 a.m.

Sanitation workers found a 76-year-old man after he was tied up in his Ozone Park apartment in an early Saturday morning home invasion, according to police.

The elderly man, identified in media reports as Anthony Puzio, was first confronted in his home at about 6:15 a.m. that morning after an attacker used a ladder propped up against the 101st Street building to get into his second floor window, authorities said.

The robber then pistol-whipped the victim, tied him up and let in two accomplices, according to police. The accomplices — a man and a woman — were able to grab a television, cellphone and cash before all three of the crooks fled.

In an interview with CBS2, Puzio said he doesn’t “take no crap from nobody” and tried to fight back, but there was nothing he could do.


“He started punching, he hit me once over here with a gun and punched me on the side,” Puzio said. “What am I going to do? I’m a 76-year-old man, he’s about 30, maybe.”

Two city sanitation workers, Joseph Felicetti and Michael Bermudez, who were collecting trash nearby, freed the victim’s tied hands when he came running out of his home, reports said.

“His face was bleeding, his arms were bleeding, it was pretty bad,” Felicetti told the New York Post. “It was like something from a movie set.”

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital with lacerations to the face and bruising.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.


Would-be home invader cuts Elmhurst woman’s neck: NYPD

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police released on Tuesday afternoon a sketch of a man who recently assaulted a 24-year-old woman while trying to enter her Elmhurst apartment last month.

Authorities said the incident took place at 2:40 a.m. on July 28 inside an apartment house in the area of Hampton Street and Baxter Avenue.

According to police, the perpetrator — described as a Hispanic male in his 30s, standing 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds — approached the victim as she attempted to enter the front door of her home.

Reportedly, the suspect put a sharp object against the left side of her neck, causing a laceration, and asked her several times if she lived alone. After the victim screamed, police said, the perpetrator ran out of the building and fled in an unknown direction.

Officers from the 110th Precinct and EMS units responded to the scene. The victim was treated at Elmhurst Hospital.

Anyone who can identify the suspect or has any other information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Cops collar four alleged Ridgewood home invaders

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Police busted four Brooklyn men late Monday night who allegedly invaded a Ridgewood apartment in search of loot, according to the 104th Precinct.

Authorities said the trouble began at about 11:45 p.m. inside an apartment house on Gates Avenue between Grandview and Fairview avenues.

Reportedly, a 43-year-old man was at home with his family when the four suspects suddenly entered the apartment through a rear window from the fire escape.

The perpetrators — identified by police as Randall Williams, 24, and Rodney Smalls, 25, both of Bradford Street; Arturo Calcano, 23, of Knickerbocker Avenue; and Joseph Goyco, 22, of Lexington Avenue — displayed firearms and demanded cash and other property.

Law enforcement sources said the 43-year-old male victim and other residents then engaged in a physical struggle with the suspects. One of the residents reportedly managed to escape the apartment during the scuffle and called 911.

Seconds later, police noted, the suspects fled out of the apartment through the fire escape. Reportedly, they got away with the victim’s iPhone 5 and a watch.

Officers from the 104th Precinct rushed to the location and conducted a search of the surrounding area, during which all four suspects were apprehended. Two of the perpetrators were reportedly found inside a livery cab at the corner of Palmetto Street and Grandview Avenue.

Police recovered three firearms, a knife and the stolen loot from the suspects. Each was charged with multiple counts of robbery, authorities said.


Husband scares away Ozone Park home invader after hearing wife’s screams

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy NYPD

Authorities continue to search for a man who invaded an Ozone Park home and assaulted a 46-year-old woman.

Police said the incident occurred at 8:15 a.m. on March 13 at an undisclosed location in the neighborhood within the confines of the 106th Precinct.

According to police, the woman was sitting on the ground floor of her residence when the perpetrator entered her home, grabbed her by the neck and arm, and demanded cash.

The victim reportedly screamed, prompting her husband — who had been upstairs — to run down and help her. Police said the suspect then fled out of the home empty-handed in an unknown direction.

No injuries were reported.

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.


Pair pleads guilty in 2009 Ozone Park home invasion and murder

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FBI

Two men have pleaded guilty to robbery charges in the 2009 home invasion and deadly shooting of the son of a Queens pizza shop owner in Ozone Park.

Antoine Burroughs, in pleading guilty on Monday to one count of robbery conspiracy and one count of attempted robbery, admitted to shooting and killing 29-year-old Gerardo Antoniello as he was trying to protect his father, Bartolomeo Antoniello, during the home invasion, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

His accomplice, Leon Whitfield, also pleaded guilty to the same charges and said that he carried a fake gun during the robbery and that Burroughs fatally shot Antoniello during a struggle.

According to the case, Burroughs and Whitfield were hired by Frank LaCorte, an associate of the Gambino Crime Family to commit the Sept. 9, 2009, robbery. They were targeting any cash the elder Bartolomeo had on hand from his shop, Romeo’s Pizzeria on Cross Bay Boulevard. His son tried to protect his father and was fatally shot in the head.

LaCorte was convicted in Queens County Court for his role in organizing this and several other home invasion robberies, and in June 2012 was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison, officials said.

Whitfield was arrested on March 18, 2014, for his role in the robbery. The same month Burroughs was indicted in the invasion, but was not apprehended until September in the Bronx.

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced on July 29 and face up to 20 years in prison.


Second man charged in home invasion, assault of elderly Bayside couple

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A second man has been charged in a Bayside home invasion that left an elderly couple seriously injured, the district attorney’s office said. His alleged partner in crime, who is accused of helping him steal more than $15,000, was caught last year.

“The alleged victims in this case — both octogenarians — weren’t just robbed of their possessions,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant allegedly stole the couple’s sense of security that they were safe from harm in their own home.”

Vincente Barzola, 39, of Brooklyn, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday on burglary, robbery and assault charges, the district attorney’s office said.

Barzola, along with his accomplice, Christopher Ramirez, rang the doorbell of the couple’s 15th Avenue home on the afternoon of April 23, 2014, pretending to be from their co-op’s maintenance department, according to authorities.

Sofia Dima, then 85, answered, and the two men told her they needed a signature on a form. When she unlocked the door, they barged in, and Barzola punched her in the face, knocked her to the floor and pushed his foot to her chest, Brown said. He then choked her until she was unconscious. When she woke up, the home had been ransacked and her hands were bound with plastic ties, but she managed to alert a neighbor who called police.

Her husband, John Dima, then 87, was asleep in bed upstairs at the time. Ramirez found him there, pulled him to the floor, punched him in the back and the head, tied his hands and pepper sprayed his face, according to the district attorney.

The two took gold and diamond jewelry and a safe containing more than $15,000 in cash from the home.

The Dimas were taken to the hospital, where they spent five days recovering from their injuries. John Dima now needs a cane to walk as a result of injuries he suffered in the attack.

Ramirez, 24, was arrested on June 26 and arraigned on burglary, robbery and assault charges, prosecutors said. Both Ramirez and Barzola face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.


Manhattan man faces 11 years in prison for robbing three elderly Queens women

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Manhattan man will soon be sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to two separate Queens home invasions, involving three women, one as old as 97, according to the district attorney’s office.

“One’s home is their castle and should be a place of refuge and safety, not a crime scene,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “In robbing his victims inside their homes, the defendant stole more than just money and personal property—he stole his victims’ security.”

Salvador Morales, 59, pleaded guilty on Monday, to first- and second-degree burglary before Queens Supreme Court Justice Elise Koenderman, prosecutors said. The judge indicated she would sentence Morales to 11 years in prison on Jan. 23.

Morales, in pleading guilty, admitted to the two home invasions, where he targeted three women, ages 72, 73 and 97.

On April 5, he followed the two younger victims from a HSBC bank branch on Kissena Boulevard to their Flushing apartment, according to the district attorney. Morales, who was wearing a yellow construction helmet, white surgical mask and white surgical tape on several fingers, entered their apartment and pushed them to the floor. He then fled with the 72-year-old woman’s handbag, which contained more than $1,000 that had just been withdrawn from the bank. The other woman was taken to the hospital with a fractured leg.

Morales targeted his third victim on April 19 by also following the 97-year-old woman into her building, Brown said. Wearing a surgical mask, Morales entered her Sunnyside apartment by pretending he had been sent by the landlord to check for leaks. Once inside, he got her to take out a large envelope full of cash by asking if she had change for a $100 bill, and then convinced her to take off her rings while checking the faucet. While she wasn’t looking, he fled the apartment with the rings and the envelope, which contained $700 in cash.

Surveillance video helped in identifying Morales as the surgical mask-wearing thief, according to the district attorney’s office. The footage captured him at the sites of both home invasions and at his residence wearing the clothing described by the victims.



Teen charged in deadly Jamaica home invasion

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File Photo

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in a botched Jamaica home invasion that left one man dead and another injured, police said.

Prakash Churaman has been charged with murder, attempted murder and burglary in the fatal Dec. 5 shooting, cops said.

Churaman entered the 144th Street home of 21-year-old Taquane Clark, an alleged acquaintance, with at least one other person with the intent to rob the place at about 6 p.m., according to police. But something apparently went wrong when Clark was shot in the head and a 27-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the torso and right leg.

Clark was pronounced dead at the scene and the other victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Charges are pending against a second person who was hospitalized after being injured in the home invasion, cops said. Police are still investigating whether others were involved.


Police looking for suspect in Woodhaven home invasion

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A robber broke into a Woodhaven house, threatened the homeowner with a wrench, then tried to use his stolen debit card, cops said.

The suspect forced his way into the 90th Avenue home through the basement door about 8:30 a.m. on Monday, according to police. He showed a wrench that he was holding to the 69-year-old man and took $20 in cash, a debit card and a cellphone from him.

He then attempted to withdraw money from the victim’s account three separate times, but failed, cops said.

Police have released video footage of the suspect, taken at one of the ATMs, and describe him as about 40 years old and 5 feet 10 inches tall.


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.


Cops arrest man in Bayside home invasion of elderly couple

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Police have arrested a man for a Bayside home invasion that left an elderly couple seriously injured.

Christopher Ramirez, 24, has been charged with robbery, burglary and assault in connection to the April 23 break-in, cops said.

During the robbery two men, claiming to be maintenance workers, forced their way into the 15th Avenue home around 2:30 p.m., according to police.

Once inside, they assaulted the couple, an 85-year-old woman and 86-year-old man, leaving the wife with bruising to her face and body and the husband with head injuries, officials said.

Both victims were taken to New York Hospital Queens in stable condition.


Elderly Bayside couple injured in home invasion

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

An elderly Bayside couple was seriously injured after two men invaded their home on Wednesday, cops said.

The perpetrators broke into the 15th Avenue home after claiming to be repairmen, according to police, who were called to the scene at about 2:30 p.m.

The suspects allegedly attacked the couple, leaving bruises on the woman’s head, before taking items from the home. Both husband and wife, who are 86 and 85 years old respectively, were taken to New York Hospital Queens in stable condition, officials said.

It is unclear on what was taken  from the house at this point, cops said.

Police are still searching for the suspects, which are described as two Hispanic men.



Suspects sought in Howard Beach home invasion

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Three men are being sought in connection with an early-morning home invasion in Howard Beach.

According to a police source, on Wednesday, at 8:45 a.m., the homeowner—and owner of Bam’s Auto Body—was awakened by a white male suspect standing in the hall. He, along with two other alleged perps, tied up the victim and took jewelry, along with a few thousand dollars in cash.

No injuries were reported.

Police are looking for the three men—two white and one Hispanic—in their late 20s or early 30s, last seen wearing masks 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.




Kew Gardens man arrested after allegedly blaming girlfriend’s shooting on home invasion

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The boyfriend of a Kew Gardens woman who was shot in their apartment Sunday morning has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly claiming she was injured during a home invasion.

Steven Diaz, 30, is accused of shooting his girlfriend, Amanda Rivera, 22, once in the head, sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., inside their 127th Street home, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. Diaz then allegedly ditched the weapon by throwing it in a sewer.

Afterwards, Diaz drove his wounded girlfriend to Jamaica Hospital where he initially told officials that they were the victims of a home invasion by three masked robbers, one of whom allegedly shot her in the head, Brown said.

Rivera is in critical condition and suffered severe damage to her brain, according to the district attorney.

Diaz is currently awaiting arraignment on charges of second-degree attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of marijuana, prosecutors said.

Police allegedly found more than 10 pounds of pot inside of Diaz’s apartment at the time of his arrest, according to Brown.

If convicted, Diaz faces up to 25 years in prison.




Kew Gardens woman shot in head during alleged home invasion: reports

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A Kew Gardens woman is in critical condition after being shot in the head at home during an alleged armed robbery Sunday, according to published reports.

The 22-year-old woman was shot Feb. 9 about 9 a.m., and taken to Jamaica Hospital, reports said.

The woman’s live-in boyfriend said three armed robbers, demanding money, attacked in an apparent home invasion, according to the New York Post and New York Daily News.



Cops who arrested pair in car thefts honored

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Erica Camhi

Two officers were honored at the most recent 102nd Precinct Community Council meeting in Richmond Hill.

Captain Martin Briffa announced officers Kevin Warmhold and Kenneth Vencak as Cops of the Month during the Precinct Council’s monthly meeting on January 17.

Briffa — executive officer of the 102nd Precinct — said the pair was feted for arresting two individuals who attempted to make off with a stolen van.

On January 3, at around 11 p.m., Briffa said the two officers saw a male and female acting suspiciously on Atlantic Avenue. According to Briffa, the suspects removed a license plate from a Ford van, switched it with another plate and drove off in the stolen van.

Upon pursuit, Warmhold and Vencak were able to nab the criminals after a few blocks.

The male perp was later found to have 13 prior arrests — all for stealing cars — while the arrested female had three. The license plate in their possession, according to police, was also from another vehicle the pair stole.

According to Community Council President Maria Thomson, arrests like these have led to the success of the precinct and safety of the community. In fact, the 102nd Precinct was chosen as the 22nd safest precinct in the city, she said.

“We really are doing very well here,” she said, “I know — and you know — that our police officers, our captain, our lieutenants and our sergeants are working very, very hard.”

But because of their success, the 102nd Precinct did not get any new police officers from the latest graduating academy class — which was one concern raised by a resident.

“Because of the fact that we’re doing so well with statistics, we are being penalized,” Thomson said. “That is not fair.”

Thomson urged residents and local elected officials to write a letter to the police commissioner or mayor asking for more officers for the precinct.

Another resident raised concerns about three burglaries that allegedly took place on 127th Street during Christmas week, but Briffa assured there were “no pattern robberies right now.” However, Briffa encouraged homeowners to check their front door locks because most burglaries, he said, occur because front doors are not locked properly.

The majority of complaints stemmed from incensed residents living on Park Lane South, who say a nearby house has been drawing in a slew of unwanted activity after the building was foreclosed on by the bank in 2009.

According to residents, “squatters” have been living there, congregating, screaming and causing trouble inside. Residents also allege that there is drug and alcohol abuse inside the house, and one neighbor said he often smells marijuana coming from the home when he opens his window.

Although the captain said he can’t do anything about the squatters, he said if there is illegal drug use, he can try and get them locked up.

Meanwhile, he said neighboring residents should call the precinct to come out and investigate if they notice illegal activity.

Additional reporting by Erica Camhi