Tag Archives: Inspector Brian Maguire

Police amp up efforts to reduce grand larcenies in downtown Flushing


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Police are beefing up efforts to protect downtown Flushing shoppers from pickpockets ahead of the Lunar New Year, as grand larcenies have more than doubled since last year.

“We will be taking extra precaution, with the community carrying lots of money,” said Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct.

A command post vehicle will be stationed outside the Flushing branch of the Queens Library over the weekend, at the start of new year celebrations, Maguire said.

The precinct has also amped up awareness initiatives and held a crime prevention seminar Tuesday for local business owners.

Officers played surveillance footage of pickpockets to show how fast the crime can occur when property is unattended or victims are unaware.

“In the blink of an eye, your bag is gone,” said Captain Tommy Ng, the precinct’s executive officer.

Last year, the precinct saw a 53 percent increase in grand larcenies from 2012, Maguire said.

The crime, which includes credit-card fraud, phone thefts and shoplifting, is still rising.

Grand larcenies in the precinct have spiked more than 56 percent so far since last year, jumping from 48 to 75 incidents in the first three weeks of January to date, an NYPD spokesperson said.

Maguire said a partnership between the NYPD and local businesses could whittle down rising numbers.

Officials from the Chung Fat Supermarket on Main Street recently helped officers arrest a pickpocket with an extensive criminal history, he said.

“I truly believe that working together, we can achieve great things,” Maguire said. “We will make Flushing safer, trust me. We all should have this as a common goal.”

Ng warned diners not to hang their purses over chairs at restaurants or bars. He also told store owners to be wary of people who reappear multiple times without making a purchase.

“That should raise a flag immediately,” Ng said. “He is not your customer. He is in your store to commit a crime.”

 

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Queens woman admits to bogus ‘blessing scam’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic

A 50-year-old con artist has admitted to duping three Queens women out of nearly $5,000 through a phony “blessing” scam, officials said.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Fengluan Qin confessed Thursday to using an ancient con game to take jewelry and large sums of cash from three unsuspecting Flushing women, between 52 and 72 years old.

Qin convinced the victims to place their cash and valuables into a bag for a “blessing ritual” that would cure their families of sickness and bad luck, before swapping the bags and stealing the goods, Brown said.

Victims of the hoax have lost $1.3 million within the last year to different crews moving throughout the city, according to Inspector Brian Maguire, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct.

Out of about 50 cases citywide, more than $500,000 has been pilfered from victims in the 109th precinct alone, Maguire said.

According to Brown, the scam that targets mostly elderly immigrant women is prevalent in Asian communities nationwide.

“People should be aware that this is just one of many confidence tricks used by individuals to swindle money from vulnerable people and should not fall victim to it,” Brown said.

The district attorney’s office said Qin, a Chinese national with an expired visa, was believed to be living in Flushing, though she did not provide an address to authorities.

She pleaded guilty to grand larceny charges on December 5, Brown said. She is expected to be sentenced to one to three years in prison on December 18.

As part of the plea deal, Qin must also forfeit $4,765 in restitution and sign a confession of judgment for another $10,000.

Police are urging families to spread word of the scam to older relatives and friends.

Cops said victims, if approached, should agree with the tricksters on a meeting spot and then go home and call 9-1-1.

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