Tag Archives: NYPD

Four ATM skimming devices found in past two weeks in 109th Precinct


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are cautioning the public to be mindful of erroneous charges on their accounts after four ATM skimming devices were found in the past two weeks in the 109th Precinct.

Two of the devices were discovered in automated teller machines located inside a Flushing Duane Reade store at 136-02 Roosevelt Ave., according to a statement released over social media by Deputy Inspector Thomas J. Conforti. Two additional devices were found affixed to gas pumps at the gas stations located in Whitestone at 17-55 Francis Lewis Blvd. and on the Bayside border at 29-16 Francis Lewis Blvd.

Police said that the devices were respectively discovered by workers at Duane Reade and gas station owners, who then immediately called NYPD to investigate.

Deputy Inspector Conforti said police do not know how long the devices were in place.

The Inspector further stated that it is usually a couple of months after finding the device that victims may begin to notice suspicious charges on their bank accounts.

The NYPD is advising consumers who may have used charge cards on these ATM machines or gas pumps since Aug. 1 to call credit card or bank companies and inform them of cards which may have been compromised.

The case is being investigated by the Financial Crimes Task Force. Any suspicious activity or crime should be immediately reported to the 109th Precinct.

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Queens cop charged with insurance fraud for car fire: DA


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

A Queens police officer has found himself on the other side of the law as he faces charges of insurance fraud — along with other crimes — in connection to his car which he initially reported stolen and was later found burning in New Jersey.

Former cop Madalin Niculae, 28, of Queens, who served in the NYPD since 2010 and was assigned to the 108th Precinct, is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging him with perjury, insurance fraud, making an apparently sworn false statement, making a punishable false written statement and falsely reporting an incident.

If convicted of the highest charge, Niculae, who was suspended from his position Thursday, faces up to two-and-one-third to seven years in prison.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, on Aug. 3, 2014, at about 11:23 p.m. the Jersey City Police and Fire Departments responded to a vehicle fire at Jersey Avenue and 15th Street. The incident was suspected as arson involving a 2010 Acura TL registered to Niculae.

Niculae then allegedly fraudulently told a Jersey City fire official that he had parked his car near his home at about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, 2014, and that he first found the car missing the following day at 11 a.m. He notified police but said he did not file a police report until Aug. 4, 2014, because he had parked his car near a fire hydrant and thought it might have been towed.

In statements, reports and depositions filed with the NYPD and his insurance carrier GEICO, Niculae provided similar fraudulent information surrounding the disappearance of his car even after facing warnings on police forms which state that false statements were punishable as a misdemeanor.

Niculae also made statements under oath when filing a statement with an insurance investigator, who told him that she had issues about the case. He then allegedly said he would consider withdrawing his insurance claim, which he later did.

While investigating the alleged stolen car, police attained the license plate reader records for the city’s highway, bridge and tunnel crossings for Aug. 2 to 4, 2014. The readers allegedly recorded Niculae’s vehicle crossing the Williamsburg Bridge just after midnight on Aug. 3, 2014, and Port Authority license plate readers caught the same car traveling to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel just minutes later.

Records and call details for Niculae’s cellphones showed the phone was in Jersey City, near the site of the vehicle fire, at the estimated time of the discovery of the car, authorities said.

The former NYPD officer then later said in a statement to the district attorney investigator that he had driven the car to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel on Aug. 2, 2014, and left it there in hopes that it would be stolen or vandalized. The next day he returned with another person, who he allegedly told he was having money problems and could not keep up with payment on the car. The other individual then offered to burn the car for Niculae, who stayed blocks away while the person left and returned a short time later saying that the vehicle had blown up.

“As a member of the police department, the defendant was sworn to uphold the law. Instead he allegedly chose to commit insurance fraud for his own personal gain,” Brown said.

Niculae appeared in Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City Thursday and was arraigned on an arson charge in relation to the burning of his car. He faces up to five to 10 years if convicted and was ordered held on $25,000 bail.

Holding dual citizenship, he was also ordered to surrender both his United States and Romanian passports.

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FDNY triumphs over NYPD at first annual Resorts World cook-off


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Resorts World Casino

Mouths watered and cooking skills were put to the test this weekend as the city’s Finest and Bravest battled it out over the grill.

Members of the FDNY and NYPD participated in the Battle of the Badges: FDNY vs. NYPD Cook-Off this Sunday at Resorts World Casino, located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd.

The contest, which was hosted by former FDNY firefighter and host of PBS’s “Firehouse Kitchen” Ray Cooney, featured dishes cooked by 10 members of each team.

After going head to head and putting all their hard work on their individual dishes, one firefighter came out the top dog in the competition.

Khalid Baylor of Ladder 14 in East Harlem won the Battle of the Badges Cook-Off alongside his son after grilling up Tennessee apple smoked ribs, served with apple coleslaw and roasted sweet potato.

Celebrity judges for the event included Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Robert Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio; Chef Bruno Egea, executive chef for Resorts World Casino; Cedric Dew, executive director of the Jamaica YMCA; entertainer George Lamond; and Deputy Inspector Matthew Galvin French, a Culinary Institute graduate who has appeared on shows with Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray.

The contest was part of Resorts World Casino’s Community Fun Day filled with family-friendly activities.


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FDNY, NYPD to face off at Resorts World cooking competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Resorts World Casino

The city’s Finest and Bravest are putting on their aprons, turning on the stoves and going head-to-head this weekend to see who has what it takes to be crowned a top chef.

Members of the FDNY and NYPD will show off their cooking skills this Sunday at Resorts World Casino, located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., for the Battle of the Badges: FDNY vs. NYPD Cook-off.

The contest, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. and is free to the public, will be hosted by Ray Cooney, a former FDNY firefighter and host of PBS’s “Firehouse Kitchen” and will feature dishes prepared by 10 members of each team.

Celebrity judges for the event include Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Robert Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio; Chef Bruno Egea, executive chef for Resorts World Casino; Cedric Dew, executive director of the Jamaica YMCA; entertainer George Lamond; and Deputy Inspector Matthew Galvin French, a Culinary Institute graduate who has appeared on shows with Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray.

The winner of the cook-off will receive a Weber grill and a trip to Resorts World Casino Bimini in the Bahamas.

The contest is part of Resorts World Casino’s Community Fun Day on Sunday which features family-friendly activities, food trucks, musical entertainment, face painting, pony rides and games for all ages.

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Cops save jet skiers caught in current off Rockaway Beach


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Two NYPD officers came to the rescue of a pair of jet skiers after they were swept up in a strong current near the Rockaways last weekend, according to police.

The trouble started when the male jet skiers, ages 21 and 28, ran out of gas Saturday night in the water off of Beach Ninth Street and Seagirt Boulevard, authorities said. They then got caught in the current.

Police Officer Matthew Carson of the 101st Precinct, who was assigned to a nearby foot post, heard the 911 call at about 8:45 p.m. to help the stranded men.

By the time the officer arrived, the current had carried the two men and their jet skis several blocks down the beach, according to police. One man was holding onto the jet ski while the other, who was adrift in the current, wore a loose life vest that was unable to properly keep him afloat.

“His hands were going up in the air as he was going under the water,” said Police Officer Christopher Carlino, who by that time had arrived at the scene with additional cops.

Carson decided he was going to enter the water to save the jet skiers and Carlino volunteered to go with him.

“I came to the conclusion that this one guy wasn’t going to make it to the shore. It was my gut instinct to go into the water and make sure this guy wasn’t going to drown,” Carson said.

Carson, guided by a flashlight held by officers standing on land, made his way out to the man who was floating alone, and pulled him close to the shoreline where Carlino grabbed him and brought him to safety, authorities said. Carson then went back in the water and retrieved the other man and the jet ski.

The jet skiers were “exhausted” but uninjured, according to police.

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Man dies in two-alarm inferno at Glen Oaks home


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Updated Monday, Aug. 17, 12:30 p.m.

Firefighters found a 58-year-old man dead in the basement of a Glen Oaks home following a two-alarm fire Thursday morning, according to police.

More than 100 firefighters and the 105th Precinct responded to the blaze that broke out at 6:29 a.m. at the home on 265th Street near 79th Avenue.

According to the FDNY, efforts to extinguish the flames were complicated after firefighters encountered “Collyers’ mansion” conditions — piles of debris throughout the home.

Once the fire was brought under control nearly two hours later, firefighters found the man — whose identity was withheld pending family notification — in the basement and removed him from the home; paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

His body was transported to the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.

According to the Fire Department, the blaze was believed to have been sparked by electrical problems. Reportedly, the home did not have a working smoke detector.

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Reward offered to help find suspect who killed rapper Chinx


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Detectives continue to look for leads three months after a drive-by shooting in Briarwood left an up-and-coming rap star dead — and now the NYPD is offering a reward to anyone who can help them find the killer.

Through its Crime Stoppers program, police are offering $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for the May 17 murder of Lionel Pickens, 31, of Ozone Park, who went by the stage name Chinx.

Pickens and a 27-year-old male passenger were in a 2014 Porsche stopped at a red light at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive at about 4:04 a.m. that morning when an unknown vehicle pulled up. Reportedly, an unidentified individual inside that vehicle then fired multiple shots at the Porsche before speeding away from the scene.

Officers from the 107th Precinct and EMS units found Pickens behind the wheel with multiple gunshot wounds about the body. Pickens was rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The male passenger sustained a gunshot wound to his back but survived.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477), visit their website or text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

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Brooklyn men charged in Queens theft ring of luxury cars, motorcycles, narcotics


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Eight Brooklyn men who allegedly specialized in selling everything from stolen vehicles to narcotics have been charged for their participation in a Queens theft ring, according to the Queens district attorney.

The men, ranging from 21 to 27 years of age, were indicted after a 16-month investigation that began last April and concluded this June.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, in April 2014 police officers assigned to the NYPD’s Auto Crime Division Theft Squad started a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Rackets Bureau into a theft ring that was offering temporary paper license plates for sale on Craigslist.

An unnamed individual allegedly contacted the number listed on the Craigslist post and later met with one of the eight men, 22-year-old Ariel Santiago, in Queens. During this encounter, the individual purchased fraudulent temporary license plates packaged with accompanying documents including blank bills of sale templates, blank 30-day temporary insurance coverage conformation forms and four blank Florida temporary registration receipts each stamped with the name of an actual auto sale business.

During their meeting, the unnamed person mentioned he shipped stolen vehicles to Africa and used paper plates to transport the cars to the port. At this point Santiago allegedly said he knew people who sold high-end stolen vehicles with keys, according to authorities.

Later that month at a second meeting, the person met with Santiago again to purchase five more forged temporary plates and spoke with 21-year-old Brian Hernandez and 22-year-old Luvere Gantt about buying stolen vehicles.

Over the next month, the person bought several stolen motorcycles during a series of buys, including two Kawaski Ninjas, from Santiago, Hernandez and Gantt, and in one instance from 21-year-old Gerardo Torres.

According to the district attorney, Torres, Gantt, 27-year-old Joseph Santiago and 21-year-old Matthew Moses later variously sold narcotics, cocaine and heroin to other individuals.

It is also alleged that in addition to the other defendants, 25-year-old Sean Vargas and 21-year-old Kevin Primo were also a part of selling stolen vehicles, firearms and/or counterfeit cash.

The majority of the stolen vehicles were obtained through fraudulent means from rental car companies such as Zipcar, Hertz, Enterprise, Dollar and Budget, according to the district attorney.

“This small, loosely organized theft ring is accused of offering a cornucopia of stolen and illegal items for sale on the black market — including stolen motorcycles and such luxury vehicles as Cadillacs, Mercedes Benzes, Audis and BMWs, as well as forged license plates, narcotics, counterfeit cash and various firearms — including an assault rifle, shotgun and a defaced pistol,” Brown said.

Currently Gantt, Hernandez and Torres are being sought, while the other five suspects have been arrested.

The charges the men variously face include criminal possession of stolen property, criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy, unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

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PHOTOS: Queens residents enjoy a fun ‘Night Out’ with New York’s Finest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Promoting greater harmony between police and the people they serve, Tuesday’s National Night Out Against Crime brought thousands of Queens residents out to venues across the “World’s Borough” for family-friendly activities.

From Astoria to the Rockaway Peninsula, each Night Out event included free games and activities for children of all ages as well as refreshments, live music and other entertainment. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with the officers who serve their community and learn more about the NYPD’s various crime prevention programs.

Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, attended each gathering and presented proclamations to the precinct commanders. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who made the rounds at Night Out events across the city, stopped by the 113th Precinct’s Night Out in Springfield Gardens.

The National Night Out Against Crime, founded by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities. Millions of people across the U.S. and Canada were estimated to have participated in Night Out events Tuesday evening.

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Glendale man who allegedly voiced threats against cops sentenced for weapons charge


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A Glendale man arrested after voicing threats against police officers in the wake of two cop killings last December will spend the next three years behind bars after pleading guilty to a weapons possession charge, prosecutors announced on Monday.

Elvin Payamps, 38, of Edsall Avenue was originally arrested on Dec. 24, 2014, after allegedly being overheard making the threat while talking on a phone at the TD Bank located at 79-55 Metropolitan Ave. The comment came four days after two officers — Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu — were shot to death by a lone gunman on a Brooklyn street.

Reportedly, Payamps told an unidentified caller that the killer “should have killed two white cops, instead of a Hispanic and an Asian, if the guy really wanted to send a message.” Detectives indicated that the murderer shot Ramos and Liu to avenge recent high-profile, police-involved deaths.

During the state of heightened alert following the double homicide, a bank employee who heard Payamps’ remark notified police after the suspect left the location. After obtaining a description of Payamps and his vehicle, they located him a short time later at the Metro Mall parking lot at 66-26 Metropolitan Ave.

Ironically, the mall — located in a building housing the New York Corrections Department Academy — was evacuated the day before after someone phoned in a bomb threat.

Payamps was taken into custody at the mall after police found a plastic bag containing marijuana and a lead pipe inside the vehicle. After obtaining a search warrant for his home, police recovered a loaded black Jimenez Arms JA 9-mm pistol, a black Mossberg Maverick model 88 12-gauge shotgun with a defaced serial number, ammunition, brass knuckles and two bulletproof vests.

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Cops save dog left inside hot car in Forest Hills


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD112Pct

Two police officers came to the rescue of a small dog this weekend in Forest Hills after its owner left it inside a hot car for over an hour, according to the NYPD.

Police officers Timothy Geary and Joseph Reagan of the 112th Precinct were reportedly patrolling the area on Sunday when at about 3:45 p.m. they responded to a call from someone who spotted the dog in the car on the corner of Yellowstone and Queens boulevards.

According to published reports, police were able to unlock the car through one of the door windows which was left somewhat open. Once they got the dog out of the car, the police officers gave it some water.

The pooch’s owner reportedly returned to her car shortly after and was issued a summons for leaving the dog in the car during extreme weather.

After tweeting about the rescue on Sunday, the 112th Precinct also reminded people to be sure to take care of your loved ones — including pets.

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Crook steals bags from sleeping woman in Queens Plaza station


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man who swiped valuables from a 61-year-old woman who fell asleep on a bench inside the Queens Plaza subway station earlier this month.

The theft occurred at 6:15 a.m. on July 7 in on the mezzanine level above the E train tracks at the station located below Jackson Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Long Island City.

According to authorities, the perpetrator — described as a black man between 30 and 35 years of age, standing 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds — walked up to the victim after she nodded off and removed her bags, which contained her cellphone, jewelry and papers.

The crook was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a navy V-neck sweater and light-colored pants.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts 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 will be kept confidential.

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Cops looking for assailant who struck man in the head on Astoria street


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD released on Saturday night video footage of a man wanted for smacking a pedestrian in the head with a blunt object on an Astoria street last month.

According to police, the attack occurred at 2:45 p.m. on June 17 in front of a location on 34th Street near 37th Avenue.

Reportedly, the perpetrator walked up to the 34-year-old man and hit him in the head with an unknown object, then fled the scene.

Officers from the 114th Precinct and EMS units responded to the incident. The victim was treated at Elmhurst Hospital for a laceration to the head.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts 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 will be kept confidential.

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Cops seek man who slashed woman at Queensbridge Houses


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police released on Thursday morning images of a man wanted for slashing a 19-year-old woman during a dispute inside the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City earlier this month.

Authorities said the assault occurred at 8:20 p.m. on July 7 inside an apartment house on 10th Street, south of 41st Avenue.

According to police, the victim and suspect — both of whom are known to each other — became embroiled in an argument, during which the suspect displayed a knife and slashed the victim in the ankle. He fled the scene following the attack.

Officers from the 114th Precinct and EMS units responded to the location. Paramedics transported the victim to Mount Sinai Hospital Queens, where she was treated and released.

Police describe the suspect as a white man believed to be 20 years of age, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 230 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair in a long pony tail. He has a scar on his right cheek and tattoos on his forearms; the left tattoo features the word “Brooklyn” and the right has the word “Karlene.”

Anyone with information regarding 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.

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Burglar grabs euros from Woodside business: NYPD


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police continue to search for a man wanted in connection with a burglary at a Woodside business earlier this month in which foreign currency was stolen.

According to authorities, the break-in occurred at 7:45 a.m. on July 2 on Roosevelt Avenue near 53rd Street.

Reportedly, the suspect — described as a black male between 30 and 40 years of age who was wearing blue jeans — entered through an unlocked rear door and removed an unknown quantity of euros. The theft was later reported to the 108th Precinct.

Anyone with information regarding 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.

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