Tag Archives: NYPD

Cops arrest Middle Village, Ridgewood residents in fireworks bust


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct

They won’t be having a blast this Fourth of July.

Two Middle Village residents and a Ridgewood man were arrested Thursday for illegally possessing fireworks as part of the NYPD’s ongoing crackdown on unlawful pyrotechnics leading up to Independence Day.

The 104th Precinct stopped Middle Village’s Jason Rodriguez, 28, and Tina Foley, 29, at 9:50 p.m. Thursday night at the intersection of 65th Place and Admiral Avenue in Middle Village. Reportedly, they were found in possession of $2,000 in illegal fireworks, some of which were left unattended with a 3-year-old child in their car.

Additionally, the precinct also took into custody Wilfredo Maisonave, 32, of Ridgewood after he was caught possessing fireworks in front of a location on Woodward Avenue between Flushing Avenue and Troutman Street at about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Everyone is welcome to enjoy professionally-operated and permitted fireworks displays such as the Macy’s 4th of July spectacular on the East River, but it is illegal for residents to set off their own fireworks.

“The 104th Precinct will have extra patrols out all day and night to deal with illegal fireworks,” Det. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit said in an email. “If you get caught, you can be subject to arrest.”

Anyone who witnesses fireworks being illegally used or sold in New York City is urged to call 911.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens-based counterfeiting ring busted, loaded weapon and marijuana discovered


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy NYPD

Authorities charged 17 people connected to a major credit and debit card fraud ring based in Queens following a year-long investigation, prosecutors announced on Thursday.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, the suspects used the stolen credit and debit card account information to make purchases at department stores and other establishments in New York City, Long Island and Rockland County between December 2014 and May 2015. Police allege that several of the suspects were active gang members.

During its investigation and ensuring court-authorized searches, police reportedly recovered card readers, embossers and other equipment used for credit and debit card forgery along with more than $11,000 in cash, three vehicles, a loaded .40-caliber Glock firearm, 41 marijuana plants, two 5-gallon containers full of marijuana and high-intensity lights known to be used for growing pot indoors.

The joint operation was conducted by the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force, Intelligence Bureau, 105th Precinct, Organized Crime Control Bureau-Asset Forfeiture, Detective Bureau-Warrant Squad and Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Photo courtesy NYPD

The counterfeiting crew has been variously charged in six indictments with the crimes of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny, attempted petit larceny and third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification information, Brown said. The defendants each face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

“The indictments are the result of a year-long investigation by my Economic Crimes Bureau and the New York City Police Department’s Financial Crimes Task Force and included seven months of court-authorized wiretaps, physical and video surveillance and thousands of intercepted telephone calls,” Brown said. “It is alleged that this fraud ring was basically made up of a loose affiliation of friends — all between 20 and 28 in age — who helped each other out with manufacturing and using forged cards to make purchases at Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Target and even Pathmark and Waldbaums supermarkets. Their alleged crimes victimized not just the businesses — costing them thousands of dollars in losses — but the consumers whose personal identification information was used to carry out the scheme.”

Fourteen of the 17 defendants were arraigned on Wednesday in Queens County Supreme Court, while 15 remain in police custody. Two of the individuals are currently being sought.

The defendants are: Alexis Arrellano, 23, of Baldwin, Long Island; Deemy Balbuena, 20, of Freeport, Long Island; Jasmine Blair, 27, of Jamaica, Queens, who is presently being sought; Dashawn Coggins (a.k.a. Dayday), 27, of Jamaica, Queens, who is presently being sought; Rashem Davis (a.k.a. Sheimy), 25, of Jamaica, Queens; Brian Gwenden, 23, of Jamaica, Queens; Peter John (a.k.a. Peter Jean Gilles John), 21, of St. Albans, Queens; Omar Majeed, 27, of Jamaica, Queens; Emendjer Mathurni (a.k.a. Manny), 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Antoine J. Miller (a.k.a. Fatboy), 21, of Flushing, Queens; Amir Mohamed (a.k.a. Chop), 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Isijola Olesegun (a.k.a. Shea Black), 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Nicholas Pollard, 22, of St. Albans, Queens; Andrew Pottinger (a.k.a. Drip), 24, of Queens Village, Queens; Avion Smith (a.k.a. Abby), 26, of Hempstead, Long Island; Fendi Vance, 24, of Flushing, Queens; and Vegelia Waters (a.k.a. Vegillia O’Conner), 28, of Jamaica, Queens.

An 18th individual, Geovaunni Faucher, 21, of Elmont, Long Island was arrested and charged with 32 counts of possession of a forged instrument, 32 counts of unlawful possession of personal ID and criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree.

According to the indictments, members of the fraud ring purchased the stolen credit and debit card account information from online black market websites. They proceeded to encode the stolen information onto blank cards and physically press the raised numbers and names on the cards. Then they allegedly hired “shoppers” to purchase items from several retailers using the fraudulent cards and proceeded to sell off the stolen goods.

Some of the establishments targeted by the ring include Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s stores in Flushing, Douglaston and the Queens Center mall, W&H Liquors in Hollis, Target stores in Nanuet and Long Island, a Pathmark supermarket in New Hyde Park, and Waldbaums supermarket in College Point.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

EXCLUSIVE: City’s first lady talks with The Courier about education, mental health


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Calling Queens “a model” of what New York City can be, the city’s first lady Chirlane McCray outlined her efforts to expand education and mental health programs in an exclusive interview with The Courier.

McCray sat down with Courier Publisher Victoria Schneps-Yunis following an open forum in Kew Gardens on mental health issues affecting Queens residents on Monday. She and her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, have made a concerted effort toward focusing on mental health issues and breaking down barriers preventing New Yorkers in need from obtaining access to appropriate care.

Providing residents with proper access to mental health services and other basic needs is essential to a healthy city both in mind and body, yet many New Yorkers have been deprived of them in recent years, according to McCray.

“Having the resources to have a roof over your head, access to food, clean air, arts, physical education, so many other things we consider common sense and basic, yet we take them away,” she said. “When you strip them away from a community, what do you expect to happen?”

McCray stressed the importance of the city not only providing basic services to its residents but also using programs to develop role models for the city’s youth.

“There are so many” mentoring programs “but we need more,” she said. “Through the Mayor’s Fund, we have instituted a youth employment center” powered through donations from local businesses which provide “jobs for young people.”

“But it’s not just jobs,” McCray added. “It’s internships and mentoring young people year-round. We’ve doubled the number of jobs since last year, and we want to do even more in the coming months.”

The city is also expanding its mental health resources through special clinics aimed at helping 62,000 students in need. The universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) also plays a critical role in a child’s mental health and long-term education, she noted.

“One of the reasons why pre-K is so important is to reach the children early,” McCray said. “We want children to be assessed, evaluated early because if they have challenges in the classroom, they’re not going to get the kind of education they need.”

The first lady also noted that the NYPD is receiving additional resources not just to tackle crime, but also to address the mental health needs of crime victims.

“We’ve actually put money into making sure that in every precinct, there will be someone trained in” handling domestic violence cases “and working with victims,” McCray said. “We’ve never had that before.”

This effort, she remarked, will help develop “a different kind of relationship” between the NYPD and the communities it serves.

The full interview can be viewed below.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Detectives collar suspect in Ridgewood rape attempt


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police charged a Brooklyn man on Tuesday with the attempted rape of a woman whom he followed into a Ridgewood apartment building last week.

Larry Williams, 24, of Bedford-Stuyvesant is accused of trying to sexually assault a 28-year-old woman on the 1900 block of Palmetto Street at about 9:15 a.m. on June 25. Reportedly, he was not known to the victim.

According to authorities, Williams followed the victim into the building, then confronted her as she attempted to enter her apartment. Reportedly, the suspect tried to pull the victim’s pants down.

Police said the victim engaged in a physical struggle with Williams, then managed to enter her apartment and lock the door behind her. Williams reportedly attempted to push the door open, but his efforts failed and he fled the scene.

The incident was reported to the 104th Precinct; the woman was not injured.

Members of the NYPD Queens Special Victims Squad tracked down Williams and arrested him Tuesday following questioning at the 112th Precinct’s Forest Hills stationhouse, where the squad is based. Williams is charged with attempted rape, burglary, sex abuse and forcible touching.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Cop convicted of patronizing a prostitute while on duty in Astoria


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

rosedale police station4

An NYPD officer could face up to a year in jail after he was caught while on duty in Astoria soliciting sex for money from a woman who was actually an undercover detective, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Luis Gutierrez, 39, of Queens, was convicted on Monday by a jury of official misconduct, patronizing a prostitute and conspiracy after being caught in an undercover sting operation in February 2013, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“The defendant was a trusted member of the New York City Police Department. He was supposed to uphold the law, but instead was caught — while on duty — offering money to a woman for sexual favors,” Brown said.

On Feb. 27, 2013, while on duty, Gutierrez allegedly approached a dancer, an undercover cop, at Astoria Boulevard and 8th Street and offered her cash in exchange for sex. According to prosecutors, the following day, Gutierrez offered money over the phone for sex with another undercover detective, who posing as a 16-year-old girl.

Gutierrez’s sentencing is set for September 21.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Cops save choking toddler in Jamaica


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A family was saved from tragedy in Jamaica Sunday when two police officers from the 103rd Precinct rushed to the aid of a choking toddler.

Police Officers Scott Nieri and Gobin Raghunath were reportedly flagged down near 148th Street and Liberty Avenue by a panicked father holding his 18-month-old son, who was not breathing because he had a piece of an apple lodged down his throat.

The two officers then turned the baby face down and began performing the Heimlich maneuver, while requesting EMS to come to their location, police said.

After various efforts to clear the baby’s airway, the officers began performing CPR and after a few minutes of chest compressions the apple was cleared from the child’s throat and he started to cry, according to the NYPD.

The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and later released with no signs of any injuries.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Bank robber strikes twice in Springfield Gardens


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

He lost one, he won one.

A bank robber had mixed results in two bank robbery attempts in Springfield Gardens on Friday afternoon, police said, failing to get cash from one branch but succeeding at another location a short time later.

Reportedly, the first attempted heist occurred at 3:39 p.m. inside the Bank of America located at 216-02 Merrick Blvd.

Police said the perpetrator approached a teller and handed over a demand note. He then fled the scene after the employee refused to comply with the request.

About a half-hour later, authorities said, the same crook walked into the Chase bank located at 231-02 Merrick Blvd. at about 4:10 p.m. and again passed a demand note to the teller.

Reportedly, he also motioned to his waist and threatened to shoot if the teller did not comply with his demand. Police said no weapons were displayed.

Authorities said the employee handed over $1,191 in cash to the bandit, who then fled in an unknown direction.

Both robberies were reported to the 105th Precinct; there were no injuries.

The NYPD describes the suspect as a clean-shaven black male between 30 and 40 years of age, standing 5 foot 9 inches tall who was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and a black baseball hat with the letters “NY” written on the front. Police said he wore sunglasses during the first robbery attempt.

Anyone with information regarding the heist attempts or 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 the code TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops seek man who tried to rape woman in Ridgewood apartment


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated June 26, 1:05 p.m.

Detectives released a video Thursday night of a man wanted for attempting to rape a 28-year-old woman inside an apartment building in Ridgewood earlier that morning.

According to police, the incident occurred at 9:15 a.m. at an undisclosed location on Palmetto Street.

Reportedly, the suspect — described as a black male in his late teens to early 20s, standing 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds — followed the woman into the location, then up to her apartment.

When she attempted to enter her residence, police said, the perpetrator tried to pull her pants down. The victim reportedly was able to fight off the suspect, then got into her apartment and locked him out.

Police said the would-be rapist then tried to push the door open, but was unsuccessful and fled from the location. The woman was not injured.

Anyone with information regarding the incident or 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.

Editor’s note: An earlier version, based on information the NYPD provided Thursday, incorrectly identified the location as Woodside. We regret any confusion which may have resulted.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

NYPD to sign 20-year lease for College Point tow pound


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of George Filippidis

Community Board 7 gave the NYPD its blessing Monday night to sign a 20-year lease on a tow pound previously under a temporary agreement to operate at 31-22 College Point Blvd.

After hearing both sides of the debate, the board voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the tow pound stay, with 29 votes supporting the long-term arrangement and 14 votes against.

The tow pound appeared on the lot in 2013 to the chagrin of College Point residents, who feared that the facility would increase traffic and weaken streets already riddled with potholes and deteriorating roads. The area also hosts a new police training academy which opened in January.

With an average of 40 to 50 cars towed into the facility daily, the tow pound is estimated to generate additional traffic of around 60 cars per day including cars towed and employee vehicles. The location has on-site parking for employees, and can accommodate 157 cars.

Despite area residents’ initial reservations, police say they have not received any complaints in the two years of the tow pound’s operation in College Point.

Owners Jerry and George Filippidis, brothers who are both residents of the area, assured board members that they were trying to consider the good of the neighborhood by choosing the relatively lower traffic tow pound than a big box retailer.

The area is currently zoned for retail use, so no additional approvals would be needed for a large store to occupy the building. According to Jerry Filippidis, a large retail store could generate traffic of more than 50 cars and trucks per hour coming into the site.

“I wanted to be able to look every single one of you in the eye and let you know that we made the right decision,” said Jerry Filippidis, who has lived in the community for 25 years.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Robbers beat up man inside Jamaica basement


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Three men are wanted for allegedly roughing up and robbing a 24-year-old man in the basement of a Jamaica apartment building Wednesday afternoon.

According to authorities, the suspects — described as black males between 20 and 25 years of age — entered the structure at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 172nd Street at 2:45 p.m. on June 17.

Reportedly, the crooks approached the victim in the basement and displayed firearms. Police said the perpetrators then used the weapons to repeatedly strike the victim before taking his keys and fleeing the scene.

Officers from the 103rd Precinct responded to the incident. The victim sustained minor injuries.

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.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Video released of suspect in failed Woodhaven stickup


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps/Inset courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the man caught on video attempting to rob a grocery store in Woodhaven last month.

According to authorities, the crook visited the shop located at 90-11 Jamaica Ave. at 9:30 p.m. on May 24, approached the cashier, displayed a handgun and demanded money.

Upon hearing the demand, the cashier fled into the basement, police said. Seconds later, the gunman exited the store empty-handed.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the incident; there were no injuries.

The NYPD described the perpetrator as a black male believed to be 40 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, who was last observed wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a black baseball cap.

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 are kept confidential.


RECOMMENDED STORIES

Whitestone street dedicated to former resident


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

The Whitestone community had a strong turnout on June 12 for the dedication of a local street in honor of a late veteran known for his volunteer efforts.

The residential street on 145th Place and 17th Avenue will now be known as Robert C. Lohnes Way after Robert Lohnes, a former first class seaman in the United States Navy and retired NYPD detective.

He had lived on the street with his family for over 40 years before dying last year.

During his lifetime, Lohnes received a National Defense Medal for his nine-year stint in the U.S. Navy, and later served 34 years as a detective in the NYPD.

He was also involved in numerous volunteer efforts in the community, including the Whitestone Community Ambulance Service, Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America, in addition to helping out with response efforts during and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Lohnes passed away unexpectedly in late winter 2014 after being stricken with a form of blood cancer.

Councilman Paul Vallone and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein stood with Lohnes’ family and friends to unveil the street’s new name.

“Today, and every day, we remember and thank Bob for his service to our great country, our great city, and northeast Queens, and I am proud to join Bob’s wife and children on this very special day,” said Vallone.

“Whitestone, in many senses, is like a small town in a big city: everybody knows each other,” Braunstein added. “If it wasn’t for people like Robert Lohnes, this community wouldn’t be the special place that it is.”

According to Magaly Lohnes, Robert’s wife of 44 years, neighbors overwhelmingly supported the petition to dedicate the street to her late husband.

“A couple of the people even said they’re going to miss the mayor of 145th Place,” Magaly Lohnes said. “Because Bob was out there, he knew everybody, and everybody knew him.”

There was a solemn bagpipe performance of patriotic songs and members of the nonprofit organization Veterans of Foreign Wars were in attendance to honor their fallen comrade.

Many former members of Lohnes’ Boy Scout troops and their families were also among those paying their respects in the crowd of 50 people.

“We want to pay tribute to a man who dedicated his life to service,” said family friend Pat Connolly, who credits Lohnes with mentoring her two sons in their Eagle Scout troops. “He is sorely missed.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Driver dead in one-car crash outside Rosedale home


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A 39-year-old man is dead after a car crash in front of a residential home on the Queens/Nassau border in Rosedale Sunday morning, according to police.

Reportedly, the accident occurred at 4:55 a.m. in front of a home on Hook Creek Boulevard near Essex Place.

Officers from the 105th Precinct found the driver, Benjamin Louis of 110th Avenue in Queens Village, unconscious and unresponsive with severe trauma about the body. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Detectives with the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad determined that Louis, while behind the wheel of a 2001 Acura sedan traveling southbound on Elmont Road, lost control of the vehicle. The sedan then went onto a grass field, smashed through a fence and then collided with the front steps of the Hook Creek Boulevard residence.

The investigation is ongoing.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Reward offered for help in finding serial Queens bank robber


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the FBI New York office

Federal agents and the NYPD are offering “a significant reward” for the public’s help in finding the man responsible for at least a dozen bank robberies in Queens dating back to last year — including several armed heists.

Authorities said the suspect last struck in Middle Village on Dec. 9, 2014, robbing cash from the Chase bank at 74-04 Eliot Ave. Many of the other robberies occurred in Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Ridgewood.

During each incident, the suspect reportedly passed demand notes to a teller and walked away with various sums of money. In five capers, the perpetrator displayed a handgun in his waistband to bank employees, the FBI said.

Law enforcement agents describe the crook as a black or Hispanic male with a medium to light complexion standing 6 feet tall, and weighing between 200 and 250 pounds. He is usually seen on camera wearing glasses and a baseball cap with the logo of a sports team such as the New York Yankees or New England Patriots. The public should consider the suspect armed and dangerous.

Among the heists in the robbery pattern are the following incidents:

  • June 7, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 77-01 31st Ave. in East Elmhurst;
  • July 22, 2014, attempted robbery of a Santander bank located at 89-01 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights;
  • July 25, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 47-11 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside;
  • Aug. 30, 2014, incident at a Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh located at 75-23 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights;
  • Oct. 4, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 69-55 Grand Ave. in Maspeth; and
  •  Dec. 6, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 60-67 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood.

The FBI-NYPD Violent Crime Task Force is investigating the pattern.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is urged to call the Task Force at 212-384-1000; all calls will be kept confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.

RECOMMENDED STORIES