Tag Archives: NYPD

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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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Suspect wanted for cellphone store robberies in Jamaica, Maspeth


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo/Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a 30-year-old man wanted in connection to two robberies of Queens cellphone shops in the last two months.

On May 26 at about 6:25 p.m., the suspect — armed with a black firearm — entered the Metro PCS store located at 126-14 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica and demanded property, police said. He then took $600 and a victim’s cellphone before fleeing the site. There were no reported injuries.

On June 2 at about 6:16 p.m., the same suspect entered a Metro PCS at 66-10 Grand Ave. in Maspeth armed with a black firearm and demanded money, according to authorities. A female victim handed the man $186 and a wristlet. The suspect then fled the location and there were no reported injuries.

The suspect is described as a black man, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 1 inch tall, and 160 to 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black mask, gray Arizona Diamondbacks jacket with a logo on the breast area and an image of a snack on the sleeves.

Police have released a surveillance video from the first incident and photos from the second.


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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Flushing’s Pomonok Houses gets new security cameras


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Installation is complete on a new security system of 30 exterior cameras installed across eight buildings in the Pomonok Housing Development in Flushing.

The security system will be used by local law enforcement, and was financed with capital funding allocated by the offices of Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

According to Stavisky, officials have worked for seven years to secure the funding and installation of the cameras for Pomonok Houses. Nearly $6 million in additional funding is required to outfit the entire complex with security cameras, as well as install cameras in the interiors of the building and elevators.

“Today is a major victory for the residents of Pomonok, who are now getting the high-tech security system they deserve,” said Stavisky, who added that she plans to continue to work with the Pomonok Houses, NYC Housing Authority and the NYPD for the future expansion of the security system.

A NYCHA official and a technology specialist explain how footage from the outdoor cameras will be stored and used by law enforcement to Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Council Member Rory Lancman, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and Pomonok Residents Association President Monica Corbett. (Photo courtesy of the office of Toby Ann Stavisky)

A NYCHA official and a technology specialist explain how footage from the outdoor cameras will be stored and used by law enforcement to Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Council member Rory Lancman, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and Pomonok Residents Association President Monica Corbett. (Photo courtesy of the office of Toby Ann Stavisky)

Simanowitz and Councilman Rory Lancman also pledged their commitment to outfit every building with the increased security measure.

“Pomonok has long been considered the jewel of public housing in New York City and we need to keep it that way,” Simanowitz said. “With the installation of these security cameras, residents will get an extra layer of protection and feel a greater sense of safety.”

An estimated 4,200 people reside at the Pomonok Houses complex, which is comprised of 35 buildings standing on nearly 52 acres in Flushing in an area bordered by 65th and 71st avenues and Parsons and Kissena boulevards.

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111th Precinct honors the year’s top cops in Bayside


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

The 111th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council honored its hardest working officers during their annual award ceremony Tuesday night at the Best Western of Northern Boulevard in Bayside.

“I think we have one of the highest calibers of officers in the City of New York, with one of the lowest crime precincts,” said Jack Fried, president of the 111th Precinct Council, who added that cops in the area go far beyond the basic requirements of their job. “Every officer here puts himself out there.”

Sgt. Kenneth Ho was named as the 2015 Supervisor of the Year, Det. Erika Madden was recognized as Detective of the Year, and P.O. Mario Cappuccia was honored as Police Officer of the Year.

After receiving recognition for the high caliber of his work as a police supervisor, Sgt. Ho reflected on his personal growth during his decade-long career, saying that the emotional weight of being a police officer has taught him to be more careful with his own decisions.

“Being a police officer, I think, is a great responsibility,” said Ho. “For the people that we serve every day and also but for the people that we work with.”

Cappuccia said he still loves his work after three years on the job.

“We try to make a difference in the community, making sure nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed, people aren’t hurting themselves as well,” said Cappuccia, a first-generation police officer who works the midnight shift.

Awards were given to civilian participants in the 111th Precinct as well. Diana Merchan was honored as Civilian of the Year, along with Explorer of the Year Peter Kim and Auxiliary Officer of the Year Leon Pallas.

As the only honoree still attending classes in high school, Explorer of the Year Peter Kim looked ahead to a future in public safety as a state trooper. The Bayside High School sophomore said that helping people makes him feel great and is why he knew law enforcement was the perfect career for him.

“One of the main reasons is to protect the entire community,” Kim said. “Even though that does sound corny, that is what I’m going forward to do.”

Pallas said that he was motivated to be a part of the 111th Precinct after seeing Hurricane Sandy have a devastating effect on some in the community in 2012. The NYPD Explorer program gives youths an opportunity to volunteer and learn more about pursuing a law enforcement career.

“I was lucky,” Pallas said. “I didn’t have any damage, I didn’t have anything [wrong], so I thought that since I have capabilities, I want to be able to help people.”

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Cops seek Elmhurst shooter who injured two during gunplay


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police ask for the public’s help in finding a gunman who injured two people after opening fire on an Elmhurst street last weekend.

Authorities said the incident occurred at 12:10 a.m. on May 24, when the suspect—described as a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with white letters on the front, white jeans and black and white sneakers—fired a shot in front of a location on 43rd Avenue near Corona Avenue.

Reportedly, both victims—a 25-year-old male and a 17-year-old female—sustained gunshot wounds to their lower left legs. Police noted that the male victim was hit by a fragmented bullet.

Officers from the 110th Precinct and EMS units responded to the scene. Paramedics brought the man and woman to Elmhurst Hospital and Forest Hills Hospital, respectively; both were treated and later released.

Police released on Friday night security camera footage of the suspect fleeing the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then the code TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.

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