Tag Archives: Ozone Park

Police searching for suspect in series of Queens rooftop break-ins


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A suspect has been burglarizing multiple Queens businesses over the last two months by breaking in through the roof or air conditioning vent, the NYPD said.

The thefts all took place between Dec. 14 and Feb. 20 in the Woodhaven, JamaicaSouth Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park sections of the borough.

In each of the seven burglaries, the suspect stole cash, ranging from $100 to $5,000. The suspect also swiped lotto tickets and calling cards during some of the thefts.

Police have released a video from the latest incident.

The burglary took place about 11 p.m. Thursday at the Pioneer Supermarket at 90-01 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven, according to the NYPD.

A thousand dollars in cash and approximately $600 worth of phone cards went missing from the supermarket after the suspect broke in through the roof, police said.

Last week cops also released a photo of the suspect, who was allegedly caught burglarizing businesses in South Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5 by cutting a hole in their roofs.

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

Two Queens men charged in rash of burglaries


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Two Queens men have been arrested for a series of burglaries across the borough over the last six months.

Randolph Ardila of Maspeth and Raheim West of Long Island City are both charged with separate, various accounts of burglary, attempted burglary and criminal possession of stolen property, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Ardila, 29, allegedly acted as the lookout for several Glendale and Ozone Park attempted apartment burglaries on Feb. 21. Later, at the time of his arrest, he was allegedly carrying a blue plastic contained filled with change, which had been reported missing from the Ozone Park apartment, Brown said.

In his car, police allegedly found a box containing the cremated ashes of a tenant’s mother, reported missing from a second Ozone Park location, according to the district attorney.

West, 37, was allegedly busted on tape breaking into the Promise Christian Academy Church in Flushing and making off with over $2,000 in cash last September and is additionally accused of stealing $160 from an employee at Flushing’s Asian Community Care Management earlier this month.

The LIC resident is also a suspect in two residential burglaries in Corona and another in College Point throughout February. Pry marks on the College Point residence allegedly match those made by West’s pry bar, Brown said.

When West was arrested, police recovered the pry bar, a screw driver and work gloves from his vehicle.

Ardila faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted and was ordered held on $150,000 bail. West, who faces 28 years, is being held on $200,000 bail. The pair will return to court March 10.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New south Queens police initiative set to combat car break-ins


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

A new police initiative has hit the streets to combat car break-ins, and cops want residents to know if they can spot a loose item in your car, a criminal can as well.

Spot it to Secure it, a program launched last week by the 106th Precinct’s Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, targets areas in which car break-ins were heavily reported.

“It’s a crime opportunity,” said Officer Gary Maher, the program’s coordinator and crime prevention officer. “It’s not like [thieves] went out to rob a specific car, but then they see something valuable.”

Through the initiative, if cops see loose items in parked cars, they track the vehicle’s owner and either visit the person’s home or send them a letter detailing the issue—if they can spot it, you need to secure it.

The program’s team is first combing through Ozone Park, west of 100th Street. Since starting patrols on Jan. 29, cops have discovered about 25 cars with valuables loose, according to Detective Kenny Zorn.

“It’s amazing what people leave in their cars,” Zorn said. “Open purses, credit cards, wallets, GPS, change. No matter where you live, crime is going to happen, and you need to keep your stuff secure.”

Area residents frequently come to the precinct with complaints of car break-ins; some crimes are reported and others are not. Police continue to urge drivers to report all incidents to give them an accurate depiction of where break-ins happen.

Cops additionally see the program as a way to enhance community policing.

“Unfortunately, sometimes we show up for something negative,” Zorn said. “With this we’re getting positive feedback. It’s thinking outside of the box. Simple things can go a long way.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Mother wants deceased EMS son recognized as 9/11 public servant


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Dorie Pearlman sat in her Howard Beach home and combed through binders of records about her son, Richard Pearlman, who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks.

Over a decade after his life was taken, and countless media outlets and some elected officials jumped in, his mother continues to question why her EMS son is not recognized as a public servant after voluntarily running to help when the World Trade Center came down.

“I know my son. If someone needed help, he’d find a way to get down there,” Dorie said. “His life’s mission was to help people.”

Richard, who had a longstanding history with the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps, was photographed bringing people out of the Towers. But one last time, he did not come back out. He was missing for over a week before Dorie “knew he wasn’t coming home.”

Seven months later, Richard’s body was discovered amongst the rubble. He was carried out wrapped in an American flag and awarded the Medal of Valor as an emergency service officer, an honor only given to public service employees, Dorie said.

Since then, despite compensation funds and several awards of recognition, Dorie has continually applied to grant her son a Public Servant title through the Department of Justice (DOJ), and has continually been shot down.

“He got the award, and now you’re denying me the title,” Dorie said. “The same thing you’re denying me, you also awarded me. It’s irrational.”

The title would allow the Pearlmans compensation for losing their son, but Dorie said she persistently applies “for the principle.”

Because Richard was young—18—and only a volunteer, not a city employee, the DOJ said he does not qualify, according to Dorie.

“It was a state of emergency and everybody was called to help. In that moment, they became official public servants,” she said. “I have all the proof they want. I have pictures, I have letters.”

“I don’t know where to go anymore. I’ve applied to everyone in the world,” she said. “People say you get over it, but you never get over it. You learn to deal with it.”

The DOJ did not immediately respond to request for comment.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police seek pair in armed Ozone Park deli robbery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Two  suspects held up an Ozone Park deli with a shotgun last month, taking off with $100, police said.

The robbery occurred about 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 21 at the American Deli Grocery on 135th Avenue at 127th Street, according to the NYPD.

The suspects entered the store, displayed the weapon and demanded money, police said. They then removed the cash from the register and fled in a white late model Buick.

Cops describe the first suspect as a black male in his 30s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded jacket, black jeans and his face was covered with a black mask. The second suspect is a black male 20 to 30 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 180 pounds. He was wearing a a grey hooded jacket, blue jeans and a black hat.

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

Virgin Mary statue beheaded at Ozone Park church


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Katelyn DiSalvo

A Virgin Mary statue was beheaded in Ozone Park and police are investigating it as a hate crime, cops said.

Monday morning the St. Mary Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic church discovered the headless statue outside its doors. It was removed from the property shortly after.

“If this is a hate crime against a church, I believe it’s demeaning and disrespectful toward the religion and the community,” said Alessandro Damico, a member of the St. Mary parish.

Church representatives said police are looking into the incident and have no further comment.

“This is not to be accepted, especially for an icon in our community such as St. Mary’s Gate of Heaven,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The 104th Street church lacks outdoor security cameras, so cops will search the surrounding community for similarly reported incidents, said a police source.

The investigation is ongoing.

A bill to increase the penalty for hate crimes passed the state in 2000. A current bill to once more increase the penalties for criminal activity at places of worship passed the State Senate in June 2013, but did not pass in the State Assembly. It will most likely be reintroduced next legislative session, according to Addabbo.

-With additional reporting by Katelyn DiSalvo

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NYPD, Lion Cage Shredding holds free public document shredding event at Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The NYPD is working to make sure residents begin the New Year on the right and safe foot.

Together with Lion Cage Shredding, located at 120-10 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens and Macerich Properties, owner of Queens Center in Elmhurst, the NYPD’s Crime Prevention Section held a free document shredding public event in front of the mall on Sunday to make sure personal information does not get into the wrong hands.

“We want to help people stop becoming victims of [identity theft],” said Sergeant Raymond Morales, from the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau. “It’s important that [the documents] get destroyed properly. This is a first major step on helping prevent [identity theft].”

During the event, people were able to bring in documents with personal information, dump them into two large garbage bins and watch them be destroyed inside the Lion Cage Shredding truck.

“You have to be proactive in taking steps to protect yourself,” said Sergeant Morales.

Participants were also able to bring in their computer hard drives and watch them be destroyed, as a hole was punctured into the hard drive. People were also able to have their electronic devices registered with the NYPD Operations ID Program and sign up to receive a certificate from Lion Cage confirming the destruction of all personal information from Sunday’s event.

“I just think it’s great to do this for the community,” said Regina Pluchinotta, from Ozone Park, who brought in bags of documents to be shredded and watched as her hard drive was destroyed. “You try to be precautious and safe about it all.”

Elmhurst resident Fabian Alsultany brought in two folding shopping carts filled with documents dating back to 1999 which were taking up room in his house.

“This was a real godsend,” said Alsultany. “This just makes life a lot easier. It’s a great service for the city to offer.”

The NYPD and Lion Cage Shredding will be working together with private companies and property owners in the next 10 months to hold document shredding events throughout the five boroughs. The next stop will be in the Bronx, and later dates and locations are to be determined.

For more information on the document shredding events or any other NYPD events, visit the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau website or text “NYPD” to 22828. To find out more about Lion Cage Shredding, visit its official website or Facebook page.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Teen hijacks car after helping stranger dig it out of snow


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

An act of kindness quickly turned violent Saturday when a Brooklyn teen robbed his peer at gunpoint after first helping his victim dig his car out of the snow, police said.

Genero Placenia, 18, offered to help a 19-year-old male push his buried 2001 Honda Civic out of the snow in Ozone Park about 3:30 p.m., police said.

But once the vehicle was free, Placenia asked for a ride, then allegedly pulled out a 9mm High Point gun and robbed the driver of his iPhone 5, $60 and car, cops said.

Police later found and chased the suspect until he was caught at 115 Logan Street. By then, Placenia had ditched his gun and shed most of his clothes, including his shoes, police said.

The victim’s car was also found abandoned, lodged in snow again, at Logan Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.

The suspect was taken to Jamaica Hospital for treatment, police said. He was charged with robbery, resisting arrest and criminal possession of a weapon and stolen property.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Ozone Park Filipino man lives the American dream


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Ernesto Pamolarco grew up in poverty, with little food and no electricity, sleeping on the seashore of the Philippines. Now, he owns his Ozone Park home and provides for his wife and six children.

Early on, he learned that “life is so hard without education,” and put himself through the education system, eventually becoming an educator himself. Pamolarco, 47, went from a peddler in the Philippines to a special education teacher for the city, as well as chair of the nonprofit, Youth Success Global Foundation (YSGF).

When Pamolarco was 9 years old, he started to dream about leaving his native Leyte. His father was stabbed to death by their neighbor as Pamolarco hid under his home, and he realized he no longer wanted to live an impoverished life.

“I didn’t want to live in that environment,” he said. “I could see ships and airplanes from where we lived, and I thought, ‘One day I’ll be able to ride an airplane.’”

After graduating grammar school, the 13-year-old Pamolarco uprooted his life to the island of Manila. He worked several odd jobs, including selling plastic wrappers and washing dishes.

“I had my own way of surviving,” he said.

After a few years, Pamolarco returned to Leyte to attend high school, and eventually college where he earned a degree in English. He went on to teach English for the next 15 years in the Philippines.

“It was very interesting for me. I never dreamed of becoming a teacher,” he said. “In fact, I never dreamt of becoming a college graduate or high school graduate.”

In 2005, Pamolarco got the opportunity to come to the United States on visa. He once again took on odd jobs and put himself through the Touro College Graduate School of Education.

“I just follow the flow of life,” he said. “I never thought I would come to this point in my life. I really thought I would be there [in the Philippines] for the rest of my life.”

Pamolarco is the only of his six other siblings to “make it,” he said, and many are home in the destruction left by Typhoon Haiyan. He is organizing relief efforts through YSGF.

In particular, Pamolarco wants to help the students and hopes to donate school supplies.

He graduated from Touro College in May 2010, and his wife and children joined him stateside. He soon later landed in the teaching position he is in today.

“I still think there’s still more to achieve and accomplish,” he said. “The hardships I went through were just temporary. I work really hard, that’s the secret.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops looking for suspect who tried to rape Ozone Park woman at knifepoint


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man tried to rape a woman at knifepoint inside her Ozone Park apartment Friday morning, then cut his victim as she stopped his attack, police said.

The suspect gained entry inside the 27-year-old victim’s home around 10 a.m., placed a pocket knife to her neck and told the woman to take her clothes off, according to police. The victim complied and undressed, but then, in a struggle with the suspect, was able to wrestle away his knife.

He then pulled out a second pocketknife and cut the victim on her left wrist and right ring finger, police said. The suspect was able to take back the first pocket knife before fleeing the apartment in an unknown direction.

Police describe the suspect as a black man in his early 20′s, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 pounds, with a dark complexion. He was wearing a black hoodie with white letters and blue long johns.

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

 

South Queens officer honored for arresting suspect in cop beating


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Just shy of one month after an off-duty cop was beaten nearly to death, Officer Vincent Siraco of the 106th Precinct was honored for nabbing his fellow cop’s attacker.

Sergeant Mohammed Dean took a brutal beating in Ozone Park on Nov. 17 that left him unconscious. As police pulled up to the scene on Liberty Avenue around 4:40 a.m., the perpetrator fled.

Siraco and his sergeant chased the beater down 118th Avenue and apprehended him “with no incident, no injuries to any police officers,” said John Ganley, the precinct’s executive officer.

Ganley called the arrest a “right place, right time” situation, and that at the time, they did not know it was a cop, they knew “it’s an individual getting beaten down into the street.”

Siraco and the precinct’s Midnight Conditions Team, which takes nighttime patrols, were in the area after discovering a robbery pattern around Liberty Avenue’s bars and nightclubs.

“The community is very fortunate to have an individual like this on patrol, especially at night,” Ganley said.

Siraco started at the 106th Precinct in June and has been with the NYPD for two and a half years. Ganley said he has an “impressive record for a short time on the job,” including 25 felony arrests.

“In a very short time, he has established himself as an integral part of our patrol force,” he said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES:

City Council passes Ozone Park rezoning


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the office of Councilmember Eric Ulrich

The City Council passed a change in Ozone Park’s zoning map Tuesday to reflect the neighborhood’s building patterns.

Now, the zoning mandates will reinforce the area’s one- and-two-family residential homes and direct new residential and mixed-use developments to more commercial locations.

“The new zoning enacted into law today will protect Ozone Park from overdevelopment and help create a more livable neighborhood,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich, who was born and raised in Ozone Park.

“It will also spur new modest development, especially in the commercial districts, thereby creating jobs and increasing property values,” he continued.

The rezoning is bounded by Rockaway Boulevard, Atlantic Avenue and 101st Avenue to the north; the Van Wyck Expressway and Lefferts Boulevard to the east; the Belt Parkway to the south; and the Brooklyn borough line to the west.

This marks the second largest rezoning in Queens, changing the map for roughly 530 blocks in Ozone Park. The vote was prompted by concerns from Community Boards 9 and 10 as well as local civic organizations and elected officials.

“Out of character structures and overdevelopment has become far too common in our communities,” said Councilmember Ruben Wills. “That is why it was important that we undertook these aggressive measures to protect the integrity of our neighborhoods.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES:

Wife, band remember musician killed in Howard Beach car crash


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo Facebook

Jim Sinisi’s wife said the world is “a dimmer place” now that her husband is not in it.

“He was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of person,” said Susan Sinisi of her husband, a musician in the band Wordy Bums.

Only two weeks shy of his 38th birthday, Jim was driving in Howard Beach on Saturday, November 30, just before 1 a.m., when James Celauro, 23, of Ozone Park, crashed into him on 159th Avenue and 98th Street.

Celauro, who cops say had been drinking, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, police said.

Susan had gone to sleep for the night in their Glendale home and was awakened at 3:05 a.m. by a phone call from a nurse at Jamaica Hospital.

“They told me Jimmy had been in a fairly significant car crash,” she said. “It was like my temperature dropped, my insides turned toxic and I couldn’t stop shaking.”

Susan and her mother-in-law went to the hospital, holding hands all the way.

“And I’m praying. I don’t go to church too much, but I’m praying to God that Jimmy is just physically broken,” she said. “I would wait on him hand and foot and take care of him until he was mended. I felt like so much of who is he is, is his intellect and his soul and how he writes.”

Photo courtesy of Susan Sinisi

Jim was with friends in Lindenwood before the crash, his wife said.

“He was the essence of Queens,” said Rjae Izm, Wordy Bums drummer.

Susan said her husband, a native of Woodhaven, was a “crazy, poetic, fiery, beautiful artist.”

“He was just never, ever dull,” she said. “Always fun to be with, super creative and super into creating. He was brilliant.”

Now, Wordy Bums, for which Susan sings back-up, wants to take on the projects that their fallen bandmate left unfinished.

“Jim was the nucleus, the catalyst, the engine. The Wordy Bums can never be the same without such an integral part of this machine,” the band said in a Facebook post. “We are truly blessed to have shared the stage with him and witness true talent.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Green cabs could be coming to south Queens


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of TLC

Green cabs could now be driving down south in the borough.

A representative from the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) will be making a stop at the next Community Board (CB) 10 meeting on Thursday, December 5 to explain the new Boro Taxi procedures, rules, and the program’s presence in the region moving forward.

Betty Braton, CB 10 chair, said the outer-borough cabs coming to the community could either be a benefit or a disadvantage depending on “how it rolls out.”

“I would believe on the positive side, it provides a safer way in the outer boroughs for people to do street hails,” she said. “On the downside, we already have an existing problem with livery cabs parking. I would think it would become problematic if the green cabs decide to take up parking spaces or just cruise constantly in the transit hubs.”

Boro Taxis, similar to livery cabs, are affiliated with a base and may take dispatch, flat-fare calls. However, similar to city yellow cabs, they can also make metered, hailed pick-ups.

Currently licensed livery bases apply for an opportunity to affiliate the street-hail liveries, which is then processed and approved by the TLC. Two sites in South Ozone Park already got the green light for green cabs, according to the TLC.

Resident Jesus Garay made a request on the Boro Taxis’ website for a base at the cross section of Woodhaven Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard, so cabs could serve Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES