BY ANGELA MATUA
Crime dropped across the 104th Precinct last month, but the precinct’s commander warned during Tuesday’s 104th Precinct Community Council meeting in Ridgewood about a “significant uptick” in identity theft and tire and rim thefts.
Capt. Mark Wachter told guests at the Peter Cardella Senior Citizens Center that major crimes fell by 8 percent in the last 28 days, but some residents reported scams including mail listing credit card charges that they did not make.
According to Wachter, the percentage of stolen cars is down. Burglaries are down 9 percent for the month and 6 percent for the year. Felony assaults are down 6 percent and robberies are down almost 10 percent.
There has also been an uptick in Glendale of tire and rim heists, specifically of 2014 Toyotas. Wachter suggested that residents put wheel locks on their cars. P.O. Eddie Collado of the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit has been knocking on doors to warn residents of the recent thefts.
Wachter also mentioned that the anti-crime unit took a gun off the street in Ridgewood a few hours before the meeting.
The new commander, who took the helm in March for now-Deputy Inspector Christopher Manson, said he is settling into the job and would like to hear feedback from the community about any problems they would like the precinct to alleviate.
“I enjoy being here,” Wachter said. “It’s a great place to work. It’s going to take me time to meet and greet everybody but it’s something I want to do.”
At the end of the night, Wachter awarded four officers with Cop of the Month honors.
Officers David Babayev, Edwin Diaz, Amaruy Gomez and Brian Abbondandelo responded to a home invasion on March 16.
At 8:30 a.m. that day, a New Hampshire man, who was allegedly under the influence of drugs, shot rounds of gunfire in Maspeth. The suspect and another man pulled out of the Long Island Expressway and onto 56th Avenue and 61st Street. He then exited his car and shot a round into the street.
The suspect then forced himself into a woman’s home as she opened the door to leave her house. The officers, who entered the two-family walk-up to remove the suspect, were met with one round of gunfire.
Officers Babayev, Diaz, Gomez and Abbondandelo were able to coax the suspect out without firing shots. The homeowner, who was still in the house during this altercation, was uninjured.
Wachter commended them for the “tremendous amount of restraint” they showed when capturing the suspect.
“This easily could’ve turned into a tragedy for us, for the person involved, for the innocent parties inside the house,” Wachter said. “We’re honoring these officers for their professionalism, their restraint that they showed, their common sense [and] their bravery.”
The captain presented Babayev, Diaz and Abbondandelo with plaques donated by the Times Newsweekly; Gomez was not present to receive his award.