Tag Archives: Raymond Kelly

City officials announce new pay-by-phone parking program


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File Photo

City residents can soon pay for parking on-the-go, officials said Thursday.

Motorists will be able to pay for parking via cell phone and also online at all 14,000 city parking meters, taking away the need to place paper receipts on dashboards.

The Department of Transportation (DOT), NYPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the new program Dec. 26.

Visitors of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx are the first to trash the receipts. The rest of the city will be on board by early 2015.

“By eliminating the need for coins, credit cards or receipts, pay-by-phone parking has already been a game-changer for drivers in the Bronx,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, DOT Commissioner. “Expanding the system across the borough will now help more New Yorkers dial in for faster, more convenient parking.”

Drivers will be able to pay by downloading a smartphone app or calling a toll-free number and identifying their location by entering the number displayed on muni-meters.

Payment information will be instantly accessible to NYPD traffic enforcement agents.

“Technology is critical to making daily interactions with government simpler and easier,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “This innovative program will allow motorists to remotely pay from their mobile devices, and it’s another way we are bringing parking into the 21st century.”

The DOT has additionally tested sensors embedded in parking lanes to deliver information on available parking spaces along Arthur Avenue and is looking to expand that system citywide as well.

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Illegal gambling operation arrests lead to weapon, drug bust


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens district attorney's office

Individuals busted in an illegal gambling operation were also stashing weapons, drugs and over $120,000 in cash.

In the wake of charging six people with unlawfully running a gambling operation, detectives recovered six guns, including two assault rifles, hundreds of narcotics pills, gambling records and the cash, said District Attorney Richard Brown.

“An investigation that started with gambling has now led to the recovery of a deadly and dangerous combination of guns and drugs,” Brown said.

In February, the NYPD’s Queens Narcotic Division began an investigation of an illegal gambling operation being run out of a central wire room in Brooklyn.

The wire room allegedly maintained a number of fax machines that received betting slips from over 30 betting parlors throughout Queens, Brooklyn and Nassau County.

Saul Montalvo, 44, of Ozone Park and his partner Juan Arias, 41, of the Bronx are accused with opening and running the operation. Montalvo’s sister, Veronica, also allegedly head the gambling joint. A second wire room was discovered in Woodhaven.

Montalvo and his wife Beatriz Velez, 33, were charged with various counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a firearm, stolen property, promoting gambling and possession of gambling records. Montalvo and his son, Daniel, were charged additionally in a gambling case, and Daniel was arrested and charged with various counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

The three each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the weapons charges, according to officials.

During a search of Montalvo’s Lafayette Street home, police recovered over 200 prescription pills, loaded pistols and thousands of dollars in cash from a safe inside the master bedroom’s closet. Police also found two loaded assault rifles as well as three other magazines all loaded with over 10 rounds of ammunition, all found in the home’s laundry area.

“The nexus between illegal drugs and violence is never far,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

 

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NYPD issues social media rules for officers


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via Facebook

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is patrolling the streets of the World Wide Web.

According to the New York Daily News, the commissioner released a list of what the city’s 35,000 officers can and cannot put up on their personal social media sites.

A three-page NYPD memo, obtained by The News, states “Members of the service should be aware that activities on personal social media sites may be used against them to undermine their credibility as members of the department.”

The order also explicitly bans the creation of any online site by precincts or units, as well warning officers “not to disclose or allude to their status as members of the department.”

Police officers will also be prohibited from posting photos of themselves in uniform, unless at an official ceremony, the News reported.

The memo states that any officers caught violating the policy will face disciplinary action, including termination.

Those working in the NYPD have mixed reactions to the memo.

Edward Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, supports the order telling The News that, “[The NYPD] have to be held to a higher standard.”

Robert Gonzelez, a police training expert at John Jay College, told The News he disagreed with the memo, calling it an example of “unauthorized censorship,” and saying that, “members of the NYPD are proud public officials and should be authorized to express that right on social media sites without retribution.”

The NYPD is no stranger to controversy when it comes to social media. Seventeen cops were disciplined last year after they were caught posting offensive comments on a Facebook page entitled “No More West Indian Day Detail.” More than 150 comments were posted calling the participants of the annual parade “savages” and “animals.”

The memo comes off the heels of two FDNY employees, including Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano’s son, were caught posting racist tweets. The FDNY is in the process of reviewing its social media guidelines following the controversy.

 

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Politicians should be proactive


| letters@queenscourier.com

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly spoke out the other day about how local politicians are not doing all they can concerning the violence in their local communities.

Kelly says they are not actively engaging community leaders to be proactive to stem the violence.

I say Kudos to Kelly for saying what had to be said.

The police in my view can’t do it alone. It takes a whole community to say enough is enough. A public outcry is needed to end the violence.

As for me, I have a voice and I intend to use it, quite unlike some of our political leaders who pretend they care and for the sake of political expediency find it easier to bash the NYPD rather than speak out against violence in our communities.

Our police and the community need to form a partnership and to attack the problem or else more men, women and children will surely die for no reason.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks Village

 

Pols, police push for less violence; Say gun buybacks are pivotal


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

The shells are gone, but the discussion over whose responsibility it is to keep the streets safe has broken out into a different sort of fire fight.

After a wave of citywide violence that included several deaths in Queens, elected officials and the NYPD have each said the other side has to do more to keep the city safe.

For example, according to Councilmember James Sanders, there were no gun buyback programs in Queens over the course of the last three years.

Sanders, who represents the area where three men were killed and another critically injured in an AK-47 shooting, noted that all the other boroughs have had successful gun buybacks.

Adding to the fervor were comments by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly last week, when he said there had been a relatively silent response by elected officials in regards to the shooting.

State Senator Shirley Huntley said she wasn’t sure what the commissioner wanted from elected officials, adding she had a clear line of communication with the 113th Precinct and officers were keeping her well informed.

Sanders said that District Attorney Richard A. Brown needs to sponsor more gun buyback programs, as the most recent was in 2009, which Sanders helped organize.

In the six hours the drive lasted, Sanders said, more than 900 guns were taken off the streets.

“That [the shooting] took place on a residential street, directly in front of a public school, only serves to drive home the dangers that have crept into our community,” he said. “We will not tolerate it here, and we will move heaven and earth to ensure our safety and the safety of our children.”

Brown, in a statement, said getting weapons off the street was a key priority for the DA’s office — gun buybacks were just some of the ways to achieve this.

“We have used gun buy backs in the past and we will use them again when we deem them appropriate,” Brown said. “We are in constant dialogue with the NYPD about where and when to have one. I would remind individuals that they can currently turn in guns at their local police precinct and receive $100 – no questions asked.”

The NYPD does host buyback programs, which, according to police, have brought in more than 7,700 weapons since the venture’s inception. In a recent event at St. Benedict’s Church in Jamaica, police said more than 50 guns were taken off the street, including 19 semi-automatic handguns.

But officials say their next target needs to be reducing the use of automatic weapons. One suggestion, Sanders said, was that the federal government re-enact the Brady Bill, which banned the sale of automatic weapons nationwide.

Councilmember Leroy Comrie said that, to curb the violence, a more holistic approach to decreasing crime, including community engagement and getting more people jobs, must be taken.

“[We] need to get more jobs so there are fewer people walking around frustrated,” he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the issue of violence on Sunday, July 15 at The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica, where he defended stop-and-frisk and called for a community effort to decrease crime citywide.

“And that’s why – in addition to everything else we are doing – police officers stop and question those who are suspected of criminal activity – and frisk those who are suspected of carrying a weapon,” he said. “Those stops have recovered thousands of guns over the past decade, and tens of thousands of knives.”

9 year old allegedly stabbed by mother


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A nine-year-old girl remains in stable but guarded condition after she was allegedly stabbed by her own mother.

The incident happened on Tuesday, May 29 in a Springfield Gardens home where the pair, from Suffolk County, had been visiting.

“We’re still trying to sort out the facts, the reason why this happened,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly reportedly said at a press conference.

The girl was stabbed in the head and back. Reportedly, a man intervened to stop the attack. The woman, 44, was arrested on the scene and cops reportedly recovered a knife.

Drug bust nets cash, guns, lands 45 in jail


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

A large-scale bust landed 45 people – alleged members of two drug organizations operating in southeast Queens – in jail on drug, weapons and other charges.

The two organizations were allegedly being run by a set of the Bloods street gang known as the “South Side Bloods” and by James “Wall” Corley, an original member of the Queens Supreme Team, a violent narcotics gang that flourished during the height of New York City’s crack epidemic in the 1980s.

It is alleged that the two gangs grossed more than $15,000 per week by distributing narcotics to numerous street dealers who, in turn, sold the drugs to customers. In total, 45 people have been arrested, including 19 customers.

“This investigation resulted in dozens of arrests, including that of James ‘Wall’ Corley, one of the principal suppliers of cocaine throughout Queens South,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “Corley began his drug career as an associate of ‘the supreme team’ during the crack epidemic of the 1980s, and associated with the felons who sanctioned the execution of New York City Police Officer Edward Byrne in 1988. While Corley was not charged in the murder of Eddie Byrne, generations of police officers will take no small satisfaction in the fact that an associate of his killers has been brought to justice.”

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that, since February 2011, the NYPD’s Queens Gang Squad and his Narcotics Investigations Bureau have been watching two separate organizations allegedly supplying narcotics in southeast Queens.

As a result of traditional investigative means such as physical surveillance and search warrants, coupled with court-authorized electronic surveillance, authorities allegedly developed information that the first group, the Corley Crew, allegedly led by James Corley, supplied customers in the South Jamaica Houses, the Baisley Houses, Rochdale Village and other areas in Jamaica, while the second group, the South Side Bloods, supplied customers in Baisley Gardens and other parts.

In addition to the arrests, officers executed 14 court-authorized search warrants and allegedly seized approximately one-and-one-half kilograms of cocaine, over 50 decks of heroin, a quantity of marijuana, approximately $70,000 in alleged narcotic proceeds, numerous cell phones, four handguns and a 9mm Intratec submachine gun.

The defendants are variously charged criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of marijuana.

Among those arrested was Corley, who was charged on May 10 with three narcotics sales and other related charges. In executing a search warrant at Corley’s residence in Rochdale Village, police allegedly recovered a quantity of cocaine, 10 vials of Lidocaine (commonly added to cocaine), 45 forged $5 bills and various narcotics paraphernalia.

[UPDATE] Suspect charged with hate crime in fire bomb attacks


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Pearl Gabel

The man picked up by police in connection with a string of five fire bombings, four in Queens and one on Long Island, confessed to authorities and has been charged with a hate crime.

Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, was tracked through a stolen car eyewitnesses saw at the scene of at least two of the attacks. Authorities believe Lengend stole the car, a late-model Buick, from a rental lot at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He was arrested on Tuesday, January 3 and charged with one count of arson as a hate crime, four counts of arson and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

According to police, hours before he was charged, Lengend implicated himself in each of the five attacks, stating that he had personal grievances with each of his targets.

Authorities believe Lengend was kicked out of a convenience store on December 27 for trying to steal a glass Starbucks Frappuccino bottle and milk. The owner of the convenience store said that as Lengend was leaving the store, he threatened retaliation.

That deli was later firebombed by a homemade Molotov cocktail, along with four other targets. Four of the five firebombs thrown at the various locations were made from glass Starbucks bottles, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The fifth likely was made from a beer bottle.

Before the suspect’s confession, Kelly, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Queens elected officials, gathered at one of the targets, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica, to condemn the attacks.

According to police, the incidents occurred between 8 and 10:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 1. No injuries were reported and damage to the mosque was minimal. On Monday, January 2, police released a sketch of the suspect and video showing the man hurling a flaming bottle at a home on 170th Street that doubles as a Hindu place of worship.

The other two targets were private homes, with one house sustaining heavy fire damage in the living room, though no injuries were reported.
After meeting with representatives of the mosque and elected officials, Bloomberg said that the city will not tolerate violence, whether it was a senseless act or a more targeted hate crime.

“In either case, one attack is too many,” he said. “We all know that we are in this together and discrimination against one is discrimination against many.”

Borough President Helen Marshall called it a “sad day” and said that she was extremely upset by the thought of attacks like these happening in a borough as diverse as Queens.

“This man must be punished by the fullest extent of the law,” she said. “To throw bombs without knowing who is inside – it’s just wrong, and it’s not Queens.”

Arrest made in attempted shooting of officers


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.

“Our officers miraculously escaped injury when their assailant fired at extremely close range, narrowly missing them,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Olmeda’s arrest was bittersweet in that it came this morning as the family of Police Officer Peter Figoski prepared for his funeral.”

On Friday, December 2 at 3:55 p.m., two 115th precinct uniformed officers were patrolling on foot in the vicinity of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights when they were alerted by a passerby of a male acting suspiciously at the corner of 37th Road and 76th Street.

The officers walked to the location and observed the male wearing a  black trench coat with a fake beard, a hat and dark glasses.

When the officers approached the individual, they asked him for identification at which time the male produced a revolver and fired twice at the officers, before fleeing southbound on 77th Street.

The officers pursued the man, but they were unable to apprehend him.  The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the foot pursuit. No injuries were sustained by either officer.

NYPD detectives were able to link DNA found on the suspects glasses recovered at the crime scene to Olmeda. Police also identified a 2001 Blue Chevy Venture van registered to Antonio Olmeda.  A license plate check of the vehicle revealed a summons was  issued to Olmeda’s Chevy Venture this past August in the 25th Precinct.

Earlier this morning Inspector Stephen Hughes, the Commanding Officer of the NYPD Warrant Section, was canvassing in the 25 Precinct near the location of where a summons was issued to Olmeda’s vehicle in August.

At 4 a.m. today, Inspector Hughes observed a van located in front of 323 East 116th Street matching the plates and description of Olmeda’s van.

An NYPD apprehension team established surveillance near the van and at approximately 8 a.m. observed Olmeda walking up and down 116th Street.  The apprehension team waited until Olmeda attempted to enter the vehicle. At that point NYPD detectives grabbed Olmeda and took him into custody.

Olmeda had on his person a gun belt with a loaded, 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and two magazines each containing seven rounds.

A second gun, a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver, with three expended shell casings in its cylinder, was found in a bag on the back seat of the vehicle.

ESU and the Bomb Squad were summoned to the scene after a suspicious package with wires protruding was observed. The Bomb Squad determined that the wires were attached to a police light package and siren under the vehicle’s dashboard.

A counterfeit NYPD parking plaque was also found in the van, along with a plastic bin filled with approximately two dozen bottles of what appeared to be cleaning chemicals.

Olmeda was taken into Federal custody in 2002 after allegedly carrying bomb-making materials and asking about security at Fort Bragg.

After Olmeda’s arrest in the Bronx in 1994 for patronizing a prostitute, a search of his vehicle then uncovered 25 explosive devices, ammunition, and an Uzi submachine gun.

Charges in the December 2, 2011 shooting are pending.

21 arrested in Queens during stolen iPhone/iPad undercover sting


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Police arrested 141 individuals – 21 in Queens – purchasing what they believed was stolen electronics during an undercover operation throughout the city.

Undercover officers targeted locations that were suspected of receiving stolen merchandise in the past and offered Apple iPhone 4s and iPad 2s that the merchants believed to be stolen for vast discounts, according to police.

“This was a two-prong approach to apprehend both thieves and receivers of stolen property,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said. “Suspects at both ends of the equation are learning the hard way that ‘victims’ and ‘sellers’ may in fact be undercover police officers.”

Convenience stores, newsstands, delis, barber shops and other commercial establishments were targeted in the sting.

In Queens arrests were made at the following locations: 

101ST PRECINCT (2 arrests)

  •  A Line Deli Inc (21-15 Mott Avenue) – 1 arrest
  •  Genesis Deli (25-11 Far Rockaway Blvd) – 1 arrest

106TH PRECINCT (2 arrests)

  •  TMJ Grocery (104-05 Liberty Avenue) – 1 arrest
  •  Liberty Avenue Deli (105-31 Liberty Avenue) – 1 arrest

108TH PRECINCT (3 arrests)

  •  Juan Grocery (64-21 Broadway) – 1 arrest
  •  El Rey Del Taco (49-06 43 Avenue) – 1 arrest
  •  Scorpion Bar (69-08 Roosevelt Avenue) – 1 arrest

109TH PRECINCT (2 arrests)

  •  Kingnet Technology Inc. (37-02 Main Street) – 1 arrest
  •  Main Street Computer Shop (41-46 Main Street) – 1 arrest

110TH PRECINCT (7 arrests)

  •  40-36 75 Street – 1 arrest
  •  81-14 Roosevelt Avenue – 3 arrests
  •  97-09 Roosevelt Avenue – 1 arrest
  •  84-26 Roosevelt Avenue – 1 arrest
  •  80-06 Roosevelt Avenue – 1 arrest

114TH PRECINCT (1 arrest, 0 prior incidents)

  •  Beauty & Nail Salon (29-25 23 Avenue) – 1 arrest

115TH PRECINCT (4 arrests

  •  Dancar (93-04B 37 Avenue) – 1 arrest
  •  ABC Wireless NY Inc (37-65A 74 Street) – 1 arrest
  •  Envios a Equador (102-05 Roosevelt Avenue) – 1 arrest
  •  Livery Cab (f/o 103-17 Roosevelt Avenue) – 1 arrest

Fiancee of Sean Bell urges NYPD Chief Ray Kelly to fire officers in beau’s shooting death


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Fiancee of Sean Bell urges NYPD Chief Ray Kelly to fire officers in beau’s shooting death

Sean Bell’s fiancée Thursday urged the city’s top cop to sack all five officers who fired in the shooting frenzy that killed her beau on their wedding day in 2006. Nicole Paultre-Bell made the demand of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly after an NYPD trials commissioner recommended Tuesday that one of the cops, Detective Gescard Isnora, be booted from the force for violating department protocol while undercover and firing the first shot in the 50-shot barrage. Read More: Daily News

Mayor Michael Bloomberg breaks ground on Willets Point redevelopment 

Mayor Bloomberg broke ground Thursday on a controversial redevelopment that he vowed will transform gritty Willets Point into “a major engine for economic growth.” Bloomberg unearthed dirt with a slew of elected officials just steps from the mix of auto body shops and junkyards that abuts Citi Field. Read More: Daily News

Enter The Courier’s Giveaway of the Day Contest

The holidays are in full swing and in keeping with the spirit of the season of giving The Queens Courier is handing out free prizes daily. Today, four tickets to the North Shore Towers Cinema will be raffled off.  All you need to enter is an email address and your zip code. Click here to enter the contest. Check back daily as new prizes will be offered each day.  Yesterday, Robert Vasquez took home two tickets to the St. John’s Red Storm. Via Queens Courier

21 charged in scheme to defraud NY car dealerships

Members of a New York City auto crime ring busted this week bribed people into applying for expensive automobile loans for Cadillacs, Porsches and other luxury cars, then defaulted on millions of dollars and sold the cars on the black market. One of the 50 cars wrongly procured, a Porsche, was used to dump the body of one of two victims shot in 2009 inside the Long Island condo belonging to pro football player Jonathan Vilma, authorities said. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Disgraced former New York Controller Alan Hevesi will keep rotting in prison as parole board turns him down

 

Disgraced former state Controller Alan Hevesi was denied his first attempt at parole Thursday and will spend at least another year behind bars, the Daily News has learned. The once powerful Queens Democrat is serving a one-to-four year sentence at medium-security Mid-Hudson Correctional Facility in Oneida County for his role in a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal during his tenure as state controller. Read More: Daily News

Alexander’s Secures $275M Refinancing of Rego Park II in Queens

 

Alexander’s, Inc. has completed a $275 million refinancing of its 610,000 square foot Rego Park II shopping center located in Queens. The seven-year loan bears interest at LIBOR plus 1.85 percent and amortizes based on a 30-year schedule. The proceeds of the new loan were used to repay the existing loan on the property. Alexander’s, Inc. is a real estate investment trust that has seven properties in the greater New York City metropolitan area. Read More: CityBizList

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ridgewood park honors Anthony Venditti


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DSC_0015w

At Detective Anthony J. Venditti Memorial Plaza’s rededication in 1995, a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes was quoted. Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation echoed the same sentiments on Sunday, October 16 at the plaza honoring the slain police officer.
“I have seen all matter of things; a just man perishing in his justice and a wicked one surviving in his wickedness. Be not wicked to excess and be not foolish,” Kerzner said. “Now 16 years later we ask again; why should you die before your time?”
Twenty-five years after being killed in the line of duty, the Ridgewood park memorializing Venditti was rededicated recently with family, local leaders and fellow police officers — even Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly — in attendance.
“Besides rededicating this plaza, we’re here to celebrate Anthony’s life,” said Vincent Acuri, chairperson of Community Board 5.
Over 150 people attended the dedication of the square on the corner of St. Nicholas and Myrtle Avenues.
“Memorials are designed to commemorate great events, special people, great victories, great tragedies,” said Monsignor James Kelly, pastor of nearby St. Brigid’s Church. “This memorial park recalls a great tragedy, a good man and the dedication of New York City’s police personnel to law and order.”
Venditti was killed while on an undercover assignment on Myrtle Avenue in front of the then-Castillo Diner, steps away from where his memorial now stands. He was 34. The square was renamed after the slain officer in 1989 and the memorial plaque was added at the 1995 rededication.
“We will never forget Anthony’s service or his sacrifice, said Kelly. “Today we celebrate his life and honor his memory,”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani sent along his best wishes.
“This rededication ceremony keeps [Venditti]’s legacy alive for his loved ones and the community he dedicated his life to protecting,” he said.
Bouquets were presented to Venditti’s wife Patricia and mother Anna before 60 white carnations were placed on the memorial honoring Venditti which reads: “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself; who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”