Tag Archives: St. Albans

Suspect arrested in attempted rape of teen in St. Albans


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have arrested a man in the strangulation and attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl in St. Albans earlier this year, authorities said.

Tafari Pottinger, 35, of St. Albans, has been charged with attempted rape, assault and strangulation in the July 12 attack, cops said.

The arrest comes just days after police released a video of the suspect.

The victim and the suspect were having a conversation near 109th Road and Farmers Boulevard about 11 p.m. when he started choking the girl until she passed out, police said. He then attempted to rape her before fleeing.

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Suspect choked, tried to rape 15-year-old girl in St. Albans: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Detectives investigating the summertime attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl on a St. Albans street released a surveillance video Tuesday of the suspect in a bid to identify and arrest him.

The suspect was having a conversation with the victim near 109th Road and Farmers Boulevard about 11 p.m. on July 12 when he started choking the girl until she passed out, police said. He then attempted to rape her before fleeing in an unknown direction.


Police describe the suspect as a black man in his 20s, with a tattoo on the right side of his neck and arm. He was last seen wearing red Adidas track pants and a red Adidas shirt.

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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Holiday street lights return to St. Albans


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

It’s been 16 years since Linden Boulevard in St. Albans has been lit up with decorations for the holiday season, but thanks to a group of community activists, the festive lights are back.

“We fought really hard to get these back,” said Allen Poe, president of the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber was determined to get the lights back up and make Linden Boulevard an attraction for consumers.”

The chamber was instrumental in getting the lights up along the shopping corridor. Members went from door to door through the business strip asking for donations to pay for the decorations and were able to raise enough for the project. The lights run for a stretch of about one and a half miles from Linden Boulevard and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the VA Hospital, located at 179-00 Linden Blvd.

“We hope to put the lights up every year from now on,” Poe said. “This is only part of our plan to make the community a better place to live and work.”

Poe was not sure why the lights stopped going up after 1998. He did mention that they are not cheap to get done and that he is still looking for more contributions to be able to pay the second portion of the bill, which will be due when the lights come down in mid-January.

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Members of the St. Albans Chamber of Commerce 

“They’re fantastic,” said Thasia Chin, a real estate broker. “It’s very festive and makes the businesses and the boulevard very noticeable.”

Poe and other members of the chamber hope that next year the lights will be brighter and that they will be able to expand them throughout more of the neighborhood. Members of the chamber honored Poe with kind words about his dedication to the community.

“I admire Allen,” said Winnie Benjamin, a member of the chamber. “He told me he was going to get these lights up this year and look, now they’re up.”

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3-alarm fire breaks out at St. Albans building


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

It took firefighters almost four hours to control a large blaze at a St. Albans commercial building Tuesday night, according to the FDNY.

The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. at the one-story building, located at 104-03 108th Street. It quickly grew to three alarms and was under control by about 10:40 p.m., fire officials said.

The roof of the structure, a food packaging factory, collapsed, according to multiple reports.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries, the FDNY said.

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Pair accused of holding Queens teen prisoner, forcing to work as prostitute


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

Two men have been indicted after they held a 15-year-old Queens girl against her will and forced her to work as a prostitute, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The teen met the men, Terron Morancis, 29, and Quindell Hill, 33, in St. Albans on May 13, from which point they held her against her will until she was able to escape a week later, according to Brown.

During the girl’s imprisonment, they threatened her, ordering her to have sex with men in Queens and Brooklyn for money, and give them everything she made, the district attorney said. Morancis allegedly took “racy” photos of the 15-year-old and posted them on a website advertising her as a prostitute.

Morancis is also accused of making her perform oral sex on him, Brown said.

The victim was finally able to get away from the men for a brief moment and call her mother, who contacted police.

Morancis, of St. Albans, and Hill, of Brooklyn, were arraigned Wednesday on a 19-count indictment, charging each of them with kidnapping, promoting prostitution, sex trafficking and other crimes, prosecutors said. Morancis is also charged with criminal sex act and failure to register or verify as a sex offender.

They both face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

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13-year-old Queens girl wins theater award


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Colby Christina

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

When Colby Christina was 2 years old, she started dancing. She was 4 when her teachers told her she would be a star one day. She took that to heart and decided she wanted to be a performer. Now, at the age of 13, she is going to be awarded the Rising Star trophy at the 42nd Annual Viv Awards, organized by the Audience Development Committee Inc. (Audelco) to celebrate black theater.

Christina is being recognized for her portrayal of Alice in “The Liberation of Mother Goose,” an off-Broadway play. The award, which she will receive on Nov. 17 at a ceremony at Symphony Space in Manhattan, came as a surprise to Christina, but she is excited about it.

“I feel it is for everything I have accomplished and all the hard work I put into the play has paid off,” she said. “To perform at the historic Billie Holiday Theater, it was a privilege.”

Christina, a resident of St. Albans, is an accomplished dancer, singer and actress, and said that with Alice, she got the opportunity to “intertwine all those experiences together and express myself in a full manner.”

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In her short career, she has managed to perform at the Museum of Natural History, the Jamaica Performing Arts Theater, the Seeds of Hope Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria and the Kumble Theater, to name a few. At the same time, she is an exceptional student whose favorite subject, she said, is science. She is a high school freshman and an ambassador promoting STEM education. If that wasn’t enough, she has also started the paperwork to fulfill her dream of opening a dance school, called CC Dance Company.

“Time management is key,” she said, explaining how she has managed to achieve so much in so few years. “I’ve learned that over the years.”

Christina is inspired by her parents but said her brother Robert is her role model. “He told me, ‘Stars are born, not made,’” she said. “I live by that every day.”

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Police find loaded guns, marijuana after pulling over BMW in St. Albans


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops discovered that a BMW’s occupants were violating more than traffic laws when they pulled over the vehicle in St. Albans last week.

Officers stopped the car, a 2001 BMW X5, around 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 20 after noticing it was driving rather fast at Linden and Farmers boulevards, police said. They also saw that it was missing its front license plate and had a defective taillight.

As the car’s occupants rolled down the windows, the cops said they could smell marijuana coming from the BMW before they even arrived at it. They also said once they did approach the vehicle they could see a marijuana cigarette in the front ashtray and another one on the floor mat.

A .45-cal Taurus handgun and .32-cal Beretta pistol, which was previously reported stolen out of state, were also found in the car, police said.

The vehicle’s four occupants, Gregory Bryant, 35, of Hackensack, N.J.; Wayne Savage, 26, of Hartford, Conn.; Robert Myrie, 44, of Kingston, Jamaica; and Barrington King, 31, of North Lauderdale, Fla., were arrested and each charged with possession of loaded firearms, possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana, authorities said. Bryant was also charged with insufficient taillights, improper license plates and driving without a license.

According to police, Bryan was previously arrested in upstate New York for narcotics possession and is being held on a warrant from Hudson County, N.J. King was previously arrested in Florida and Arizona for theft of a firearm, marijuana possession and sale, and conspiracy.

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Queens residents accused of stealing money orders from mail at JFK Airport


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

MailPileHC1408_X_300_C_R

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Five Queens residents, including two baggage handlers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, are accused of participating in a scheme that involved stealing money orders from internationally-bound mail.

One of the baggage handlers, Kenroy C. Mitchell of St. Albans allegedly deposited 33 stolen money orders into his bank account between November 2013 and January 2014, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. The money orders had been sent via U.S. mail to Japan, Korea and Greece.

Amanda Mackie, 20, of Rosedale, is accused of acting in concert with one of the other suspects, but was employed by Ground Services International as a baggage handler, Brown said. She allegedly deposited a money order meant for Japan into her own bank account this January.

Mitchell was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday, on charges of grand larceny criminal possession of stolen property. He is also charged with acting in concert with one of the other suspects and is accused of stealing more than $25,000, prosecutors said.

Mackie was arraigned Wednesday night and also charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. She is also charged with participating in a scheme to steal and criminally possessing $2,800 in U.S. Postal money orders.

Mitchell and Mackie were released on their own recognizance.

The three other individuals are still being sought, according to the district attorney’s office.

The suspects were identified and caught as the result of a joint investigation that the United States Postal Office and Port Authority Police Department carried out after receiving numerous complaints of money orders not reaching their intended destinations, Brown said. Specifically, the mail was allegedly being handled by Ground Services International and Swissport USA baggage handlers at JFK Airport.

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Man run over by parked car in St. Albans: report


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

An out-of-control vehicle smashed into a parked car in St. Albans Friday night, causing it to jump the curb and hit a man, according a published report.

A driver in a green Toyota Camry pulled out of a nearby restaurant parking lot on Linden Boulevard at about 7 p.m. and lost control of his car, the Daily News reported. It then struck a parked Buick, which vaulted the curb and ran over the unidentified victim.

The victim was was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was in critical condition.

The driver of the Toyota claimed his brakes failed, according to the Daily News. But when cops tested the brakes, they were able to stop the car.

Police are still investigating and charges haven’t been filed.

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Queens ‘Glamazons’ to release new single


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Tina Jensen (photo by Noxie Studio Photography) / Kenya Morris (photo by Julianna Rusakiewicz)

Two Queens women are trying to sing their way to the top, proving that pop stardom comes in all sizes.

Astoria resident Tina Jensen and Kenya Morris, of St. Albans, are members of The Glamazons, a group of four sexy and voluptuous songstresses.

Formed in 2001, The Glamazons started performing in New York City clubs, but found national fame in the second season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2007, when they made it to the top eight.

Now, the original members are no longer performing with the group. Current members Jensen, Morris, Emma Craig and Megan Allen have been together for about one and a half years and will be releasing their first original single “Movie Star” on Tuesday.

“It’s a feel-good celebratory song,” Jensen said.


The 29-year-old always knew she wanted to be a performer growing up, but imagined herself in musical theater rather than singing pop songs.

At 18, she left Minnesota for New York City, where she studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and moved to western Queens seven years ago.

Though professionally she pursued musical theater in New York, starring off-Broadway, at home she would always sing pop songs.

“Growing up it was theater because I felt accepted in the theater,” she said. “I never thought I could be a pop star because I wasn’t a size zero.”

Jensen would also sing pop songs at competitions in New York City clubs. Around two years ago, it was at one of those clubs that she heard about a competition to be in The Glamazons. After six weeks of vying for a spot, she made it into the group.

Morris, 20, was in the same competition as Jensen, though she didn’t win.

The New Jersey native discovered The Glamazons through Twitter, where she connected with Meryl Sherwood, the group’s founder. Sherwood, who still works with The Glamazons, saw a YouTube video of Morris singing and encouraged her to enter the competition.

Later, Morris filled in during a Glamazons show and was then added as a permanent member in May 2013. The timing was perfect, Morris said, since she had recently moved to Queens to be closer to her grandfather.

“This is what every boy and every girl dreams of,” she said about their single coming out.

Singing was the easy part for Morris, who has been showing off her vocal talent since she was a young child. But she never had any formal dance training before The Glamazons.

“I was slow picking up the pace of everything but now I’m on the ball,” she said.

Jensen grew up taking dance lessons. Her biggest hurdle was showcasing her body through The Glamazon’s sexy moves.

“I’m finally able to embrace who I am and celebrate it,” she said.

The Glamazons have always been about more than just the music. They are also about body positivity and self-acceptance.

Photo by Julianna Rusakiewicz

The Glamazons, from left to right: Emma Craig, Megan Allen, Kenya Morris and Tina Jensen (Photo by Julianna Rusakiewicz)

Growing up, Morris would look at popular singers and think, “Can I really do this because I don’t see as much of me in the limelight?”

“I want the audience to feel inspired,” said Morris, who works as a plus-size model. “I want them to know that you can be any shape or size.”

But their message goes beyond body issues.

“It’s not just about your size. It’s about anyone who has been told no before,” Jensen said.

The Glamazons’ new single “Movie Star” will be available on iTunes on Oct. 14. The group also expects to release a music video for the song on Nov. 1. It will be available on their website, on YouTube and potentially as a free release on iTunes.

Next, they have plans for an EP.

Jensen, who, in addition to her theater work, is also a plus-size model, hopes The Glamazons can be her full-time gig one day.

“We may be broke and have to live in the street in Queens,” she said. “But we are going to keep performing with the group and spreading our message until we can no longer do it.”

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Cops looking for diaper thief who punched 59-year-old in St. Albans


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A diaper thief punched an employee at a St. Albans deli last month as he was trying to get away, police said.

The suspect entered 205 Deli Grocery, located on Hollis Avenue near 205th Place, on Sept. 22 at about 9:50 a.m. and grabbed the diapers, authorities said.

A 59-year-old employee at the deli tried to stop the suspect, who then punched him in the head, police said. The suspect then fled.

The victim was treated at the scene.

Police describe the suspect, who was caught on surveillance video, as black, about 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds, with short black hair and brown eyes. The suspect also has a tattoo of a heart under his left eye.

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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LI man busted with loaded gun while drinking wine on Queens sidewalk


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Long Island man with several prior arrests was busted again Sunday when he was caught on a St. Albans sidewalk with a loaded gun while sipping wine from an open container, police said.

Ronnie Woody, 31, was enjoying his drink at the corner of 205th Street and 116th Avenue at about 11:45 p.m. when plainclothes NYPD officers in an unmarked vehicle saw him take a sip from a clear plastic cup and rest it on top of a parked car, authorities said.

Woody, after noticing the vehicle, allegedly placed his hand on an object tucked into his waistband, moving it, exposing what was apparently a handle of a gun.

The cops found a .32 cal. Smith & Wesson revolver on him and also discovered he was carrying a small quantity of crack cocaine, police said.

Woody, who has an arrest history that includes narcotics-related offenses, rape and armed robbery, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and a violation for drinking alcohol from an open container in public, authorities said.

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Unattended candles caused St. Albans fire that killed two children: FDNY


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated Tuesday, Oct. 7, 12:20 p.m.

Two young brothers were killed in a St. Albans fire Monday night after candles were left unattended in their home, according to authorities.

The fire, at a two-story residence at 188-15 Tioga Dr., broke out around 7:10 p.m. in the living room on the first floor, engulfing the home, the FDNY said. It took about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

Fire officials found a candle melted on the floor near the sofa, where the flames ignited. Witnesses said the family used candles, which were found throughout the home, in prayer ceremonies, according to the FDNY. There were no smoke detectors on the first and second floors of the home. Smoke detectors in the basement failed to go off.

Two boys, Andrew Kavanagh, 6, and John Kavanagh, 11, were discovered on the second floor and taken to Queens Hospital Center, where they died, police said.

A third victim, a 33-year-old man, was transported to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition after he jumped from a window to escape, authorities said. He sustained injuries to his hands and feet. The man’s exact relationship to the children was not immediately clear, but police said it does not appear he is related to them.

Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

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Man run over by own vehicle at St. Albans gas station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A 56-year-old man was seriously hurt Monday night when he was run over by his own vehicle at a St. Albans gas station, according to police.

The victim had neglected to put his Ford SUV into park as he was going to fill up his tank at the Gulf station at Merrick and Farmers boulevards around 6:30 p.m. and it started rolling forward, cops said. As he tried to stop the vehicle, it ran him over.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition with severe head trauma, authorities said.

 

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Motorcycle rider dies in St. Albans collision


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

A man died Sunday when he lost control of his motorcycle in St. Albans, collided with a car and was hurled off the bike, according to police.

Pastor De La Cruz, 45, was traveling eastbound on Liberty Avenue around 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of Farmers Boulevard when he lost control of his Suzuki GSXR 750 motorcycle, cops said.

He hit a Jaguar, which was stopped at a red light, and slid on the pavement before stopping against a Nissan Frontier behind the Jaguar, police said.

De La Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police charged the driver of the Nissan Frontier, a 59-year-old woman, who remained at the accident scene, with DWI, according to authorities.

 

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