Tag Archives: Theft

Cops seek Flushing purse snatcher

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for the thief who took a 57-year-old woman’s purse as she was heading up to her Flushing apartment Sunday night.

While the victim was walking up the stairs to her residence, located near Sanford Avenue and Bowne Street, at 10:40 p.m. the suspect — described as an Asian man — followed her from behind and asked her a question, authorities said. He then snatched the victim’s purse from her shoulder before fleeing.

The victim was not injured.

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.


Schumer: Time to crack down hard on scrap metal theft

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann


Following a commuting nightmare for A train riders last week caused by the theft of copper cable in Howard Beach, Senator Charles Schumer is pushing for legislation to crack down on scrap metal theft in New York.

Several copper wire thefts have been reported in the last few years, including a 2013 incident in which more than 15 MTA employees working for the LIRR stole copper wire from a rail yard. According to the NYPD Transit and the MTA, there have been approximately 12 incidents of copper theft along the subway in 2015.

Schumer’s plan would require that those who sell metal to recyclers have documentation to prove that they own the metal or are authorized to sell it. The legislation would also make it mandatory for recyclers to keep detailed records of their metal purchases and cap the amount at $100 in cash that recyclers can pay for scrap metal.

According to a press release, the proposal would also make it a federal crime for people to steal metal from critical infrastructure.

“It is time to put thieves who steal scrap metal from critical mass transit infrastructure, as well as homes and businesses, behind ironclad bars,” Schumer said. “Every ounce of copper or metal stolen from New York’s critical infrastructure could cause the next big commuter delay, a subway line suspension or even a disaster. That’s why this plan must be enacted—because it takes the cold-hard-cash incentive out of the metal theft equation and would deter metal thieves before they steal.”

For sellers, only metal products that would likely be owned by government entities and properties would require documentation. For recyclers, the record keeping requirement would mandate that they keep the date of the purchase, description of the metal, the amount paid and the name and address of the seller.

If recyclers want to pay more than $100 for metal, they would have to pay by check, money order or online.

“This proposal will safeguard New York families, schoolchildren, straphangers, business owners and first responders who are endangered by the stripped infrastructure, fires and financial losses that occur as a result of these crimes,” Schumer said.


JFK workers stole about $90K worth of electronics from cargo warehouse: DA

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Joe Mabel

A holiday weekend heist at John F. Kennedy Airport sprung a leak, according to authorities.

Two employees at an airport cargo warehouse were charged this week for allegedly pilfering nearly $90,000 worth of electronic devices, prosecutors announced Friday.

Cops busted Brooklyn residents Kason Alexander, 32, and Akanni Martin, 39, on May 23 in Brooklyn after officers spotted Alexander urinating on the sidewalk in the vicinity of East 57th Street and Avenue D.

When an officer approached Alexander and Martin as they entered a nearby parked car, the officer reportedly noticed two wooden crates in the rear seat.

Upon further investigation, the crates were found to contain 127 digital memory cards, 36 camera lenses, 52 Nikon cameras and 15 camera accessories. Additionally, officers found 100 Amazon Kindle tablets from another vehicle Alexander owned that was searched as part of the investigation.

Alexander and Martin were booked on second-degree charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and face up to 15 years behind bars if convicted, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“The two men were trusted employees at Kennedy Airport, but they are now accused of helping themselves to nearly $100,000 worth of electronic merchandise,” Brown said. “The defendants now face the prospect of being locked behind bars for this brazen act.”

The suspects were released without bail following arraignment on May 25 in Queens Criminal Court and ordered to return to court on July 13.


Manhattan woman stole $350K from her Fresh Meadows mom: DA

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

An Upper East Side woman was arraigned Tuesday on charges of stealing more than $340,000 from her elderly mother, a Fresh Meadows resident, prosecutors announced.

Barbara Schwartz, 62, of East 71 Street in Manhattan allegedly withdrew funds from her mother’s bank account to pay for spa treatments, clothing, alcohol and cab rides from 2010 to 2013.

She was arraigned Tuesday on a four-count indictment charging her with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Schwartz was ordered held on $50,000 bond.

Law enforcement sources said Schwartz came into control of her 91-year-old mother’s finances after the elderly woman suffered a stroke in 2008. Authorities were alerted to the theft by another child of the victim, and an analysis of the suspect’s bank records allegedly indicated that none of the money was used to benefit the ailing woman.

“The defendant’s mother spent a lifetime acquiring the assets needed to make her final years comfortable and free of the stress of financial worry, only to suffer a stroke and have her daughter allegedly steal the money for her own personal use,” Brown said.

Schwartz is scheduled to return to court on June 23.


Phony Sprint worker swipes copper wire from Astoria cellphone tower: NYPD

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a copper wire thief who they say impersonated a Sprint employee to steal the valuable metal from an Astoria rooftop.

The theft happened on top of a residential building on 42nd Street near 31st Avenue about 10:30 a.m. on March 13.

After gaining access to the building’s roof by saying he was a Sprint employee, authorities said, the suspect took cooper grounding wires from one of the company’s cellphone towers. He then fled southbound on 42nd Street while carrying a bundle of the wire.

Police have released video footage of the perpetrator and described him as Hispanic, 40 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, black boots, a gray sweatshirt and black vest.

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.


Tire and rim theft still major problem in Howard Beach area

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata/ Photo courtesy of Joe Thompson

Seeing a car on cinder blocks has become almost the norm in south Queens, according to police, as the Howard Beach area has been hit with a string of tire and rim thefts.

Since Dec. 1, there have been about 59 tire and rim theft cases throughout the 106th Precinct. Lindenwood has experienced the brunt of the crime hit, as 21 of the 59 thefts have taken place in the neighborhood. The number of these cases has increased, as the three months before Dec. 1 saw 27 thefts in the precinct.

“This has really been hurting us,” said Deputy Inspector Jeffrey D. Schiff, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct. “We’re going to keep after this and continue to throw different operations at these criminals.”

Along with extra officers, Schiff has expanded his patrol in the Lindenwood area, especially during early morning hours when most crimes take place. He has been sending more crime teams out — both plain-clothed and uniformed officers — who have been on the lookout for cars with “reasonable suspicion” as it is not easy for officers to catch the preps in the act.

Police said it takes mere seconds for experienced thieves to jack up a car, put it on bricks and pull the tires off. The crooks work in small crews, which shortens the amount of time it takes to steal the tires and flee the area.

But just last week, Schiff said, the 106th Precinct caught a group of three men from Brooklyn who did a tire jacking in the Howard Beach area. They stopped a car coming out of a parking lot in Howard Beach for reasonable suspicion as it was in the early hours of the morning and there was no reason for a car to be in that lot.

Upon their search, the officers found four tires and rims from a Toyota. They arrested the men, who didn’t have a major history of tire theft on their records, and later returned the tires to the person whose car they were stolen from near 157th Avenue in Howard Beach.

This saved the car owner a large sum of money as replacing tires and rims can cost up to $3,000, according to Det. Kenneth Zorn of the 106th Precinct Community Affairs Unit.

The 106th Precinct continues to send out fliers warning residents that late model Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas and Mercedes are being targeted for their rims. They recommend that car owners use wheel locks, motion sensor lights or an alarm with a mercury tilt switch to make their cars harder targets.

Schiff said he will continue to beef up patrol around the Lindenwood and Howard Beach areas and is investigating different ways he can lure these perps into a trap. He has called the Queens District Attorney’s office about the three recently arrested thieves and asked for “aggressive prosecution and high bail” to deter other thieves from coming into the area and trying to steal tires.

“We will continue to monitor the area and have officers there,” said Schiff. “Hopefully we can catch more of these criminals.”


Police push for residents in Whitestone and other areas to lock up their cars

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the 109th Precinct

A group of people walked through Whitestone at midnight, checking for unlocked car doors as they went through the area. They found 62 open vehicles. In them were electronic devices, designer glasses and $3,000 in cash. But the group wasn’t there to steal anything. They were cops urging people to lock their cars.

“We did what the bad guys are doing,” Detective Kevin O’Donnell said.

The 109th Precinct is undertaking a midnight prowl to check for unlocked cars to raise community awareness about leaving their cars unlocked and leaving valuables inside. And they began with Whitestone on Oct. 24. The initiative started after police received calls from victims who had their belongings stolen from unlocked cars, according to O’Donnell. Police plan on doing the same thing in other neighborhoods in the precinct.

“There are people coming to neighborhoods like Whitestone just to check for unlocked cars and steal whatever they can,” O’Donnell said recently during a Queensborough Hill Civic Association meeting. He urged residents to lock their doors even if their neighborhood – like Whitestone – is generally safe.

Cops say they are careful not to touch anything inside the cars. If a car is unlocked, the police will lock it up and then put a piece of paper that looks like a ticket under a windshield wiper. The leaflet instructs people to make sure their doors are locked.

“There have been many arrests all over the [109th Precinct] for this stuff,” O’Donnell said, noting that police have arrested two suspects so far. “Hopefully we prevented people getting their stuff stolen.”


Police looking for thief who stole gold necklace off victim’s neck in Flushing

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect in connection with a bizarre theft in which the victim was tricked into modeling scarves so the suspect could steal her gold necklace.

The suspect, described as a 40-year-old Asian woman, approached the victim, a 56-year-old woman, about modeling scarves for her on July 20 at about 1:45 p.m. in front of a retail store at 41-43 Main St. in Flushing, cops said.

Both women entered the store, and while the suspect was placing scarves on the victim’s neck, she removed a gold necklace from the older woman and fled the store in an unknown direction, according to authorities.

The suspect was last seen wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, and has black hair and a thin build.

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.




Flushing thief strikes seven businesses

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A thief has hit seven Flushing businesses since last November, stealing as much as $18,000 during one of the incidents, cops said.

In the latest theft, at about 11:30 p.m. on July 14 at the Lyauaidai Cleaning Company on Prince Street, the suspect also got away with a large loot, taking, $13,000 in cash out of a drawer, according to police.

The suspect first struck the Motors Driving School on November 2013. After entering the school, located on Roosevelt Avenue, the suspect stole a bag out of a closet containing a debit card, credit card, Michael Kors bag and $30 in cash, cops said.

On Dec. 12 of that year, the thief allegedly took a bag containing $18,000 in cash and several credit cards from the Sarang Bang Restaurant on 41st Avenue.

Police have also connected the suspect to four January 2014 store thefts in Flushing, where the stolen goods included iPhones, a wallet containing credit cards and $3,000 in cash.

The suspect is described as about 30 years old, with a medium build and has brown hair and brown eyes.  Cops have released a photo of the suspect from a theft that took place at a  telecommunications store at 136-84 Roosevelt Ave. on Jan. 15. He was last seen wearing a black hat, black sneakers, blue jeans and a black and gray North Face backpack.

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.

Women used child to snatch wallet at Bayside store, suspected in similar theft: cops

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:55 p.m.




Police are looking for two women who allegedly convinced a young child to steal a wallet at a Bayside clothing boutique last week and are suspected of committing a similar crime the same day.

The suspects had the child take the wallet containing $200 from a salesperson at Karma Boutique at 38-27 Bell Blvd., on May 7, according to police and the owner.

Around 2 p.m. while the store was busy and the salesperson was distracted, one woman told the girl to take the wallet, which was behind the cash register, according to the store’s owner and police.

The child then gave the wallet, which also contained personal identification and a debit card, to one of the women who placed it in her pants and fled the clothing store. About 15 minutes later, the salesperson noticed her wallet was missing when she was going to pay for her delivered lunch.

Karma Boutique owner Margaret Papacosta stands near where a wallet was stolen from her store last week. (THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz)

After 11 years in Bayside, Karma has not experienced a crime such as this one, owner Margaret Papacosta said. 

“On Bell Boulevard for something like this to happen, it’s unheard of,” she said.  “I was shocked.”

Papacosta, a mother of three, added what was really surprising was that the suspects used a young girl for the crime.

“She was forced to commit a crime,” Papacosta said. “What does her future look like?”

The suspects also committed a similar theft at a Bayside thrift shop called The Worthy Pause, on Corporal Kennedy Street, the same afternoon, according to police and Rose Meehan, a volunteer who works at the store.

Meeha said two women fitting the suspects’ description and the young girl stole from two volunteers at the shop. They took a wallet containing $80 and a credit card, and a fanny pack with a driver’s license and credit cards inside of it.

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.

With additional reporting by Angy Altamirano 




$12K stolen from Astoria social club

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Two suspects swiped thousands in cash from an Astoria social club, cops said.

The theft took place about 2 a.m. Monday at the Unity Gallega of the United States club located on 31st Avenue near 37th Street, according to police.

The pair stole a total of $12,000 before fleeing, officials 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.




Queens man arrested for LI catalytic converter thefts has priors in NYC

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ahanix1989

The 23-year-old Jamaica man arrested on Long Island last month for stripping three dozen cars of their costly catalytic converters has a lengthy rap sheet in the city, officials said.

Nassau County police charged Dorient G. Reid in February with grand larceny for his eight-month-long raid of body shop and U-Haul parking lots that damaged more than 35 cars and their exhaust systems.

Reid crossed the Queens border to try his luck after the NYPD arrested him last March for allegedly stealing five catalytic converters out of a used auto parts lot in Jamaica, an NYPD spokesperson said.

The apparent repeat offender had nine prior arrests in New York City, including one last year for offering an arresting officer a $500 bribe from his holding cell in Jamaica’s 113th Precinct, according to the NYPD and Queens district attorney’s office.

He faces multiple counts of grand larceny and auto stripping charges in both Nassau and New York City, the police departments said.

Reid will appear in Nassau court on March 28, a spokesperson for the county’s district attorney said. He also awaits a March 25 sentencing in Queens Criminal Court after pleading guilty in the bribery case, according to the borough’s district attorney’s office.

Catalytic converters, which contain precious metals inside, like platinum, have been the target of a costly citywide crime trend that is now on the decline.

In January, police arrested two men in Flushing for allegedly sawing nearly $5,000 worth of devices off eight trucks in a U-Haul storage lot at 36-30 College Point Boulevard, Crime Prevention Officer Anthony Lo Verme of the 109th Precinct said.

Since the collar, there have been no new converter thefts in the 109th Precinct, which covers downtown Flushing and upwards to Whitestone, according to Lo Verme.

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta of the 111th Precinct — who reported a spike at the end of last year — believes the arrest will wipe out the crime around Bayside.

“We’re hoping that eliminates the problem here,” he said, “and I suspect it will.”



Police looking for Flushing jewelry thieves

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A man and woman are wanted for stealing jewelry from a Flushing store last week, cops said.

The theft occurred about 2:30 p.m. Thursday at H.Y. Jewelry, on Northern Boulevard, near 150th Place, according to the NYPD.

Police have released surveillance photos of the two suspects.

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.




Cops looking for two suspects in Queens burglary spree

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Two suspects wanted in a September burglary of a Woodhaven bodega have been tied to eight more burglaries throughout the borough, police said.

The thefts date back to August 8, with the most recent incident taking place on November 26, police said.

Businesses the suspects targeted included Stop1 and Jamao Coffee Shop 7 in Jamaica, the Richmond Hill Deli and El Cran Canario Restaurant in Richmond Hill, Darbar’s Chicken & Ribs in South Richmond Hill, East Town restaurant in Maspeth and a Dunkin’ Donuts in Whitestone, according to the NYPD.

After breaking into the businesses the suspects stole cash, ranging from $30 to approximately $4,580, or possibly more. During some of the burglaries, the pair allegedly took merchandise, including scratch off lottery tickets, beer and cigarettes, police 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.



Man wanted for series of subway cell phone thefts

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DCPI

Police are searching for a man wanted for snatching five electronic devices over the past month on trains in Queens and Brooklyn.

Four cell phones and an iPad were stolen in the incidents that all occurred E, F, or R trains as they entered the station, according to police. The five victims were all women between the ages of 16-28.

The most recent robbery took place on December 11 as the suspect exited the R train at the 67th Avenue station. The suspect punched a 16-year-old girl in the face before taking her phone.

Police described the suspect as a black man between 25-30 years old, standing 6-feet-1-inch tall and weighing between 180-190 pounds.