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Archive for the tag 'crime'

Tanya speaks with PIX11 (Source: PIX11)

Tanya speaks with PIX11 (Source: PIX11)

Bandits beware: Southern Brooklyn’s ladies know how to protect themselves.

A local teenage girl, Tanya, was riding the southbound F train when a thug attempted to swipe her phone near the Avenue N station. Not only did Tanya fight back – she nabbed the would-be thief’s phone, too.

“When he went through the doors, I kind of tackled him down on the ground, and I fell with him,” Tanya told PIX11.

thief“I kind of slammed him against the other train door, and he started screaming look at this crazy lady she has my phone, she’s trying to steal my phone and I was like that’s insane,” said Tanya.

Unfortunately, Tanya didn’t actually get her own phone back. While wrestling the man, she grabbed what she thought was her own phone and let go of him, but it turned out to be the robber’s.

But the thief’s phone wasn’t password protected, and the NYPD pulled photos of the robber to help track him down. The suspect is described as a black man in his 30s, six feet tall and approximately 180 pounds.

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 by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Excelsior Yacht Club, as seen from above. (Source: Google Maps)

Excelsior Yacht Club, as seen from above. (Source: Google Maps)

A baby shower at Bath Beach’s Excelsior Yacht Club ended with violence after a gunman opened fire, sending at least two people to the hospital on Saturday night.

Cops were called to the yacht club, at 1902 Shore Parkway, adjacent to Calvert Vaux Park, at approximately 11:00 p.m.

The Daily News reports on the grisly scene:

“There was a shooting,” one woman confirmed as she and other guests packed unopened shower gifts into an awaiting livery cab.

A stream of blood ran into the street next to colorfully wrapped presents, one with a teddy bear peeking out, and a package of diapers. Officials said a man was shot in the arm.

The paper reports that one of the two hospitalized victims sought medical treatment for a gunshot wound. News 12 reports that he was a 23-year-old man, wounded on his elbow. He is expected to recover.

The other person to seek medical attention was a woman who had difficulty breathing.

The shooter was still at large on Sunday, according to the Daily News.

Authorities executed a search warrant at 29 Van Sicklen Street yesterday, which is listed as Mikhail Presman's medical office. They discovered it was actually his residence. (Source: Google Maps)

The residence of Mikhail Presman (Source: Google Maps)

He was facing 10 years, but, ultimately, Gravesend-based psychiatrist Mikhail Presman was sentenced earlier this month to 18 months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release for Medicare fraud.

Presman was busted in a massive Medicare fraud sweep in May 2013 that netted 89 individuals accused of plundering the government insurance program out of $223 million. Bensonhurst Bean was first to report on a raid of his 29 Van Sicklen Street residence, pictured above.

A former employee of the Brooklyn Veteran’s Administration hospital, Presman ran a scheme from 2006 to 2013. He claimed to be treating a multitude of patients, racking up over a $4 million in Medicare bills while also pulling a full-time salary at the VA. But, evidence showed, most of the appointments never existed. During a part of the stretch when he was claiming patients, he was actually taking a vacation with his family in China. He also claimed home visits to 55 Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized on the dates of the purported visits.

He pleaded guilty in October 2013, and sentenced on March 13.

In addition to the 18 month sentence and three years of supervision, he was ordered to pay back $1.2 million to the government.

The suspects (via Gothamist)

The suspects (via Gothamist)

Prosecutors charged six men for operating three phone delivery services that allegedly provided clients with narcotics, steroids and marijuana to locations in Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park.

The charges came after an undercover investigation and wiretaps conducted by the NYPD and the Brooklyn district attorney that recorded the suspects taking orders and sending deliverymen to meet customers in bars and street corners.

Vincent Alfonso, Vincent Felix, Adam Veit, Francesco Lozado, Victor Moreno and Robert Kollbeck were all arrested last week as part of the investigation.

“As this investigation demonstrates, careful coordination with the NYPD allowed us to break up this delivery-by-car drug dealing network. We will continue to work day and night with the NYPD to fight drug dealing that occurs anywhere in Brooklyn. The cost in lives is too high not to make this a priority,” said District Attorney Kenneth Thompson in a statement.

Alfonso, Felix and Veit were under investigation since July 2012, and, according to the district attorney, operated a sophisticated drug delivery service with a “one stop shopping” model, through which they sold cocaine, marijuana and MDMA. A search of their property turned up all three drugs, as well as scales and packaging materials.

Lozada and Moreno operated a separate cocaine and crack cocaine distribution service, according to Thomspon. A search of Lozado’s properties turned up cocaine, a loaded 9mm pistol, a loaded .45 caliber pistol and approximately $20,000 cash.

Kollbeck allegedly dealt in ketamine – or Special K – and anabolic steroids at least as far back as September 2013. A search of his property turned up a large quantity of anabolic steroids.

According to the district attorney, the investigations kicked off after neighbors and community leaders complained about the presence of drug dealers, and several overdose deaths occurred in the neighborhood.

Local pols praised investigators for the bust.

“I commend the NYPD and Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson for their swift and decisive action in taking these dealers off the street. Thanks to tips from active and concerned residents from Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, along with a strong joint law enforcement effort, today we are sending a clear message that drugs and drug activity of any kind in our neighborhoods and on our residential streets will not be tolerated,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile.

“I commend the work of the New York City Police Department, and hope that the Brooklyn District Attorney charges these individuals to the fullest extent of the law, so that they are not back out on our streets in no time, destroying our quality of life,” said State Senator Marty Golden. “The war on drugs is not over and we must remain vigilant in reporting drug activity, and I encourage residents to continue to work with me to eradicate this problem.”

Prosecutors have started civil proceedings to seize the suspects’ property, including vehicles and bank accounts.



For the first time in years, Samuel Kellner, who fought to expose sex abuse in Borough Park’s Orthodox Jewish community, can breath a sigh of relief. New Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson dropped the justice-chilling charges brought forth by his predecessor, Charles Hynes, earlier this month.

“After a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that the charges against Samuel Kellner must be dismissed. We’ve reached this conclusion because we do not believe that we can prove these charges at trial,” Thompson said in a statement.

The charges against Kellner included conspiracy, perjury, criminal solicitation and attempted grand larceny, all of which are being swept aside after the DA’s review.

Kellner’s case has been a long and strange one. He first came forward in 2006 with allegations that his 16-year-old son had been sexually abused by Barch Lebovits, a prominent cantor.

Kellner was openly shunned, and barred from yeshivas and businesses. He was left destitute, reportedly turning to selling his silverware.

But Kellner didn’t relent. After reportedly receiving pushback from Hynes regarding prosecution, he met with other alleged victims and began gathering evidence.

Lebovits was convicted of eight to 10 counts of molestation in 2010, and sentenced to between 10 and 32 years in prison.

Hynes then brought charges against Kellner, having obtained a secret tape from a supporter of Lebovits that suggested Kellner attempted to extort the rabbi. That evidence led to the release of Lebovits on appeal, and charges against Kellner.

It also formed the front-line battle between abuse whistle-blowers and the community’s establishment, which hoped to handle such cases internally.

The case began to unravel in 2013, when a judge claimed that the prosecution’s lead witness was no longer trustworthy. According to Thomspon’s statement, a second witness also provided inconsistent statements that called the testimony’s credibility into question. The secret recording itself was found to be ambiguous, and its source – Lebovits attorney, Arthur Aidala, who was a campaign contributor to Hynes – appeared to present a conflict.


Police are on the hunt for two men believed to be behind a violent home invasion that occurred late last month in SunsetPark.

On February 27, just before 2:00 a.m., the suspects followed a 28-year-old man into his apartment building on 39th Street and 10th Avenue.

The suspects bound the victim’s hands with a cell phone charger cord and stole $150 and an iPhone 5.

They then fled the location.

Police have released a photo of the suspects, seen above.

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 by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


By any measure, Coney Island has made major strides in real estate, business and safety since the seemingly lawless days of the 1970s and 80s, and has reclaimed its place in the pantheon of must-see New York City attractions.

But outside of the amusement area, there remains a popular mythology about the area’s safety – especially among those who hail from elsewhere in Brooklyn and remember its seedier days.

That’s illustrated in part by one user on Yahoo! Answers, who shares his story visiting the YMCA on Surf Avenue in the West End. Angelo went to the recreational facility for the first time with his mother, and on the way over he had a a few unfavorable interactions with people around the area.

He starts out with a seemingly paranoid tale of a guy who “started walking behind us,” he wrote. But Angelo, being the wily crime-fighter he is, decided to trick the stalker by stopping “to tie my shoes and he just went straight but why walk behind me?”

He then leaves the best part for last.

“Also a guy and his friends were walking and when we passed by they were like bang bang (hand motion) you lucky I ain’t strapped,” he wrote.

He ends the post by asking people if he should continue to use the YMCA, especially since he’ll often be there at night. But is that justified? How dangerous is that area really?

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

According to the latest CompStat report from the 60th Precinct, which covers Coney Island, Sea Gate and Brighton Beach, crime has decreased sharply over the past two decades. It’s a 70 percent drop since 1993.

Reductions since then have paled by comparison: the area now sees 1.2 percent less crime now than it did in 2001; not much of an accomplishment considering it has seen a 54 percent drop over the same time in Bensonhurst’s 62nd Precinct, and 37 percent citywide.

There have been significant personnel cuts since that year, but most commands in the city continue to see drops. Coney Island, though, has seen crime increase 13 percent in the past two years.

Still, it’s safer than it once was. But “safer” isn’t the same as “safe,” and clearly the legend of Coney Island’s roughness lives on today. But is it fact or fiction? You tell us.


The Texas woman arrested last month as part of the FBI probe into Congressman Grimm’s campaign fundraising appeared in Brooklyn court yesterday, and her lawyers told reporters that she was being targeted because of her association with Grimm.

Diana Durand, 47, was put in handcuffs in January and charged with skirting federal campaign laws to steer money to Grimm. According to investigators, Durand used straw donors to hide the source of donations from contributors who sought to exceed the maximum amount permitted by law. She allegedly used a network of associates to write out checks to Grimm, which investigators say she then reimbursed using funds from the real donors.

If true, it appears to be a blatant and contrived attempt to dodge campaign finance laws – but Durand’s attorneys say the woman had no knowledge of the law to begin with.

NY1 reports:

Her attorneys say they are reviewing the evidence against her before the case moves forward.

“Had she had no association with the congressman, she would not be confronted with these charges,” said Stuart Kaplan, Durand’s attorney.

… “This is a woman that was never involved with politics before she met Michael Grimm. I think she is totally or she was totally devoid or ignorant to the rules or regulations or laws or ethical constraints with respect to fundraising,” said Kaplan.

The complaint alleges Durand knew she was skirting campaign finance law.

It points for one to this e-mail, showing Durand poking fun at one person she eventually reimbursed.

… From here it’s unclear if Durand will be officially indicted or if a plea deal could be in the works.

Prior to Durand’s arrest, authorities busted another member of Grimm’s campaign network, Ofer Biton, who pleaded guilty to visa fraud last year. The campaign has also been accused of donor swapping – a controversial practice in which candidates skirt campaign finance limits by having donors contribute to an ally, who then forwards the money to the original candidate as a separate contribution.

Grimm has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and the congressman has refused to speak at length on the matter. Questions about the investigation are what led Grimm to threaten to throw a NY1 reporter off a balcony and break him like a boy last month.


Usually, when I have too much to drink, I get sleepy and it’s lights out. Or maybe I get hungry and eat too much pizza – and then it’s lights out.

But this guy; this guy knows how to live it up.

He gets drunk, stumbles onto a random porch, tosses around some furniture and other stuff, and begins kicking at some welded-on wrought iron window bars, and takes a shot at getting into the house.

When he realizes there’s a security camera, does he give up and go home? Nope. He mills about for a while, stares into it a bit, then rips it off the wall before continuing on his fruitless rampage.

Unfortunately for him, the residents were home asleep – until the commotion woke them up.

“I  heard some banging but I thought it was my next door neighbors,” reader Howie W. told Bensonhurst Bean. “I realized something is definitely wrong with the consistency or pattern. I pulled up my security camera on my phone and saw someone trying to kick in my window and trying to pull my gate off the windows that i welded in place.”

Howie, who lives on 85th Street off Bay Parkway, called 911 and officers from the 62nd Precinct arrived within minutes. They cuffed the man and told Howie they intended to charge him with attempted burlary, criminal mischief, menacing, harassment and criminal trespass.

That ought to sober him up.

As for the lasting damage from the late Sunday night siege, Howie said the man broke the camera and the gate, and the bricks around the window were loosened.

As a disclaimer, we should note that we’re just assuming he’s drunk from his stumbling around and his general dumbass-ness.

greendotThe following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Vincent Gentile:

Scams of all kinds have historically involved a victim wiring cash to a stranger, but now that many consumers have gotten wise to that trick, scammers have found a new way for them to trick people into handing over their hard-earned cash: they’re called “Green Dot” MoneyPak cards.

The cards themselves aren’t the problem; “Green Dot” MoneyPak cards serve a very valuable purpose for some people who don’t have bank accounts.

“Green Dot” cards are reloadable debit cards, available everywhere, and you can use them to pay your phone, cable, or credit card bill. Scammers like them because they’re more convenient than a money wire and just as untraceable.

Here’s how the “Green Dot” scam works:

A scammer posing as a debt collector calls and says they need payment immediately “or else!” The con artist then instructs the person to go to a Walgreens or Rite Aid and load a Green Dot MoneyPak card with the cash they supposedly owe. They are then told to scratch off the back and call with the secret PIN number on the card. Since Green Dot MoneyPak cards are not linked to bank accounts, anyone you share your card number with, has instant access to your cash and can siphon the card dry in a matter of seconds.

“Unfortunately, some of these swindlers have been successful at getting some of our local businesses to fork over thousands of dollars,” Councilman Vincent J. Gentile said. “The scammer pretends to be calling from ConEd – and the next thing you know, the business owner has paid the con artist thousands of dollars because they were worried they’d shut their lights off if they didn’t pay immediately. It’s really despicable – especially for unsuspecting small businesses that are just trying to make ends meet.”

Councilman Gentile has been working closely with Deputy Inspector Richard DiBlasio, the Commanding Officer of the 68 Precinct, in order to get the word out to as many people as possible about the scam.

“When it comes to scams, knowledge is power. Just by being aware, you can be your own first line of defense against these fraudsters.”

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