Police & Fire

by -
0 273
File Photo

Police arrested a residential community security guard for allegedly assaulting a visitor Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Suffolk County Police said John Ruggiero, while working as a security guard at The Ranches at Mount Sinai condominium complex, located along Route 25A, allegedly denied entry to a 68-year-old man who was attempting to visit a friend Aug. 14 at around 2:55 p.m. The two men exchanged words followed by a physical altercation, during which the 68-year-old man sustained serious injuries. Police did not release the name of the other man involved in the fight.

Police could not say who provoked the incident or threw the first punch.

The visitor was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was listed in serious condition. Ruggiero, 50, of Port Jefferson Station, was treated and released from St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson for injuries sustained during the fight. He was charged with assault 2nd degree and is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 15 at First District Court in Central Islip.

by -
0 251
Security footage of woman police said stole from Chris Jewelers in Port Jeff. Photo from SCPD
Security footage of woman police said stole from Chris Jewelers in Port Jeff. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County 6th precinct police officers are trying to identify and locate a woman who allegedly stole merchandise from a Port Jefferson store in July.

A woman allegedly stole a silver ring from Chris Jeweler, located at 202 Main Street, July 30, at around 2 p.m.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this robbery to call Major Case at 631-852-6555. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 800-220-TIPS (8477) or texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637). All calls and text messages are kept confidential.

by -
0 223
Security footage of the man who allegedly robbed the Miller Place Chase Bank. Photo from SCPD
Security footage of the man who allegedly robbed the Miller Place Chase Bank. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police are looking for a man who allegedly robbed the Miller Place Chase Bank the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 12.

Police said a man entered Chase Bank, located at 385 Route 25A, at around 2:40 p.m. and displayed a note demanding cash to an employee. The teller complied with the suspect’s demands and gave him cash from the drawer. Police said the suspect fled the bank on foot, west towards Miller Place road.

Security footage of the man who allegedly robbed the Miller Place Chase Bank. Photo from SCPD

The suspect was described as a white man in his late 20s to 30s, average height, medium build, wearing dark rimmed glasses and a full dark colored beard. He was wearing a blue t-shirt, blue jeans, dark colored shoes and a summer style fedora hat.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this robbery to call Major Case at 631-852-6555. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 800-220-TIPS (8477) or texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637). All calls and text messages are kept confidential.

File photo.

Suffolk County Police arrested a Selden teenager Aug. 11 following two car crashes, one which seriously injured a pedestrian. The teen was allegedly driving while intoxicated and left the scene of an accident.

Christina Burns, 17, slept at the home of Francis Rogalle, located on Ashford Drive in Bohemia, after attending a party at his residence the evening of Aug. 10. She left the home at approximately 6:50 a.m. Aug. 11 driving a 2005 Nissan Altima and, while traveling on Ashford Drive, left the roadway, struck a mailbox and drove across a lawn before allegedly striking Che Yeung, 80, of Bohemia, who was walking in the street. Burns fled the scene in her vehicle.

Approximately half an hour later, Burns was allegedly involved in a second crash at the intersection of Route 347 and Route 25 in Nesconset. SCPD 4th Precinct officers charged her with driving while intoxicated.

An investigation by 4th Precinct officers revealed that Burns’ vehicle had more damage than sustained in the Nesconset crash. Fifth Squad detectives were notified, and she was linked to the earlier incident. Burns was subsequently charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury.

Yeung was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where she is in critical condition.

Rogalle, 50, was charged with violating Suffolk County’s Social Host Law. Burns was held overnight at the 4th Precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Aug. 12.

Burns’ Nissan was impounded as evidence.

File Photo

Suffolk County police are trying to use digital conferencing technology to better communicate with those who are hard of hearing and speech impaired. 

“This announcement is about making our department more accessible and inclusive to the communities we serve,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said at a press conference July 31. “It is a top priority.” 

The department will be using the service, Language Line Insight Video Interpreting, which will allow officers to instantly connect with an interpreter who can assist in communicating with hard of hearing or speech impaired individuals in American Sign Language during a traffic stop, home visit or other emergency. 

“The days of having to wait for an interpreter to arrive on the scene and communicating through pen and paper — those days are over in Suffolk County,” Bellone said. Stu Cameron, chief of department, said this new addition will help close the loop in communications when officers are on the scene.  

Typically, if a deaf or hard of hearing person needs assistance, officers rely on pen and paper or they call a sign language interpreter to the scene or the local precinct. This can be a lengthy process and Cameron said he feels by adding this app to the officers’ tablets, they will be more effective in assisting those individuals.  

“Not only will our patrol cars have this capability, but our investigative units and detectives will have this as well,” he said. “ … We can get information very rapidly without having to go back and forth.”

Geraldine Hart, Suffolk police commissioner, said more than a year ago the department began outfitting vehicles with portal tablets to give officers immediate access to language access services. 

“There are millions of people who communicate in sign language, making it the fourth-most used language in the U.S.,” the police commissioner said. “While we teach our recruits basic sign language and ways to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing people — we want to do more.”

Similarly, last year the department launched a text 911 program in an effort to help those with hearing and/or speech impairments.

The implementation of the new tablets is part of a three-year capital project, officials said. Currently, the department is in the second year of the project and has 155 tablets installed in patrol cars. Cameron said he expects by the end of next year to have all patrol cars equipped with the devices and have more than 450 tablets in use.   

Liam Whitworth
Updated: Liam Whitworth was located in Stony Brook Aug. 3, unharmed.
Suffolk County Police have issued a Silver Alert for a missing man who has been diagnosed with depression and may be suicidal.
Liam Whitworth, 21, who was residing in Centereach, went missing from his residence on Callan Lane Aug. 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m. after leaving a suicide note. He was last seen driving a 2009 Silver Nissan Sentra with NY license plates AGG-4918. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall and approximately 140 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. He has family in Rocky Point and employment in Lake Grove.
Anyone with information on Liam Whitworth’s location is asked to call 911 or the 6th squad at 631-854-8652.
As a reminder, Silver Alert is a program implemented in Suffolk County that allows local law enforcement to share information with media outlets about individuals with special needs who have been reported missing.

by -
0 322
File photo
Photo from SCPD

 

Police  are trying to identify and locate a man who allegedly attempted to use a debit card he stole from a Stony Brook business.

A man allegedly stole cash and a debit card from a wallet belonging to an employee at North Country Gas, located at 105 Main Street July 19. Later that day, the man then allegedly attempted to use the debit card to purchase gift cards at Target, located at 255 Pond Path in Setauket, but the purchase was declined.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 800-220-TIPS (8477) or texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637). All calls and text messages will be kept confidential.

Teenagers across the North Shore have been seen playing chicken with motorists by cycling into oncoming traffic, popping wheelies in the middle of the road and more. Photo from SCPD

Motorists are discovering a new trend and distraction on local roads. Across the North Shore, teenagers on bicycles have been playing chicken with cars — pedaling into oncoming traffic, swerving their bikes close to vehicles and popping wheelies in the middle of the road. Sometimes they are in pairs and other times in groups of up to a couple dozen.

Children playing chicken with cars has become a hot topic in various Facebook community and parents groups. Members of the Smithtown Moms Facebook group have witnessed 20 children on bikes spreading out across Meadow Road in Kings Park, doing wheelies. In the Three Village area, junior high schoolers were seen cutting off cars at Bennetts Road and Route 25A and laughing about it.

Photo from SCPD

What police officers are doing about it

When it comes to the incidents, Suffolk County Police Department’s 4th Precinct is hoping to get ahead of potential injuries and fatalities in its community as well as the whole of Suffolk County. Officers have compiled a video with clips of teens creating havoc on streets such as Meadow Road in Kings Park, Commack Road near the entrance to Northern State Parkway in Commack and Lake Shore Drive in Lake Ronkonkoma. While the video includes clips from Smithtown, 4th Precinct officers said the cases can be used as examples at any precinct.

The purpose is to use the video to educate parents after officers stop a youth for reckless bicycling. In these circumstances, the law enforcers confiscate bikes and bring the teenagers to the precinct. Parents are then called, according to Deputy Inspector Mark Fisher. He said many ask why the police department is putting so much effort into the trend.

“The realities are it’s a tremendous danger,” Fisher said. “I would say it is as deadly as heroin. In some ways, on a particular day and time, because you are going in front of cars, and you are risking people-on-the-road’s lives. In a lot of ways, it’s a tremendously big deal, because if one 14-year-old gets killed or his life changes dramatically because he’s crippled for life. We want to avoid that.”

Commanding Officer Michael Romagnoli said it’s not a new problem, but the number of incidents has increased over recent months. The police department does not want to dissuade people from riding their bikes, he said, they just want them to do it safely.

“They’re going in front of traffic, trucks, cars. It’s like the thrill of being in that unsafe position that they’re looking for.”

— Captain Karen Kolsch

“We’re not against them riding their bikes,” Romagnoli said. “Bicycling is actually a great sport. I’m not even opposed to the stunts provided that they are not doing it in the middle of a highway or a road. It’s not the location to do that. They are subject to vehicle and traffic regulations.”

Romagnoli said many teenagers might not realize how dangerous it is.

“The control of the bicycle is the steering, the handlebars,” Romagnoli said. “Right now, they are relying on balance, and they are relying on a motorist not to hit them when they are doing that swerve. Because they can’t predict how the motorist is going to react to their actions.”

Captain Karen Kolsch agreed.

“They are not doing the stunts on the side of the road to see how long they can do a wheelie,” Kolsch said. “They’re going in front of traffic, trucks, cars. It’s like the thrill of being in that unsafe position that they’re looking for.”

The officers said the intent of the 4th Precinct’s video, compiled by Officer Kelly Neeb, is to provide an opportunity to educate parents on how dangerous the situations are instead of punishing the riders. In turn, they are hoping the video will create a conversation between parents and teenagers.

Just like many teens take to social media to post their stunts, Neeb takes to the same resources to see what the bicyclists are doing on roads and how parents are reacting to the tricks in Facebook groups. The officer even found one bicyclist post a flyer that was circulating on social media warning children and parents about the dangers. On the Instagram account 631vinny, the user posted about the flyer, “That’s funny. I can honestly care less.”

“To them, it’s a big joke,” Neeb said.

Recently, after the Meadow Road incident where the officers brought the group of bicyclists to the 4th Precinct, parents were upset at the officers when they first arrived to pick up their sons. Fisher said once they explained what the teenagers were doing on the roads, and they showed the parents the video, their anger subsided.

“The last thing we want to do is go to a home and tell their parents that your child was struck by a vehicle.”

— Commanding Officer Michael Romagnoli

 

What parents can do

The officers said parents need to sit down with their children and ask who they are spending time with and discuss the rules of the road. Bicycles are treated as vehicles, and their handlers must follow the same laws as cars and trucks.

“The last thing we want to do is go to a home and tell their parents that your child was struck by a vehicle,” Romagnoli said, adding an accident between a car and bicycle would be a tragedy to the motorist too.

Romagnoli said as the sun goes down it becomes difficult for drivers to see with little to no adequate lighting on many roads. Due to this, bicyclists need to have lights or reflectors on their bikes, so they can be seen. The commanding officer added that to compound the problem, many riders are not wearing helmets.

Fisher said parents should be aware that most rides start out harmless.

“A lot of this starts as a bike ride, and then it progresses to the stunts,” Fisher said. “They want to outdo each other. They have some games where they get points for certain stunts.”

Neeb also suggested that parents check their children’s social media activity from time to time since some post videos of their stunts or invitations to meet up. She said even conducting general research online can help parents educate themselves as to what is going on with young bicyclists. One YouTube account 631.BikeLife shows some of the stunts.

Kolsch said it’s understandable that parents are glad to see their teens outside doing something physical and may not realize what they are up to.

“A lot of this starts as a bike ride, and then it progresses to the stunts.”

— Deputy Inspector Mark Fisher

“They’re thinking they’re not sitting inside with the Xbox all day and so happy to see them doing something they think is good,” she said.

How motorists can be vigilant

The first step is for motorists to be aware that this is happening on local roadways, and the officers said drivers should treat reckless bicyclists as they would any other hazard in the road. Slow down, stop if you have to and let the hazard pass. They also said to call 911 and to be as descriptive as possible, including descriptions of bikers and bicycles, location, number of riders, if they were swerving, crossing double lines, standing on their bikes or anything else that will help officers.

Romagnoli suggested treating an incident with a reckless bicyclist the same as “following behind someone who may be an intoxicated driver.”

If pedestrians encounter problems with a bicyclist on a sidewalk or while they are crossing a road, they also should call 911.

Motorists should avoid altercations with the bicyclists, and if an accident occurs, especially when a rider has been hit, Kolsch said drivers involved should not leave the scene and make sure to get all witnesses’ contact information.

Anyone with information about such incidents also can call 631-852-COPS.

Spreading the word

In addition to the 4th Precinct officers open to sharing the video with other precincts, Fisher said they also are reaching out to school districts to see if they can show the video in schools to let parents know this is happening.

The officers said while there can be incidents where bicyclists can be brought up on charges or parents can be fined, depending on what transpired and the age of the teenager, they’re hoping to avoid such a situation with the educational video.

“We’re not looking to arrest people,” Kolsch said. “We’re looking to keep people safe.”

Firefighters battle a kitchen fire at Mario's restaurant in East Setauket that traveled into the ceiling. Photo by Donna Deedy
Firefighters battle a kitchen fire at Mario’s restaurant in East Setauket that traveled into the ceiling. Photo by Donna Deedy

In the early morning hours of July 30, members of the Setauket Fire Department along with firefighters from surrounding companies battled a kitchen grease fire at Mario’s restaurant in East Setauket.

Lou Lasser IV of Mario’s said no one was in the restaurant when the fire, which spread to the ceiling, broke out.

Due to the heat, tents were set up in the adjoining parking lot to keep the first responders cool.

The restaurant is closed until further notice.

Thomas Kelsey was announced missing earlier this month. Photo from SCPD

A Centereach man who was announced missing earlier this month was found dead in his car July 25, police said.

Police said Kelsey was announced missing in a 2015 red GMC Yukon. Photo from SCPD

Thomas Kelsey, 45, of Centereach was found by a passerby who saw a vehicle in a ravine off Route 231 in North Babylon, and then called 911, Suffolk County Police said. 3rdPrecinct detectives said they believe Kelsey was driving his 2015 GMC Yukon north on Route 231 in North Babylon when the car left the roadway, crossed the median and crashed into the ravine in West Islip. Kelsey was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said the  incident appears to be non-criminal.

Kelsey was last seen leaving Venetian Shores Park, located at 850 Venetian Boulevard in Lindenhurst July 7 at around 10 p.m. in his red 2015 GMC Yukon. He was reported missing by an acquaintance July 9 at 1:30 a.m.

Social

9,376FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,153FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe