Police & Fire

A teenager was critically hurt in a Selden car crash on Election Day.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, 17-year-old Jenna Kozak was driving north on Nicolls Road, just past Portion Road, at about 7:30 p.m. when her 1999 Acura Integra crossed the median into the southbound lanes and crashed into a 2008 Jeep Wrangler.

Police said Kozak, a Mastic Beach resident, was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital. The Jeep’s driver, Vania Costa-Pereeira, a 32-year-old Farmingville resident, was treated at the same hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Detectives are investigating the two-car crash. They impounded both the Acura and the Jeep for safety checks.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

Port Jefferson residents say taxes should cover cost of medical care

The ambulance company serves Port Jefferson, Belle Terre and Mount Sinai. File photo

A presentation about the service of the Port Jefferson Volunteer Ambulance Company devolved into an argument about perceived unfair billing practices on Monday night, with residents, village officials and the ambulance company’s deputy chief going back and forth for an hour.

A few villagers are in a lather over the process for recouping expenses after an ambulance ride through a billing program that began a handful of years ago. Faced with rising costs in the ambulance district — which also serves Belle Terre and Mount Sinai — Port Jefferson Village officials authorized the emergency medical organization to bill insurance companies for service within their jurisdiction, with the funds offsetting local ambulance taxes.

The friction that heated up Monday night’s Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees meeting built around cases when an insurance company denied a claim or the patient had a hefty deductible — thus obligating the ambulance service and its third-party billing company to send a tab to that patient, according to PJVAC Deputy Chief Rob Stoessel.

Two residents who received such bills, Monica Williams and Mary Moore, expressed their dissatisfaction over the matter, saying the taxes they pay each year to the ambulance district should be enough and also complaining about the price tag.

“I’m paying my ambulance district tax,” Williams said. “I don’t really think that any village resident … should be looking at a bill like that. It’s surprising. It’s disappointing.”

She called it “being billed for the same thing twice.”

Before insurance, Stoessel said, the fee on a call for emergency medical care is $900, with an additional $18 for each mile the ambulance transports a patient.

“We went based on other agencies, other 911 services throughout the region,” he said about how the ambulance company arrived at that figure. “We went on what it cost us to provide the service,” including non-medical expenses like gasoline.

The deputy chief said the ambulance service and its billing company is required to make a “good faith attempt” to solicit deductibles from patients or whatever costs are associated with a trip that an insurance company denies coverage for.

According to comments from the residents, Williams was denied Medicare coverage for her treatment and Moore has a high deductible.

Mayor Margot Garant insisted it was not the board’s intention, when it authorized the ambulance company to bill insurance, to pass large bills along to residents.

“We didn’t want the resident to be pursued for any of the fees,” she said. But “the insurance companies, God bless them — collect every nickel from them.”

Although the mayor and Stoessel rejected responsibility, debating whether the billing was a village program or an ambulance program, they agreed that the idea was for patients to receive three notices for bills and there would be no consequences for not paying, as the ambulance company does not have a mechanism for collections.

But there was debate from the public about whether that was common knowledge in the village, or whether not paying would affect someone’s credit rating.

According to Garant, village officials are working out a method of waiving costs that would otherwise be passed along to patients — to limit the ambulance company to recouping costs only from insurance companies. She said that measure could be ready for approval by the next board meeting in two weeks.

Port Jefferson is not the only area with the idea of using insurance companies to offset taxpayer dollars. The Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps argued recently that billing private insurance companies for patient care would ultimately save taxpayer dollars for constituents. At an August work session in Smithtown, Tom Lowenberg of the Commack VAC said insurance reimbursements are a resource utilized typically at private ambulance companies, but not as much by volunteer groups.

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The Stonebridge Country Club is doused in flames Tuesday night. Photo from Jeff Bressler

By Phil Corso

A brutal blaze overtook the Stonebridge Country Club in Smithtown on Thursday night.

Calls came into the Smithtown Fire Department around 6 p.m. for the fire at 2000 Raynors Way inside the country club’s maintenance shop and golf cart storage facility, a spokesman for the department said. It took several crews of emergency responders to battle the flames, but no one was injured in the incident, officials said.

The cause the fire was under investigation.

Firefighters battle the blaze at the Stonebridge Country Club. Photo by Jeff Bressler
Firefighters battle the blaze at the Stonebridge Country Club. Photo by Jeff Bressler

“Upon arrival at the scene, the alarm was quickly upgraded to a working structural fire,” said Jeff Bressler, public information officer for the Smithtown Fire Department. “The two-story building was fully engulfed in fire and exterior attack began to get it under control.”

Bressler said the building suffered major damage. Its upper level, which was used to store golf carts, was deemed a total loss. The lower level, which housed maintenance equipment, was also heavily damaged.

Firefighters knocked down the front entry of the building once the flames were under control and started searching the inside, where they found no one was in the building and there was no extension of the fire, Bressler said.

It took fire officials from Smithtown, Hauppauge and Nesconset’s fire departments and ambulance support from Central Islipe and Hauppauge’s volunteer ambulance groups.

This version corrects the day of the fire.

Does not compute
Early in the morning on Oct. 23, an unknown person entered an unlocked business on Oakland Avenue in Port Jefferson and stole a computer.

NoGood
An unknown person stole a woman’s wallet from her purse on Oct. 25 while the woman shopped at the HomeGoods on Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station.

Got my eye on you
Police said a dispute broke out between two males on Main Street in Port Jefferson on Oct. 24, during which one punched the other in his face, near his eye. It was not clear if the victim needed medical attention after the altercation.

Left unlocked
An unknown person entered an unlocked 2005 Toyota Sequoia on Harbor Beach Road in Mount Sinai and stole assorted items between Oct. 22 at 9:30 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 3:30 a.m.

A clean getaway
At some point between Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, unknown people entered a residence on Norwich Road in Sound Beach through a basement window and stole a washing machine from the residence.

Beer me
Police said on Oct. 23 a man entered a store on Middle Country Road in Centereach and took a 12-pack of beer without paying.

Getting to work
On Oct. 24, an unidentified person stole work gloves and cell phone accessories from the Centereach Mall in Centereach.

Smashing pumpkins
An unknown person smashed a pumpkin in front of a residence on Ambassador Lane in Selden on Oct. 23, then threw another pumpkin through the front window of the residence. Police didn’t know if the individual was acting alone or with others.

Cold case
Police said three people took off in a yellow sedan after stealing five coats from the Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in Selden on Oct. 23.

Drove my Chevy to the jailhouse
Police arrested a 23-year-old woman from Centereach for driving while ability impaired on Oct. 23, after pulling her over for failing to maintain her lane while driving east in a 2004 Chevy on Chereb Lane in Port Jefferson Station. The officers arrested her at the scene at 1:15 a.m.

Larceny tour
Police arrested a 39-year-old man from Farmingville on four charges of petit larceny, after he hit different stores throughout the county. According to police, on Sept. 11, the man stole assorted merchandise from the Walmart in Centereach, then stole a snow blower from the Kmart in Farmingville 10 days later. On Oct. 5, he stole a vacuum from the Walmart on Middle Country Road in Middle Island, and on Oct. 20 stole toys from the Kmart on North Ocean Avenue in Farmingville. Police arrested the man at the 6th Precinct two days after the final incident.

Gone with the ganja
A 38-year-old woman from Mount Sinai was arrested for criminal possession of marijuana on Oct. 23, after Suffolk County police executed a search warrant at her residence on Island Trail in Mount Sinai. Officers found more than one pound of marijuana. Police did not elaborate on why the search warrant was issued.

Stay focused
A 33-year-old woman from Selden was arrested for unlicensed operation of a vehicle on Oct. 23, after she was pulled over while driving a 2005 Ford Focus down Route 25 in Centereach.

Low maintenance
On Oct. 25, a 25-year-old woman from Mount Sinai was arrested for driving while ability impaired. Police said the woman was driving a 2013 Hyundai east on Route 25A in Port Jefferson shortly after 1 a.m., when police pulled her over for failing to maintain her lane.

Targeted approach
A 42-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested for petit larceny on Oct. 25, after she stole clothing and toys from the Target on Pond Path in South Setauket.

Man gets batty
Police arrested a 50-year-old man from East Setauket for menacing after he prevented the female passenger in his 2002 Toyota from leaving the car on Oct. 26. The driver then exited his car with a baseball bat and hit her car. The incident occurred on Old Town Road in East Setauket.

Stolen apparel
A 36-year old man from Plainview was arrested after police said he stole assorted apparel from the Smith Haven Mall in Smithtown on Oct. 24. He was arrested at 1:20 p.m. and then, once he was taken to the 4th Precinct, police said he had an altered New York State identification card. He was charged with second degree forgery of an official document.

Smoke sign blows away
It was reported that business signs from Aroma Smoke Shop in Smithtown were damaged by four unknown teens at 4 p.m. on Oct. 24.

Xanax o’clock
Police said a 24-year old woman from Northport was in wrongful possession of Xanax at 5:55 a.m. at 4 Parsons Lane in Nissequogue on Oct. 22. She was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Not so lucky
Police said an unknown white man entered Gulf gas station on Nesconset Highway and fled with scratch lotto tickets on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.

Oxy-co-don’t
A 17-year old man from Smithtown was arrested after police said he was in possession of oxycodone at Commack Liquors on Route 25A in Commack on Oct. 23 at 6:05 p.m. He was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Rims gone
It was reported that two sets of rims and tires were stolen from a 2016 Cadillac Escalade at a dealership in Smithtown sometime between 10 p.m. on Oct. 20 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 21

Bad contact
On Oct. 22, a 23-year old woman from Commack was arrested after police said she hit someone on the head on Route 454 in Commack at 3 a.m. She was charged with second degree physical contact.

Home Depot items have new home
A 47-year old man from East Northport was arrested on Oct. 22 after police said he stole miscellaneous items from Home Depot on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at 10 p.m. He was charged with petit larceny.

Wrong turn
On Oct. 24, a 40-year old man from Bay Shore was arrested after police said he made an illegal left hand turn on Route 25A in Smithtown and they discovered he was driving drunk. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Boozing and speeding
A 36-year old man from Centereach was pulled over for speeding on Route 347 in Commack when it was discovered that he was driving drunk at 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 22. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Toke at the traffic stop
A 25-year-old man from Dix Hills was arrested when police said he had marijuana in plain view during a traffic stop on the corner of Lebkamp Avenue and Brennan Street in Huntington on Oct. 24. He was arrested at 7:50 p.m. and charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Welcome to New York
Police said a woman was punched and kicked in the face on New York Avenue in Huntington on Oct. 24 at 3:12 a.m. She was transported to Huntington Hospital for treatment of a broken nose.

Under control
On Oct. 21, a 20-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested after police said he had marijuana and another controlled substance on him at the corner of Park Avenue and Pulaski Road in Huntington Station. He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Police would not specify which other controlled substance the man had on him, nor why he was not charged with unlawfully possessing it.

Wild times
Someone reported that a wallet containing cash, a credit card and a driver’s license was stolen from a counter in Wild by Nature in Huntington on Oct. 23.

High times at the beach ramp
A 19-year-old man from Commack was arrested at 7:54 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the parking lot of the Hobart Beach boat ramp in Eaton’s Neck for having marijuana and another unspecified controlled substance on him. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Oh no in the Volvo
Someone entered a 1991 Volvo on Fort Salonga Road in Huntington on Oct. 23 and took medication and cash.

The nail polish remover
Police said a 30-year-old woman from East Northport stole 75 bottles of nail polish from a Walgreens on Larkfield Road in East Northport on Oct. 23. She was charged with petit larceny.

An unknown person stole numerous bottles of nail polish at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 21 from Walgreens on Larkfield road in Commack.

Puffing at the park
A 17-year-old man from Huntington was arrested after police said he possessed marijuana in plain view in Elwood Park in Huntington on Oct. 23 at 12:35 p.m. He was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

On the fence about staying
Early in the morning on Oct. 24, a 41-year-old man from Centerport was arrested after police said he hit a fence at a residence on Dunlop Road, at the intersection with Greenlawn Road in that neighborhood, with a 2008 Nissan and fled the scene. He was charged with leaving the scene of a crash and property damage.

Minor problem
A 69-year-old man from Lindenhurst was arrested after police said he was selling a can of beer to an underage person on Oct. 23 on New York Avenue. He was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child.

Three of the nation’s top comics to appear on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts

The Smithtown Fire Department is planning a comedy night to raise money for truck repairs. File photo

The Smithtown Fire Department will hold its third annual Bulldog Restoration Comedy Show to benefit the restoration of the department’s 1935 Mack Hook and Ladder truck.

The restoration of a historic piece of Smithtown and the Fire Department’s history is being totally paid for by the generosity of firefighters and donors. No taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the project.

Appearing at the 8 p.m. show are three fan favorite comedians. On the schedule are Dion Flynn, the face and voice of Barack Obama on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Seth Herzog, comic, actor and warm-up act to get the audience going each night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and the great Gilbert Gottfried, beloved stand-up comedian, actor and voice artist.

Tickets are priced at $60 each and include the show, an open beer, soda and wine bar and intermission snacks.

To purchase tickets online visit the Smithtown Fire Department website at www.smithtownfd.org or call 631-486-0958.

File photo

A 57-year-old Floral Park woman riding on the back of a motorcycle died after being ejected in a collision with an SUV in Northport on Sunday evening.

Mary Santry-Rosenvinge was driving a 2015 Toyota RAV4 east on Fort Salonga Road at about 5:35 p.m. and, as she attempted to make a left-hand turn into her driveway west of Sandy Hollow Road, her car struck a 2008 Harley Davidson motorcycle that had been traveling west, according to police.

Martha Garcia, who had been riding on the back of the bike, was pronounced dead at the hospital. James Losito, 53, the driver of the motorcycle and Garcia’s boyfriend, and Santry-Rosenvinge, a 66-year-old Northport resident, were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Huntington Hospital, according to cops.

The vehicles were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this incident to contact the Second Squad at 854-8252.

Thomas Stavola mugshot from the DA's office

A cardiologist has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, drunk driving and leaving the scene of a Smithtown car crash, 16 months after he killed a fellow medical professional and mother of three.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday that Setauket doctor Thomas Stavola, now 56, will spend two years in prison and five years on probation after last year’s crash, during which his Audi broadsided victim Monica Peterman’s Mercedes at the intersection of Routes 25 and 111. It was shortly before 4 a.m., and Peterman, 45, had been on her way to work as an X-ray technician at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center. Instead, the Middle Island resident was pronounced dead at that same hospital she had worked for more than 10 years.

District Attorney Tom Spota said previously that the doctor, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, left the scene without helping Peterman.

“Witnesses who came upon the crash scene said the defendant suddenly left and began walking west on Route 25,” Spota said in a previous statement. “What I found most troubling is the fact that a physician chose not to render any kind of aid or use his cellphone to call 911 to get some assistance for a seriously injured motorist.”

The DA said those witnesses gave police officers a description of Stavola, and a sergeant on his way to the scene spotted the man about 500 feet from the crash, walking quickly with his head down.

According to the DA’s office, Stavola had a .10 blood alcohol content 90 minutes after the fatal incident.

The impact of the collision had embedded Stavola’s front license plate into the side door of Peterman’s car.

Stavola originally pleaded not guilty to his charges. The victim’s family filed a $20 million civil lawsuit against him last year, saying they hoped it would help make punishments stricter for drunk drivers.

But Stavola changed his plea and Peterman’s family supported the two-year sentence and probation, the DA’s office said. Husband Russell Peterman said in a statement that his family wanted to let go of the anger they felt toward Stavola and realized he deserved another chance “to go back to helping people.”

We’re on the case
Police said an unidentified person stole an iPhone case from the Walmart at the Centereach Mall on Oct. 18 around 1:15 p.m.

Narcissistic steal
An unidentified person entered a residence on Narcissus Road in Rocky Point and stole jewelry from the bedroom on Oct. 18, between 2 and 9 a.m.

Hear me roar
An 18-year-old man from Stony Brook was charged with disorderly conduct and damaging property on Oct. 16 after police said he yelled and threatened people nearby and punched a glass window. The incident and arrest took place at a residence on Main Street.

Capt. Underpants
Police charged a 34-year-old woman from Southold with burglary and illegal entry with intent on Oct. 18, after the woman entered the Kohl’s on Route 25A in Rocky Point and stole men’s underwear. Police arrested the woman at the scene 15 minutes after the incident.

A burglary not Selden seen
On Oct. 15 at 3:56 a.m., an unidentified person entered someone else’s residence on Middle Country Road in Selden and stole cash. Police did not say if the person broke into the home or found another means of entering the property.

On the fence
Around Oct. 15, someone broke the fence and an adjacent gutter of the Tierney & Tierney law office in Port Jefferson Station.

Bottling it up
The Suffolk County Police Department said an unidentified person was hit in the head with a bottle at Schafer’s restaurant in Port Jefferson. The incident happened around 2:50 a.m. on Oct. 17.

It’s in the bag
On Oct. 17 around 5 p.m. a woman left her purse unattended at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and it was stolen.

Thank you very Munch
Police said an unidentified person broke the front glass window of the Munch Repair Service on North Country Road in Stony Brook on Oct. 15 and stole change and cigars.

Put it on my cart
Suffolk County police arrested a 54-year-old woman and a 48-year-old woman for petit larceny on Oct. 15, after police said these two women from Middle Island walked into the Walmart in Setauket and attempted to steal a shopping cart of various items. The 48-year-old was walking with the cart while the 54-year-old was placing items into it as they attempted to leave the store.

Out of control
Suffolk County police said that on Oct. 16 a 17-year-old male from Port Jefferson Station was found in possession of narcotics. The teen was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Don’t sweat it
Police arrested a 29-year-old man from East Setauket for petit larceny on Oct. 18, about a month after the man took a knife and sweatpants from a business on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook.

It wasn’t me
A 45-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested on Oct. 16 for unlicensed operation of a vehicle. The man was driving a 1998 Chevrolet down Nesconset Highway when he was pulled over for an unknown reason. According to police, he was also in criminal possession of a controlled substance and gave the officer a fake identity.

Needle in hand
A 34-year-old man from Hauppauge was arrested at 12:50 a.m. on Oct. 17 after police said he had a hypodermic needle in his hand while sitting in a 2001 Nissan at Miller Pond State Park in Smithtown. He was charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Broken windows
It was reported that a window of a building was broken at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown on the property at 11 a.m. on Oct. 16

Stealing from a friend
A 52-year-old woman from East Northport was arrested at the 4th Precinct on Oct. 16 at 7:30 a.m. for a crime committed at an earlier time. According to police she stole clothing valuing more than $3,000 between June 1 and Sept. 11 from someone. She was charged with third-degree grand larceny.

Skates and stealth
Someone reported that while they were roller-skating in Robert A. Brady Park in Smithtown they left their wallet on a bench and it was taken between 4 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 16.

Trying to Dodge the incident
On Oct. 15 a 33-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested at Townline Road in Kings Park at 6 p.m. for a crime committed at an earlier date. Police said on Sept. 22 he was driving a 2002 Dodge pickup truck at the corner of Old Commack Road and Old Northport Road in Kings Park when he hit another car and fled the scene at 4:15 p.m. He was charged with leaving the scene of incident and property damage. 

Fire department heats up
A man was punched in the face at the Smithtown Fire Department at 7:40 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Fight on Pine
A 49-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested at his house on Oct. 13 at 5:22 p.m. for punching a man in the face on Pine Street in St. James on Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. according to police. He was charged with third-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury.

Ladies don’t get in this Mercedes
It was reported that all four tires and rims of a 2015 Mercedes on Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset were stolen between 10 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 16.

Outside the lines
Police said a 55-year-old man from Westbrook was failing to maintain his lane on Mayfair Terrace in Commack at 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 16 and was pulled over. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Five-finger shopping spree
A 43-year-old woman from Ronkonkoma was arrested after police said she stole clothing from multiple stores on Oct. 14 including clothes from Sears on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at 1 p.m. and clothes from TJ Maxx on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at 4:50 p.m. She was charged with petit larceny.

Drunken speeding
On Oct. 17 a 43-year-old woman from Ronkonkoma was arrested after police said she was speeding on the Long Island Expressway by Exit 51 in a 2013 Toyota RAV4. She was arrested at 10:17 p.m. and was charged with driving while intoxicated.

An ‘old scam with a new twist’ is soliciting money from some PSEG Long Island customers and threatening to cut off service if payments are not made immediately. Stock photo

Long Island utility PSEG said residents across Nassau and Suffolk counties have been receiving suspicious phone calls threatening to cut their service if they don’t immediately pay bills that don’t exist.

An alert from PSEG Long Island said both residential and business customers have been receiving calls from tricksters claiming to be employees of the utility company and warning that their electric service would soon be cut if payments are not made to them the same day. Similar scams have been reported across the country, with PSEG being one of the latest to see customers fall victim to them, the utility said in a statement.

It was described as an “old scam with a new twist,” in which scammers spoof PSEG Long Island’s interactive voice response system prompt menu so that when customers call back, they are presented with an interaction that is similar to one they would receive if they called PSEG Long Island’s real customer service line.

“The scammers tell customers that, in order to avoid being shut off, they must immediately pay their bill with a prepaid card that can be purchased at many pharmacies and retail stores,” the utility said in a statement.

Dan Eichhorn, vice president of customer services for PSEG Long Island, said there were striking similarities in each of the scams.

“Scammers ask the customer to give them the number on the back of the pre-paid card and take the money from the card — usually within a matter of minutes,” he said in a statement. “This scam has affected companies across the country. We urge our customers to always use caution when making payments.”

The utility reassured that it would never force a customer to give them the number of a prepaid card, especially with such urgency. In a statement, PSEG Long Island said that suspicious residents should hang up the phone if they receive such a call and call back directly to test the validity of that call.

“When PSEG Long Island makes an outbound phone call to customers, customer-specific information is shared with the customer,” PSEG Long Island said in a statement. “That information includes the account name, address, number and current balance. If customers do not receive this correct information, they likely are not speaking with a PSEG Long Island representative.”

The number on the back of PSEG Long Island customer bills is 1-800-490-0025.

PSEG Long Island said the utility was working with local and national law enforcement to investigate the matter further and is reaching out to its contacts at local community service agencies, asking them to spread the word to their clients.

Teens accused of altering students' grades, schedules

Daniel Soares mugshot from SCPD

Three students from Commack High School were arrested Tuesday morning and accused of breaking into their school district’s computer system to change two students’ grades and nearly 300 students’ schedules, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Cops identified the three 17-year-olds as Alex Mosquera of East Northport and Commack natives Daniel Soares and Erick Vaysman, alleging they were behind an unauthorized breach of the Commack Union Free School District’s computer system back in July. They surrendered to detectives on Tuesday around 7:30 a.m. and were scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip later in the day, police said.

Attorney information for the three teenagers was not immediately available.

Alexander Mosquera mugshot from SCPD
Alexander Mosquera mugshot from SCPD

Police said they were first notified of the data breach in July, when the Commack school district determined an unauthorized person, or group of people, accessed its network and altered the schedules of nearly 300 students. The district was able to identify the alterations and correct the schedules before students arrived for class in September, the district said. The county police department’s computer crimes section also investigated the breach and found two students’ grades were altered, SCPD said.

The district posted news of the arrest on its website Tuesday morning, but did not identify the students by name.

“We know that the actions of a few students do not reflect on the entire student body,” the Commack Union Free School District said in the statement. “From kindergarten through high school graduation, the district teaches and reinforces the attributes that contribute to good character: courtesy, honesty, attaining pride, responsibility, accountability, compassion, tolerance, endurance and respect. With reinforcement and guidance by their families, our students reflect those values.”

Erick Vaysman mugshot from SCPD
Erick Vaysman mugshot from SCPD

Mosquera was charged with computer trespass and criminal solicitation; Soares was charged with burglary, computer tampering, identity theft, computer trespass and eavesdropping; and Vaysman was charged with computer tampering and criminal solicitation, cops said Tuesday. The arrests came just weeks after the district went public with news of the initial breach, which was posted to its website last month. In response, the district bulked up its data protection protocols by adding security features to student management systems and implementing a 24-hour active monitoring program.

Some of the information that may have been viewed, the district said, included student identification numbers, names, addresses, contact information and schedules. Social security numbers, however, are not in the student management system.

Password protection safeguards and network protocols also prevented any further access to the district’s data management system and kept private and personal information safe, the district said in a statement.
“We believe the initial data breach only involved a very limited number of high school student records,” the district said in a statement. “The district continues to cooperate fully with local law enforcement agencies, and our IT department is working closely with the police to provide digital data to assist law enforcement. In addition, a full electronic security review is underway with a company that specializes in network security.”

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