Police & Fire

Asharoken Police Officer-in-Charge Ray Mahdesian inspects the damage to the rowboat. Photo by Steve Silverman

A pair of siblings jumped out of a rowboat moments before a 22-foot vessel struck it in Asharoken last Friday.

Asharoken Village Police responded to a boat collision in Duck Island Harbor on July 3 at 3:45 p.m. involving a MasterCraft boat that, while towing two water boarders, struck the rowboat, according to Steve Silverman, a spokesman for the police.

The rowboat was severely damaged and partially sank following the collision.

According to Silverman, the operator of the MasterCraft boat, Stephen Plackis of Huntington, was issued two summonses, one for operating a vessel without an Asharoken Village water ski permit, and one for unsafe boat operation.

Attempts to reach Plackis on Monday were unsuccessful.

Plackis took aboard the passengers of the rowboat, a boy and a girl from Asharoken, after the collision. They were able to retrieve the submerged boat and tow it to shore.

The Northport Fire Department Rescue Squad transported the male in the rowboat to Huntington Hospital for observation, where he was later released. Plackis, his four passengers and two wake boarders were uninjured.

This version of the article corrects Steve Silverman’s title. 

File photo.

A holiday weekend sobriety checkpoint netted nine arrests in Port Jefferson Station, Suffolk County police said.

Cops teamed up with officers from the state Police Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to set up the overnight checkpoint on Route 25A between 11:15 p.m. and 3:15 a.m. on July 3 into July 4 and arrested residents from several different communities, police said. A total of 761 vehicles made it through the checkpoint and nine were arrested on various charges, including driving while intoxicated and driving while ability impaired, cops said.

Four residents were charged with driving while intoxicated, including Lisa Strickland, 27, of Port Jefferson, John Jakob, 22, of Selden, Ibidapo Kayode, 21, of the Bronx and David Morgan, 29, of Riverhead, police said.

Two suspects were arrested and charged with driving while ability impaired, including Oscar Quiles Jr., 29, of Bellport and Catherine Frenkel, 30, of Chappaqua, cops said.

Two others were charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, including Robert Smith, 49, of Blue Point and Charles Leo, 18, of Miller Place, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Arnold Roundtree, 30, of Shirley, was also arrested and charged with driving without an ignition interlock device and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, the police said.

The operation was conducted for the sake of preventing injuries and fatalities associated with driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs during the holiday weekend, police said.

A Middle Island man was arrested over the weekend and charged in connection with an armed robbery in Kings Park that left one victim with a bullet wound to the leg, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Gaven Benson is being charged with assault, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon after an incident in Kings Park on July 1. Photo from SCPD
Gaven Benson is being charged in connection with an armed robbery in Kings Park on July 1. Photo from SCPD

Gaven Benson, 16, was a guest in Amal Cummings’ home on Old Dock Road in Kings Park to help her move on July 1 when police said he pointed a gun and demanded money from both Cummings and her friend, 29-year-old Brentwood man Henry Wrobel, to which Cummings complied. The teen then shot Wrobel once in the leg and fled around 11:15 p.m., cops said.

Wrobel was treated at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown and later released, Suffolk County police said.

Benson was arrested on Northbridge Drive in Coram at about 4:45 p.m. on July 3 after a police investigation and charged with assault, robbery, attempted robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.

His attorney could not be reached.

File photo

A routine speeding stop in Huntington yielded much greater results over the holiday weekend when Suffolk County police arrested Bayshore man Mohamed Khan for driving while intoxicated, among other charges, authorities said.

Suffolk County Police Highway Patrol Officer Robert Scudellari initially flashed his lights behind Khan, 42, for speeding on the eastbound Long Island Expressway between exits 51 and 52 around 1:50 a.m. on July 3, police said. The officer soon learned that Khan, who was driving a 2013 Kia, was also under the influence of alcohol and his license had been revoked, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

Mohamed Khan is accused of driving while intoxicated, among other charges. Photo from SCPD
Mohamed Khan is accused of driving while intoxicated, among other charges. Photo from SCPD

Police also said the man was in violation of his New York State driver’s license restriction that he operate a motor vehicle only if it is equipped with an ignition interlock device, cops said.

Khan was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle without an interlock device, police said. He was also charged with criminal contempt in the second degree for violating a court order that stipulated he refrain from consuming alcohol, cops said.

The Suffolk County Police Department also said the man had an outstanding warrant for committing the same offence back in January, and had collected seven traffic tickets for vehicle and traffic law violations by the time of his arrest.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

A Huntington Station woman who crashed into 10 cars on New York Avenue in Huntington on Wednesday was arrested charged with driving while impaired by drugs, according to police.

Barbara LaMantia, 58, was driving a 2015 Dodge Challenger on the major thoroughfare when police said she went on a car-crashing spree at about 2 p.m. She was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, property damage and first-degree operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs, according to a police spokeswoman.

LaMantia did not injure any of the drivers in the cars she struck, however she did cause massive property damage, police said. She was arrested at the intersection of New York Avenue and Elm Street. LaMantia was taken to Huntington Hospital following her arrest.

Attorney information for LaMantia was not immediately available on Thursday afternoon.

iPad grab busted
Suffolk County Police arrested three individuals in connection with stealing 12 Apple iPads from Walmart on Crooked Hill Road in Commack on Aug. 25, 2014 at about 7:30 p.m. Police said a 20-year-old woman from Bay Shore, a 24-year-old man from Waterbury and a 32-year-old woman from Bellport were all charged with third-degree grand larceny. Each in the trio was arrested on different dates ranging from May 18 to June 27.

What a blow
A 23-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested in Smithtown on June 28 and charged with third-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury. Police said that on Nov. 16, 2014, at about 12:21 a.m., the man hit another man on the top of his head, causing a laceration. The incident happened on Pulaski Road in Kings Park. The victim had to go to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown.

Get drunk, crash and flee
Suffolk County Police arrested a 66-year-old man from Nesconset on June 27 and charged him with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident where there was property damage. Police said the man, who was driving a 2002 Jeep, struck a 2005 Jeep three times on Route 347 in Nesconset at 10:12 p.m. on June 27, causing damage. He then fled the scene without exchanging information, and was later stopped and charged with driving while intoxicated.

CVS shoplifted
Police arrested a 24-year-old man from Nesconset on June 25 and charged him with petit larceny. Police said the man stole merchandise — they couldn’t say exactly what — from a CVS on Middle Country Road in Centereach on May 15 at 5:44 p.m. He was arrested at his home on Truval Lane at about 6:30 p.m.

Back up and out
A 63-year-old woman from Kings Park was arrested at her home on Kohr Road for first-degree leaving the scene of an accident and failing to show license/identification. The woman was arrested on June 28 for an incident that occurred on June 18 at 4:35 p.m. Police said the woman, who was driving a 2010 Nissan, backed into a 2014 Lexus on Broadhollow Road in Melville and fled.

Busted with syringes
Police arrested a 23-year-old man from Northport on June 27 and charged him with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Police said the man possessed hypodermic syringes in his vehicle on Pulaski Road in Kings Park on June 27 at 12:26 p.m. He was arrested at the scene.

Shattered windows
Someone reported to police that windows were broken on a vacant building located on Maple Avenue in Smithtown sometime between June 2 and June 28. There are no arrests.

This trash is on fire
A garbage pail full of yard debris on Dewey Street in Port Jefferson Station was burned at some point between June 27 and June 28.

I spy punches
A 24-year-old man was arrested in front of Junior’s Spycoast bar on Main Street in Port Jefferson at around 2:30 a.m. and was charged with second-degree harassment after he pushed and attempted to punch a police officer.

Designer thief
Between June 25 at 6 p.m. and June 26 at 10:30 a.m. an unknown person took items, including a Michael Kors bag and money, from a Volkswagen and a Toyota parked on Jamaica Avenue in Port Jefferson.

Insta-threat
A Mount Sinai resident reported on June 26 that a high-school-aged girl threatened a male student over Instagram.

Full throttle
The front fender of a Harley-Davidson parked at a Pipe Stave Hollow Road residence in Mount Sinai was damaged at some point between June 22 and June 24.

Details
A 2014 Toyota’s paint was damaged while parked at a residence on Oakland Avenue in Miller Place on June 25 between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Snooping
A North Country Road homeowner in Miller Place reported on June 24 that the panel of a back door was damaged and a person possibly went through items in their home.

Beach party gone wrong
A security guard at the beach off of Friendship Drive in Rocky Point was struck in the head by a bottle. According to police, at around 10:40 p.m. on June 24, the guard had asked a group of youths to leave the beach and the individuals started throwing bottles. The guard wasn’t injured and no arrests have been made.

Tired of this
A customer at a Centereach Goodyear Service Center was accused of harassment and causing public alarm after he entered the Middle Country Road business on June 28 and demanded his car be fixed. The man then pushed the complainant after being told he would have to wait.

Imperial Civil War
A 29-year-old man was arrested on Imperial Drive in Selden on June 24 after he went to a residence and ran up to the complainant, swinging his fists, and then wrestled the man to the ground. The man is charged with second-degree harassment.

No happy meal
Police said a group of teens damaged a fence in the parking lot of McDonald’s  on Nesconset Highway at Stony Brook. There are no arrests.

Money taken
Someone broke in through the side door of Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street in Setauket-East Setauket and stole money, sometime between 11 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. from June 27 to June 28. There are no arrests.

Boat burglary
Someone entered a boat docked at Setauket Harbor and stole safety flairs and a toolbox, sometime between June 20 and June 28. There are no arrests.

Package stolen
Someone lifted a packaged delivered to a home on Old Town Road in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between June 26 and June 27. There are no arrests.

Car keyed
Police said someone keyed a 2008 Cadillac Escalade parked at Walmart on Nesconset Highway sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on June 25.

Double ‘O’ Landscaping Inc. owner Richard Orvieto. Photo from the attorney general's office

Suffolk County officials arrested Richard Orvieto, 55, of Stony Brook on Tuesday and charged him with failing to pay overtime to workers.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Orvieto, the owner and operator of Double “O” Landscaping Inc., committed wage theft while operating his Stony Brook-based business.

From Aug. 24, 2011, to Jan. 31, 2014, Orvieto hired workers and allegedly neglected to pay them overtime, according to a criminal complaint. Toward the end of 2013 Orvieto fired three of these employees and neglected to pay them for their final week at the company, the attorney general said.

The Attorney General’s office said Orvieto was supposed to pay his employees one and one half times their regular pay if they worked more than 40 hours a week. The three unidentified employees who were fired allegedly worked around 20 hours of overtime per week and were not compensated, Schneiderman said.

Orvieto now owes these employees more than $13,000, according to the attorney general.

Orvieto is also charged with defrauding the state unemployment insurance system for paying wages in cash off the books. Schneiderman said he did not report the wages of two of the three former employees and several other workers to the state unemployment insurance fund for this quarterly period.

Double “O” Landscaping’s quarterly return files did not include the names of the fired employees consistently, the complaint said. For the quarterly return files, filed from July 31, 2012, to Jan. 31, 2014, did not include the names of the three fired workers, Schneiderman said.However, Orvieto’s name consistently appeared on these documents.

The landscape business owner “is also liable for unpaid unemployment insurance contributions, fraud penalties and interest to the state unemployment insurance system totaling more than $19,000,” the attorney general said in a press release.

Orvieto was arraigned on June 22 in the 1st District Court in Central Islip. His next court date was set for Aug. 25.

He faces felony charges for falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing both in the first degree. Orvieto also faces two unclassified misdemeanors for failure to pay wages under Labor Law Section 198-a(1) and Willful Failure to Pay Unemployment Insurance Contributions. If convicted, he faces maximum jail sentence of four years.

Orvieto and his company will also “face maximum fines, in addition to restitution, of $20,000 for each count.”

Orvieto’s defense attorney, Paul Kalker of Hauppauge, was unavailable for comment.

Under New York law, employers are required “to pay wages no later than seven days after the end of the week when the wages were earned and to report all wages paid to employees on quarterly tax filings with the state,” according to the attorney general’s office.

Schneiderman was unavailable for further comment but said in the press release that protecting hardworking New York employees is a priority.

“My office will take aggressive action, including criminal charges, where appropriate, against business workers who fail to properly compensate their workers, and who try to avoid other laws by paying workers off the books,” Schneiderman said.

The Suffolk County Police Department is seeking federal funds to purchase body cameras. File photo

While the Suffolk County Police Department has applied for federal funding to embed body cameras into its force, officials recognized that there is a long way to go in terms of establishing protocol and before officers start donning the devices.

In May, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a $20 million Body-Worn Camera Pilot Partnership Program, with $17 million going toward competitive grants to purchase the cameras, $2 million for training and technical assistance, and $1 million for the development of evaluation tools to study the best practices.

The pilot is part of President Barack Obama’s (D) proposal to invest $75 million over three years to purchase 50,000 body cameras for law enforcement agencies.

The program’s launch follows a series of high profile incidents, including the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in Staten Island and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Md., which raised questions of alleged police brutality.

“Body cameras and new technology will not be going away, and if it benefits the officers and citizens of Suffolk County, we are interested,” Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon said in a phone interview.

An Economist/YouGov poll published earlier this year stated that 88 percent of Americans support police officers wearing body cameras, and 56 percent strongly favor the idea, while only 8 percent oppose.

“This body-worn camera pilot program is a vital part of the Justice Department’s comprehensive efforts to equip law enforcement agencies throughout the country with the tools, support and training to tackle the 21st century challenges we face,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement.

According to a camera implementation guide from the Justice Department, “by providing a video record of police activity, body-worn cameras have made their operations more transparent to the public, and have helped resolve questions following an encounter between officers and members of the public.”

While the program seeks to protect officers and citizens, Fallon said there are issues and concerns.

“This is more than simply about body cameras itself,” he said.

Suffolk County Chief of Support Services Stuart Cameron said one of the biggest issues is how to store the videos. Not only would archiving be expensive, the volume of high definition videos would be “tremendous.”

New protocols would also have to be established to determine how long a video is saved, and in what circumstances the video could be used.

The issue of privacy would need to be tackled before any body cameras go into action, as well.

“We don’t know if citizens would be OK with cameras filming in their house,” Fallon said.

In addition, police have to figure out how to handle sensitive cases dealing with witnesses and sexual assault victims, as their identities need to be protected.

The procedure of when to turn the camera off and on is not set in stone by the Justice Department. Rather, the grant program is intended to help identify the best practice for a body camera’s many uses, including when, and when not, to film.

“At what point does it become a privacy issue?” Cameron said. “Does a citizen’s right override protocol to continue filming?”

There are more than 2,700 different types of sworn officers in the SCPD, including plain-clothes officers, detectives and chiefs. The department would need to determine if every type of officer would wear a body camera.

Fallon and Cameron said the department would look at pilot programs across the country to see how they are handling the issues, and would also want to hear residents’ thoughts.

If a grant is received, community meetings will be held to educate the public.

Officers would have to be trained as well.

“Giving clear information to the officers is important,” said Fallon.

In 2012, a police department in Rialto, California partnered with the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, in England, and randomly assigned body-worn cameras to various officers across 988 shifts. The study showed a 60 percent reduction in officer use of force incidents.

The study also showed that shifts without cameras experience twice as many use of force incidents as shifts with cameras. There was an 88 percent reduction in citizen complaints between the year prior to camera implementation and the year following deployment.

In the county police’s application, the department had to establish an implementation plan and a training policy.  Fallon said he was unable to provide additional details.

Police forces can expect to hear if they’ve received the grant by Oct. 1, according to the Justice Department.

Joan LaRocca, a public affairs specialist for the department, said 50 law enforcement agencies, along with one training and one technical assistance provider, are expected to receive grants.

A man robbed a bank in Centereach on Friday, and police are still looking for the culprit.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the suspect entered he Peoples United Bank on Middle Country Road at 11:30 a.m. that day and gave a teller a note demanding cash. After the teller complied, the man fled on foot.

Police described the suspect as being a white male with a heavy build between 45 and 50 years old, and about 5 feet 7 inches tall. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, a black T-shirt, dark jeans and sunglasses.

Detectives from the SCPD’s Pattern Crime Unit are investigating the robbery. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.

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Ketan Shah photo from SCPD

Police arrested three people they allege were illegally selling fireworks with names like Saturn Missiles, Splendid Flower, Big Bad Bucket, Anaconda and Tornado Alley.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, officers working off an anonymous tip on Saturday afternoon found about 65 boxes of fireworks — both on display with price tags in front of the store and in the back room — at the Card Smart on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station, just south of Route 347.

The officers arrested the store’s owner, 46-year-old Hicksville resident Ketan Shah, as well as employees Vijaykumar Patel, a 30-year-old Elmhurst resident, and Nancy Sapienza, 65, of Ridge, charging all of them with unlawfully dealing with fireworks, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

Police said the employees were issued field appearance tickets while Shah was arraigned on Sunday.

Shah’s lawyer, Riverhead-based Richard Pellegrino, declined to comment on the case Monday morning, saying he was still investigating the case.

Attorney information for Patel and Sapienza was not available.

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