Police & Fire

Photo from SCPD

It was like a scene out of “Mission: Impossible” — four guys damage a vacant building at the Vanderbilt Museum and then flee to a waiting boat and get away.

The Suffolk County Police Department said it is on the hunt for the suspects, who allegedly damaged a door and roof panel on a building at the Centerport museum on Little Neck Road on Friday afternoon.

Police said after a witness noticed the vandals, the men fled in a red boat that had been parked on the adjacent beach.

Officers from the SCPD’s 2nd Precinct Crime Section and Suffolk County Crime Stoppers are asking for the public’s help to identify and locate the men, who are wanted for criminal mischief. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS. There is a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

The Suffolk County Police Department arrested a Staten Island man early Friday morning after officers allegedly found him stealing 800 pounds of cooking oil from two local restaurants.

Police said the officers, Daniel Denig and John McAleavey of the 2nd Precinct, were patrolling in Huntington at 6 a.m. when they spotted a man stealing cooking oil from a holding container behind the New York Avenue businesses, New York Pizza and New China Restaurant.

The two restaurants, in a strip of stores off of New York Avenue just west of Lowndes Avenue, put their used cooking oil into that holding container, police said, and the container is owned by Newark-based biofuel recycling company Darling International.

Officers arrested the suspect, 36-year-old Joskey Henry, and charged him with petit larceny. The suspect is a resident of a neighborhood in northeastern Staten Island, near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Attorney information for the defendant was not immediately available.

A police department spokesperson said in a phone interview Friday that Henry’s vehicle was “impounded for evidence,” but the exact details of the vehicle’s connection to the crime were not immediately clear.

Police are still investigating the case.

Cops say arrests are up and recent violence gang-related

Christina Fudenski, a Greenlawn resident, speaks with police officer Angela Ferrara at South Huntington Public Library on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Residents of Huntington are calling for an increase in staffing at the Suffolk County Police Department’s 2nd Precinct in the wake of three separate shootings that occurred in less than a month.

Deputy Inspector William Read assured community members gathered at South Huntington Public Library on Wednesday, Aug. 13, that the police force is completely competent in its current size, but residents were not convinced.

“We want to ask for outside help,” Jim McGoldrick, a Huntington Station resident said. “We can’t go on this way, our kids are being shot at.”

Luis Hernandez, 21, Aaron Jolly, 18, and Nelson Hernandez, 22, all survived shootings in the Huntington Station and Greenlawn area in late July and August. Luis Hernandez and Jolly both suffered from gunshot wounds to their legs, and Nelson Hernandez was shot in the back.

“What we’re doing is working, our program is effective, and crime stats are down dramatically,” Read said. “We are having success, but it can’t be 100 percent.”

The police associate many of the recent problems in the area with gangs, and Read said that gang cops have been out undercover investigating these cases constantly. He said there are a number of social programs combatting gang issues as well.

But the crowd argued that not enough is being done, and that more problems are arising.

Lisa MacKenzie, a Huntington resident, asked what the police are doing about the ongoing problem of intoxicated individuals passing out in the streets in Huntington Station.

“Why are these individuals taken to the hospital and not arrested?”

Officer Angela Ferrara explained that it is always the duty of the police and the standard procedure to treat someone medically first. She also noted that this has become a concern in many different areas in Huntington.

“What if I am on Depot Road in the future and hit [someone] who is intoxicated and attempting to cross the street, who will actually get in trouble then?” MacKenzie said. “We need drunk crossing signs, instead of deer crossing signs.”

Residents also complained about the how 911 dispatchers handle calls. Several said in the past, dispatchers have told them to either leave their car or house to get closer to a scene.

“They had the nerve to tell me to flag down one of the patrol cars when I called, and to get out of my car…this is putting the public at risk,” Nicholas Wieland, of The Huntingtonian news website, said. “You guys have some homework to do with the 911 service.”

Robert Finnerty, a Huntington Station resident, brought his son to the meeting, and said he is now afraid to go outside.

“We have people in the street across from us saying ‘I will shoot you in the street, I will kill you,’ and it’s scaring my son,” Finnerty said. He said the residents yelling this are people living in single dwelling homes occupied by five different families.

“We have to go after the overcrowded houses,” McGoldrick said. “It’s not fair to the police officers and fire firefighters. One of the biggest problems is how housing is handled in this town.”

As members of the audience agreed housing is a town issue, not a police one, the tone changed toward a desire to see a change in leadership in Huntington Town. Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) and Councilman Gene Cook (R) were both present at the meeting, as well as Huntington Town Board candidate Jennifer Thompson, a member of the Northport-East Northport school board.

Despite the criticism throughout the night, the 2nd Precinct deputy inspector defended the department’s work.

“We’re covering all our sectors, we’ve been doing it for years,” he said.

A crime of fashion
Suffolk County police said a 34-year-old woman from Smithtown was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 9 and charged with two counts of petit larceny. Police said she stole assorted cosmetics valued at $250 from a CVS in Nesconset on Smithtown Boulevard, on April 24 and 27. She was arrested at the 4th Precinct at 10:15 a.m.

Drug seller caught
A 22-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 8 and charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a narcotic with intent to sell. Police said he was arrested at his home on Portion Road and was in possession of heroin.

Busted with two drugs
Police said a 49-year-old Smithtown man was arrested on Aug. 8 and charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said he was arrested on Brooksite Drive in Smithtown. The man was driving a 1996 Lincoln northbound with a flat tire. After cops stopped him, they found him in possession of two drugs — heroin and cocaine.

King of beers
A 55-year-old man from Kings Park was arrested on Aug. 9 in Kings Park and charged with petit larceny. Police said he stole three cans of Red Stripe beer and a package of toilet paper from a Smithtown Stop & Shop at 6:20 p.m. on July 31.

Door damaged
A Rite Aid pharmacy on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station reported on Aug. 5 that a rear door had been damaged.

Fat lip
A man required medical attention at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson on Aug. 9 after he was punched in the right eye and lip, causing a laceration. The incident occurred at 3:45 a.m. by Tommy’s Place on Main Street.

Rear window
A 2006 Nissan parked at a residence on Main Street in Port Jefferson was damaged on Aug. 8, between 5 and 6:30 a.m. The car’s rear window was reportedly broken.

Bang Bang
A Thompson Street resident in Port Jefferson reported on Aug. 5 that between 12:22 and 12:31 a.m., an unknown person was banging a large rock on their 1999 Oldsmobile parked in the driveway.

Back it up
A Peachtree Lane resident in Mount Sinai reported, on Aug. 6, that a person claiming to be from the IRS called their home and said they owed back taxes.

Upsetting
A woman on Tyler Avenue in Miller Place reported receiving numerous threatening phone calls from an upset man on Aug. 5.

Toyota thief
An unknown person stole items, including sunglasses and a phone charger, from a 2010 Toyota parked at a residence on Cedar Drive in Miller Place on Aug. 5.

Bottoming out
The owner of a 2003 Infiniti reported the vehicle’s undercarriage was damaged while it was parked on Tall Tree Lane in Rocky Point on Aug. 9.

Liar, liar, shoes on fire
A 57-year-old woman was arrested in Centereach on Aug. 9 and charged with fourth-degree arson. According to police, the women set fire to several boxes in front of Payless ShoeSource in Centereach and the front of the store caught fire.

Thirsty
An unknown person threw a glass Snapple bottle through a window of a Rosemary Lane home on Aug. 9, between 1:10 and 10:15 p.m.

Unholy
A 2015 Mazda parked at Grace Presbyterian Church in Selden was damaged on Aug. 9, between 7:45 and 9:20 p.m. Police said the vehicle’s front passenger side window was smashed and a purse was stolen from inside.

Zoom
A 2006 Suzuki ATV was stolen from the shed of a Wyandotte Street residence in Selden between Aug. 5 and Aug. 6.

Game over
Suffolk County police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a man who allegedly robbed a store in Centereach last month.
The man entered GameStop, located at 201 Centereach Mall, on July 25, at approximately 8:30 p.m., put his hand under his shirt and demanded cash, police said. An employee complied and the man fled on foot in the shopping center.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

DWAI déjà vu
A 29-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested in Stony Brook on Aug. 7 and charged with driving while ability impaired, with a prior conviction in 10 years. The woman was arrested at Stony Brook University Hospital after she crashed her 2004 Nissan into a telephone pole while driving on Nichols Road. Police said she was on prescription pills.

Faucet tapped
Someone stole a faucet from Lowe’s home improvement store on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook on Aug. 6 at 2:07 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Money, laptop stolen
Someone took cash, a laptop computer and a debit card from a 2014 Jeep Cherokee parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 movie theater on Aug. 5 at 8:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Movie theater mischief
Someone took an iPhone and broke the passenger side window of a 2014 Jeep parked at AMC Loews Stony Brook 17 movie theater on Aug. 5 at 8:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Jeep damaged
Both side mirrors of a 2014 Jeep parked on Old Post Road in East Setauket were damaged by an unknown person on Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Not set in stone
Someone took a $100 stone monument from a residence on Pond Path in East Setauket on Aug. 5 at 11:30 a.m. There have been no arrests.

Botox lifted
Someone took Botox from a laboratory at on Research Way in Stony Brook on Aug. 4 at 12:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Devil’s in the details
Someone took a car detailing kit from Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on Aug. 6 at 8:40 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Jewelry, cash stolen
Jewelry and cash were stolen from a residence on Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket on Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. There have been no arrests.

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The early morning fire sent one emergency responder to the hospital. Photo by Jeff Bressler

Marquette Drive in St. James became ground zero over the weekend after an early morning fire took over a residential home and sent one firefighter to the hospital, officials said.

The blaze broke out around 2:10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, when the Smithtown Fire Department received a report of a structural fire with possible occupants inside the home, Public Information Officer Jeff Bressler said.

The early morning fire sent one emergency responder to the hospital. Photo by Jeff Bressler
The early morning fire sent one emergency responder to the hospital. Photo by Jeff Bressler

The ferocious fight sent one Smithtown firefighter to Stony Brook University Hospital to be treated for a minor injury associated with the emergency response, Bressler said.

“Upon arrival, the call was upgraded to a fully involved structural fire,” Bressler said. “Three occupants were assisted out of the house before units arrived. The occupants were taken by the Smithtown Fire Department and Kings Park Fire Department ambulances to Stony Brook University Medical Center.”

Bressler said emergency responders deployed two hoses to fight the flames and also utilized a ladder from Company 7 for assistance.

At one point, the flames became so out of control that the fire started to spread to an adjacent house before being put out with significant damage to the siding, Bressler said.

By the time the blaze had been doused, Smithtown saw emergency response assistance from fire departments in St. James, Nesconset, Hauppauge, Kings Park and Nissequogue, Bressler said.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, Bressler said.

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Smithtown fire marshals allege the office building at 811 W. Jericho Turnpike housed an illegal massage parlor, pictured above in the top right lot of the map. Screen capture from Google Maps

Smithtown fire marshals put a Queens woman’s hands in cuffs and charged her with violating the state’s penal law via an illegal massage parlor, officials said.

Peiyu Du, a 44-year-old woman from Flushing, was arrested July 30 and charged in connection with an illegal massage parlor raided last month in Smithtown. Public Safety initially busted the parlor on July 19 around 2 p.m. operating out of 811 West Jericho Turnpike to find what Department Director Chief John Valentine described as an elaborate hidden facility with multiple bedrooms, each holding three to four young Asian women.

Officials cited suggestive advertisements for the space on Backpage.com, promising patrons body rubs from Korean and Japanese girls for $60 to $70.

Among the multiple violations of Smithtown code included the interfering with the duties of the fire marshal, Valentine said. Du was also charged under the state’s penal law for obstructing governmental administration. She was released with a field appearance ticket and her arraignment was scheduled for Sept. 29.

The investigation will be continuing with help from the Suffolk County District Attorney.

Late last month, Valentine said the fire marshals acted in response to a request for assistance from the Smithtown Fire Department to find the parlor, filled with young Asian women in “various stages of undress.” Upon their entry, Valentine said an Asian woman confronted the fire marshals and tried to block their entrance into the location.

“The unidentified females and several apparent patrons fled the location upon entry,” Valentine said when the parlor was busted last month. “Suffolk County Police 4th Precinct officers were contacted and responded to the location.”

Inside, officials found what Valentine described as suggestive advertising and photographs promoting the services. Subsequent online searches posted that same day on Backpage.com advertised a grand opening for cash-only massage services with several provocative photos of young Asian women. The posting was listed under a “Long Island body rubs” thread.

An ongoing investigation was put into motion through the Smithtown Public Safety Department and fire marshals have uncovered multiple violations of the fire and property maintenance codes as well as town code violations, including interfering with emergency personnel, Valentine said.

It was unclear if there would be additional arrests.

File photo.

Gunshots rang out in the Huntington area twice over the weekend, leading police to find injured young men lying on the ground in separate but similar incidents.

The first shooting occurred early on Saturday morning in Huntington Station. The Suffolk County Police Department said at about 1:35 a.m., officers responded to West Hills Road and President Street after a 911 call reported the shooting. Those 2nd Precinct officers found 22-year-old local resident Nelson Hernandez lying on the sidewalk, a gunshot wound to his back.

Not even 24 hours later, just after midnight on Sunday, 2nd Precinct officers responded to Stuyvesant Street in Greenlawn, between Crown Avenue and Brand Drive, after another 911 call reporting a shooting. Police said they found 18-year-old Aaron Jolly, a Northport resident, lying in the street with a gunshot wound on his right leg.

Hernandez was in serious condition at Huntington Hospital, police said, and Jolly was treated and released from the same facility.

In both cases, police reported that the shooter was unknown. Hernandez was shot while walking on West Hills Road near President Street, and it was not clear whether there was a single shooter of multiple assailants. Jolly was reportedly standing in the street when he was shot by an unknown person.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the two shootings. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8252, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

Joseph DiSclafani mugshot from SCPD

Police arrested a suspect in a Centereach bank robbery on Wednesday, more than a month after a man in dark clothing held the place up.

The Suffolk County Police Department said detectives relied on video surveillance and public tips through Crime Stoppers to identify the suspect, 48-year-old Centereach resident Joseph DiSclafani. Police allege he is the one who robbed the People’s United Bank on Middle Country Road on the morning of June 26, walking into the bank and passing a teller a note demanding cash.

Attorney information for DiSclafani, who was charged with third-degree robbery, was not immediately available.

Police said after the teller gave the suspect cash, he fled on foot in his dark-colored baseball cap, black T-shirt, dark jeans and sunglasses.

At the time of the robbery, police described the man as white with a heavy build, between 45 and 50 years old and about 5 feet 7 inches tall.

Once detectives from the SCPD’s Pattern Crime Unit identified DiSclafani as a suspect, they placed him under surveillance, police said. They arrested him Wednesday without incident and he was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.

Centerport and West Islip firefighters assist in bringing the Hovercraft to shore following the rescue. Photo by Steve Silverman

A hovercraft vessel came to the rescue of two kayakers stuck in mud in a Centerport pond on Tuesday night, according to Steve Silverman, a spokesman for the Town of Huntington Fire Chiefs Council.

The Centerport Fire Department received a call around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night of a man and a woman stuck in a kayak approximately 100 yards off the shore of Mill Pond. 

Once rescuers arrived, they realized they were not able to reach the kayak due to thick mud that was restricting boat access. Centerport Fire Chief Brian Mark then made the call to the West Islip Fire Department for assistance.

West Islip’s hovercraft was the only vessel that could reach the couple, since it is able to float on air and travel over mud, ice and swampy areas a conventional boat can’t traverse.

The Suffolk Police Aviation unit assisted as well, providing a helicopter that gave light to the rescue scene.

Firefighters launched the hovercraft from an access point on Centershore Road, and were able to reach the kayak in several minutes. The Centerport Rescue Squad checked the uninjured couple. The pair was covered in dark mud.

Forty firefighters and emergency medical personnel in total participated in the rescue, which was successfully completed in slightly more than an hour with no injuries.

Franzone to be sentenced to 3.5 years in state prison

Nicholas Franzone photo from Suffolk County DA’s office

A Northport man accused of helping his uncle in carjacking a Commack woman after the uncle ran down two Suffolk County cops in Huntington last year pleaded guilty to charges relating to the crimes in court on Tuesday.

Nicholas Franzone, 23, pleaded guilty in Central Islip at a court conference to robbery, criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle, petty larceny and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, according to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota’s office.

Franzone’s crimes were for stealing gas and participating in stealing a Commack woman’s car and her credit cards as he and his uncle, Chad Moriszan, 35,were trying to dodge capture after striking officers Nicholas Guerrero and Heriberto Lugo.

They fled fleeing the scene of the hit-and-run, leaving Guerrero seriously injured. Guerrero had to be hospitalized for more than three weeks with a severe head injury. He underwent surgery and a regimen of physical therapy during his recovery.

Both Northport men were eventually arrested hours later in a Central Islip Target store on Carleton Avenue when they tried to use a stolen credit card to buy a television.

On July 23, Moriszan was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to assault in the first degree, assault on a police officer, leaving the scene, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, robbery in the second degree and forgery.

Franzone will be sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho to three and one-half years in state prison on Sept. 9.

Ian Fitzgerald, a Central Islip-based attorney who represented Franzone, said he felt the sentence term was a fair one. “He had the chance to do the right thing and he didn’t take it so he got himself in this situation,” he said.

He also said the DA dropped prior felony assaults charge against Franzone.

“Our position from the beginning was that he really had nothing to do with Mr. Moriszan running over the officer,” Fitzgerald said.

The attorney said his client didn’t even see the officers struck, and wasn’t even aware that there was a second officer on the scene. The pair of officers pulled over Moriszan and Franzone during a traffic stop.

“He’s glad that it wasn’t worse,” he said. “He’s glad that officer Guerrero survived.”

Franzone has cleaned up his act since the incident, Fitzgerald said. The attorney said his client was on drugs — prescription pills — and since being incarcerated he’s gotten clean.

“[He] seems to be a pretty intelligent young man who unfortunately got wrapped up in some bad stuff.”