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4th Precinct

On Aug. 7, Suffolk County Police Department officers, as well as members of the military and local fire departments, took time out to spend an evening with residents in the communities they serve.

National Night Out events took place in various locations in Suffolk County including Centereach Pool Complex in Brookhaven, hosted by the 6th Precinct, and in the Commack Target parking lot, organized by the 4th Precinct. The free events included a chance to meet and chat with law enforcement officers, rescue workers and representatives from the different branches of the military. During the evening, attendees could play games, learn how to perform CPR, sit in an impaired driver simulator device, rock climb and more. The Flashing Fingers Signing Club also performed in Centereach.

“The night is about being able to humanize the people behind the uniform,” said William Zieman, 6th Precinct community liaison officer at the Centereach event. “It’s also about connecting residents with all the positive resources in the community and at the same time having the opportunity to interact with law enforcement in a positive way.”

The Squillance family of Medford attended the event to show support for the 6th Precinct, including officers that came to their rescue recently.

“This Suffolk police are a great group of people,” Steve Squillance said. “They were there when my son had a seizure in our pool at home, and Officer [William] Zieman and Officer [Casey] Berry even came to our house to teach my kids about pool safety.”

Additional reporting by Anthony Petriello

Suffolk County police Capt. Kevin Williams. Photo by Kyle Barr

A Suffolk police officer offered startling insight into threats of school violence within the Smithtown community.

Suffolk County Police Department Capt. Kevin Williams gave his first presentation of what is expected to be many to Town of Smithtown officials at their May 8 town board meeting. As the town’s new liaison to the 4th Precinct, he gave an overall picture of what threats police are dealing with at area schools and in the community.

Graphic showing the 4th Precincts business investigations and arrests in 60 days prior to May 8. Graphic by TBR News Media

Williams said that since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, police have seen an increase in school-related incidents within the areas of Commack, Hauppauge, Nesconset and Smithtown.

“If you’ve seen it in the media, there’s probably one a day, threats from students against the school stating they are going to do a Parkland-like shooting or Columbine-type thing,” he said.

Williams said the increased cases of threats of school violence are not unique to Smithtown but are occurring in other precincts across the county. He advised parents to make a point of talking with their children about what may be inappropriate things to say and how they can raise a red flag with police. All threats are taken seriously, according to Williams, and are fully investigated taking a “decent” amount of time.

Suffolk police have been reaching out to and engaging in conversation with those school districts who have chosen to hire armed guards, including Hauppauge School District, following the Florida shooting, according to Williams.

“One of the most important things we all agreed is the people they hire are ex-law enforcement,” he said. “Highly trained professionals who have been out there and dealt with dangerous situations like this.”

He indicated a second school district within the Town of Smithtown is considering hiring armed guards in the future. As this becomes more common, Williams said cops are working to make sure they can quickly and easily identify armed guards in case of an active shooter situation.

Opiod overdoses reported by the the 4th Precinct. Graphic by TBR News Media

In April, the police department reported violent crimes and drug overdoses were all heading in the right direction in the first quarter of 2018. This trend has continued over the past 30 days in Smithtown.

Williams reported drug overdoses due to opioid use, both fatal and nonfatal, have decreased by 25 percent compared to the same time period last year. He credited this to the agency’s 852-NARC (6272) hotline, which receives approximately 12 to 15 phone calls a month from residents providing tips on drug dealers and sales. The officer said the 4th Precinct’s narcotic detectives executed 14 search warrants in January alone and made numerous arrests.

Over the last month, Williams said robberies are down, with one in 2018 compared to four over the same period of time in 2017, as well as a decrease in residential burglaries. The biggest culprit of home invasions remains unsecured homes or buildings, he said.

“It’s summer and people want to leave their windows open, but a screen is not protection,” he warned.

One exception to the decrease in crime is in the area of commercial burglaries. In the past 30 days, there have been four instances compared to none during the same period of 2017, according to Williams. One recent case involved an individual who attempted to pry open the back door of St. Thomas More R.C. Church in Hauppauge.

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County police 4th Precinct crime section officers are investigating an incident during which a man allegedly asked a juvenile to expose himself.

A 16-year-old boy was jogging in Lake Grove April 13 at around 10 a.m. when a man driving a white refrigerated box truck started following the boy and allegedly asked him to expose himself. The teen refused and the driver left.

The man was described as white, had read hair and in his mid-30s. He was missing teeth. The truck had a flower logo on the cab doors.

Anyone with information is asked to call 4th Precinct crime section at 631-854-8426 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.

Liu Fengying and Ma Zi Juan were arrested during a massage parlor raid in Smithtown. Photos from SCPD

Suffolk County police arrested two women during a raid at a massage parlor in Smithtown March 8.

In response to numerous community complaints, Suffolk County police 4th Precinct crime section officers, Suffolk County police detectives, and the Town of Smithtown fire marshal conducted an investigation into illegal activities at the Cecilia Spa, located at 139 East Main St., at approximately 3 p.m.

During the investigation conducted by the Town of Smithtown fire marshal, numerous violations were discovered, and summonses were issued for each.

Ma Zi Juan, 35, of Flushing, and Liu Fengying, 40, of Lindenhurst, were both arrested and charged with alleged prostitution and unauthorized practice of a profession, a Class E felony under the New York State education law.

Andrea Echevarria mugshot. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County police have arrested a Huntington Station woman for stealing $15,000.

Andrea Echevarria stole the personal identifying information of three people from customer records kept by her former employer, Deer Park PTDC, a physical therapy office on Deer Park Avenue. She used the information to open a line of credit, then used the line of credit for cosmetic surgery totaling $15,000, according to police.

After a nine-month investigation by 2nd Squad detectives and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, Echevarria, 33, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree identity theft and one count of second-degree identity theft. Echevarria was held overnight at the 4th Precinct and was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Sept. 19.

File photo

Suffolk County Police 4th Squad detectives are investigating a two-vehicle crash that critically injured a man in Hauppauge early Sunday morning, April 23.

Jonathan Zatorski was driving a 1998 Mercury Mountaineer west on the Long Island Expressway, just west of exit 55, when his vehicle rear-ended a 2002 Honda Accord. The Mercury overturned and Zatorski was ejected from the vehicle.

Zatorski, 31, of West Babylon, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital and admitted in critical condition. The driver of the Accord, Andrew McKinley, 27, of the Bronx, refused medical attention. Both drivers were alone in their vehicles.

Both vehicles were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on this crash to call the 4th Squad at 631-854-8452.

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Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County police are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a Bohemia bicyclist in Lake Ronkonkoma on Tuesday evening.

Laura Heerbrandt, 23, of Ronkonkoma, was driving a 2014 Nissan eastbound on Portion Road when her car struck Luis Benitez, 51. According to police, Benitez swerved into her lane of traffic as he was traveling westbound on Portion Road.

Benitez was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. Heerbrandt was not injured.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about this crash to contact the Fourth Squad at (631) 854-8452.

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