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Lake Grove

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County police arrested a Lake Grove man May 23 for driving with more than 40 license suspensions.

Highway patrol officer Matthew White pulled over a 2003 Nissan on westbound Sunrise Highway, near Connetquot Avenue, at approximately 8:25 a.m. after he observed the vehicle was missing a front license plate. Officer White determined the driver, James Tomassi, was driving with a license that had been suspended 41 times.

Tomassi, 36, was charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operating while registration suspended/revoked. His vehicle was impounded and he was arraigned today at 1st District Court in Central Islip.

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.

Suffolk County sheriff-elect, Errol Toulon Jr. and his wife Tina. Photo from Toulon

By Kevin Redding

On the Saturday before Easter in 2003, Suffolk County sheriff-elect, Errol Toulon Jr. (D) sat in the den of his Lake Grove home and said to God, “If you give me a chance, I’m going to do something great.”

Toulon, who had dropped from 240 pounds to about 140 and could barely walk, was recovering from a Whipple procedure to remove a cancerous tumor on his pancreas. It had been his second battle with cancer in less than 10 years — in 1996, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma — an ordeal that was followed by MRSA, a type of staph infection, and pneumonia. Doctors and family members expected the worst.

A year later, in the spring of 2004, the Rikers Island corrections officer-turned-captain enrolled at Suffolk County Community College. He went on to receive his master’s degree in business administration from Dowling College and an advanced certificate in Homeland Security management from Long Island University.

Toulon, left, as a bat boy at Yankee Stadium, pictured with Yankees legend Reggie Jackson. Photo from Toulon

In the midst of his appointment as deputy commissioner of operations for the New York City Correction Department in 2014, Toulon pursued and completed his doctorate in educational administration and took leadership courses at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

On Dec. 4, after a last-minute campaign to be Suffolk County sheriff against opponent Larry Zacarese (R), Toulon, 55, became the first African-American elected official in a nonjudicial countywide position in Long Island’s history.

“I still don’t think I’m finished to be honest with you,” Toulon said, laughing. “I am very fortunate and I don’t take any day for granted.”

He said he didn’t even know the landmark aspect of his victory until the counting of absentee ballots was close to being completed. The race was too close to call after Election Day Nov. 7, leaving the tightly contested election hanging for nearly a month.

“I think that can help to show that any individual, no matter what ethnicity or gender, can achieve anything they want,” Toulon said. “But I don’t think, necessarily, the color of my skin will matter at all. I think my work experience and work ethic will show that those who voted for me made the right choice, and I think those that didn’t vote for me will feel I can do the job and have the best interests of the people.”

Those closest to him said despite the odds stacked against him, Toulon’s win makes perfect sense.

“He’s a rare breed of person — you couldn’t ask for a better man for the position,” said Ralph Grasso, a retired New York Police Department officer and friend of Toulon’s for 26 years. “Anything he puts his mind to, he achieves.”

Grasso was far from the only colleague to heap praise on the sheriff-elect.

“Errol’s always shown through his actions how great a leader he is,” said Keith Taylor, who worked with him in the department of corrections for two years. “When it came to officers who were victims of inmate violence, he always made sure to visit them in the hospital, and always without any fanfare. He’s dealt with a lot of adversities and always handles them with dignity, grace and strength.”

Meg Malangone, a registered Republican in Lake Grove who works in the business office at TBR News Media, said Toulon is the first Democrat she’s voted for in 40 years.

“Not only is he one of the most incredible individuals I know, I honestly felt he was the best man for the job,” said Malangone, whose son was friends with Toulon’s sons growing up. “Errol is a wonderful human being. He is a strong, kind, smart and gentle man. He is not afraid to make tough decisions and is thoughtful in his approach to problems and solutions. He is going to be a fantastic sheriff for Suffolk County.”

When he officially starts his new job in January, Toulon said he’s determined to manage the sheriff’s office effectively and utilize skills from his career in corrections to tackle what he considers “the big three”: gangs, the opioid crisis and working with the community to develop a strong re-entry program for those incarcerated to help with housing and jobs when they leave the jail. He said outgoing Sheriff Vincent DeMarco (C) has given him a tour of the facilities, he’s met with staff and he looks forward to working collaboratively with district attorney-elect, Tim Sini (D).

“There is nobody with the type of integrity he has,” said Keith Davies, Toulon’s campaign manager, who was admittedly nervous to start a full-fledged race two months before the election with a candidate he didn’t know. “But then I got to know Errol and I knew I was working for someone that is the right person to be in the position. He kept us motivated and working hard. He’s a good man.”

“There is nobody with the type of integrity [Toulon] has.”

— Keith Davies

Despite his lifelong career in law enforcement, Toulon said the reason he thinks he was elected, and had such large support from community members on both sides of the aisle, can be traced to his second life as a coach of various sports in the last 20 years.

An avid hockey fan who even created a program around the sport within the corrections facility, Toulon coaches ice hockey at the Long Island Gulls Amateur Hockey Association in Jericho and served as a roller hockey coach at The Sports Arena in St. James. He has also coached baseball for the Sachem Youth Advisory Group; soccer for Middle Country Children’s Soccer League; and basketball for Middle Country.

“I’ve tried to make sure it wasn’t about winning or losing with the kids,” Toulon said. “I thought that even the kid who probably wasn’t the best person on the team should’ve gotten an opportunity to play. We won or lost together. A lot of parents asked me to be their child’s coach each season and I felt very honored by that.”

But Toulon’s overall achievements can be traced further back to the 1960s and ’70s in the South Bronx, where he grew up with his younger brother, Anthony, and parents, Errol Sr. and Alma, and attended Cardinal Hayes High School.

“He was always a go-getter,” recalled Errol Toulon Sr., 78, a retired deputy warden of the New York City Department of Correction. “He always volunteered within the community, played baseball and just always gave it his all. We couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Toulon’s mother, 74, who worked in education, remembered her sons being extremely protective of her, not even letting her walk to the local tennis court by herself.

“They were like my guardian angels,” Alma Toulon said. “I’m so proud of Errol Jr. He always does anything anyone asks him to do. He is a wonderful kid … I still call him a kid, he’s 55.”

Toulon pointed to his parents, who both went back to school later in life to get their bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as his two biggest heroes, though he also credited another: Willie Randolph, the former New York Yankees second baseman and New York Mets manager. Toulon came to know Randolph well working as a bat boy for the Yankees in 1979 and 1980.

“I was a diehard Yankees fan, didn’t live too far from the stadium at the time and went for an interview in January 1979,” said Toulon, who fondly remembered being around players like Randolph, Catfish Hunter and Thurman Munson. “They all treated me like I was a valuable part of the team. And that really carried over to my own managerial style that every member of the organization — no matter where you are in the chain — is important to making the team as successful as possible.”

Toulon’s son, Justin, 28, who works in the film and television field in Georgia, called his father the hardest working and most driven person he knows and said Toulon instilled in him the importance of respect.

“I don’t think I’ve ever brought somebody to meet my father that hasn’t said afterward, ‘That’s a great guy,’” Justin Toulon said. “My dad always leaves that impression. You just respect him and he has this charming ability about him. People gravitate toward him.”

Speaking from experience on that front is Toulon’s second wife, Tina, who he met in 2014, and married a year and a half ago. His first wife, Susan, passed away 29 years into their marriage.

“I’m his No. 1 fan,” Tina Toulon said. “He just has this wonderful aura about him: that great smile and those great eyes, full of life. He has an incredible loyalty about him and I love how he connects with people. He wants to always leave things better than how he found them … so I know he can do this job well.”

Emmanuel Dourthe and Reina Alecia were arrested at a traffic stop in Medford June 30. Photos from SCPD

By Desirée Keegan

Suffolk County Police arrested two people on drugs and weapons charges following a vehicle and traffic stop in Medford June 30.

Emmanuel Dourthe was driving a 2003 Honda Accord when Sixth Precinct Police Officer Keith Liere pulled over the car for a traffic stop on Mill Road at approximately 8 p.m. During Officer Liere’s investigation, he found a loaded and defaced 9mm pistol, one ounce of heroin, one ounce of crack/cocaine, drug paraphernalia, $1,240 and three cell phones.

Sixth Squad detectives charged Dourthe, 18, of Coram, with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. His passenger, Reina Alicea, 20, of Lake Grove, was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, for possessing a switchblade, and fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Dourthe and Alicea were held overnight for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip.

Smith Haven Mall. Image from Google Maps

Suffolk County Police have arrested a Smithtown man for committing several acts of lewdness during the past week at the Smith Haven Mall.

A woman was inside Barnes and Noble May 13 when police said she allegedly observed a man masturbating while sitting at the table next to her. The woman fled and notified police.

Following an investigation by Fourth Squad detectives, Samuel Bartolotto was arrested May 14 at approximately 7 p.m. Detectives determined that in addition to the incident May 13, Bartolotto had also masturbated in his vehicle in the parking lot of the mall May 8 and May 12.

Bartolotto, 26, of Hurtin Boulevard, was charged with three counts of public lewdness and will be arraigned at a later date.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452.

Frederick Staria III and Jason Kinlaw. Photos from SCPD

Suffolk County Police have arrested two Selden men in connection with multiple robberies that occurred earlier this week.

Following an investigation by Sixth Squad detectives, Frederick Staria III and Jason Kinlaw were arrested in connection with three robberies and an attempted robbery. Staria entered businesses, threatened the use of a weapon and demanded cash. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money. In one incident, the employee did not comply and Staria fled without proceeds. During two of the crimes, Kinlaw drove Staria to the locations.

The following businesses were robbed:

  • Gorgeous Salon, located at 1232 Middle Country Road in Selden, Feb. 12
  • QuickChek, located at 2686 Middle Country Road in Lake Grove, Feb. 13
  • Pizza Hut, located at 534-1 William Floyd Parkway in Shirley, Feb. 13

The attempted robbery occurred at:

  • Milk and Things, located at 815 Middle Country Road in Selden Feb. 13

Staria, 35, was charged with three counts of third-degree robbery, third-degree attempted robbery and four warrants. Kinlaw, 24, was charged with third-degree robbery and third-degree attempted robbery. They were held overnight at the Sixth Precinct for arraignment Feb. 14 at First District Court in Central Islip.

File photo

A man was violently robbed and thrown out of a moving car earlier this month, and police have recently arrested three suspects in the case.

While at a bar on Hawkins Avenue in Ronkonkoma on May 6, three men allegedly offered a ride to the victim shortly before 4 a.m., the Suffolk County Police Department said.

They headed north into Lake Grove but during the ride, police said, the trio punched and choked the man, then stole his jewelry, wallet, cell phone and cash before throwing him out of the moving car.

The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said.

A few weeks later, detectives arrested three local men in connection with the crime, on three separate days: 36-year-old Jason Mikalauskas, of Lake Grove, on May 23; 21-year-old Michael Masterson, of Centereach, on May 24; and 23-year-old Dominic Dentici, of Ronkonkoma, on May 26.

All three were charged with second-degree robbery, and Mikalauskas is facing additional charges of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was also arrested on an active warrant, police said.

Attorney information for Mikalauskas and Dentici was not available on the New York State court system’s online database. Masterson was listed as representing himself and could not be reached for comment.

File photo
Rashelle Mann mugshot from SCPD
Rashelle Mann mugshot from SCPD

Police allege a woman was driving drunk and without a license when she got into a crash at a busy intersection near the mall, all with her toddler in the back seat.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the suspect was driving east on Middle Country Road in a 2006 Nissan Altima on Sunday evening when she made a left turn in front of a 2014 Toyota Rav4, which had been heading west on the same road. The two vehicles collided at the Moriches Road intersection, near Smith Haven Mall.

A 2-year-old boy was in the Nissan at the time of the crash, driver Rashelle Mann’s son, police said. He was evaluated at Stony Brook University Hospital but did not appear injured, according to police. The Toyota’s driver, 20-year-old Hauppauge resident Cindy Tran, was treated at the same hospital for minor injuries.

The mother, a 26-year-old Ronkonkoma resident, was charged with driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15 years or younger, a charge commonly referred to as Leandra’s Law. She was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.

Attorney information for Mann was not immediately available.

According to police, her son was released to a relative.

Kathy Horan mugshot from SCPD

Update, 2.29.16: Police have reported that Lynn May, the 58-year-old Lake Grove resident who was standing by her parked car during the hit-and-run, has died of her injuries sustained in the crash.

Police said a woman drove away after fatally striking one man with her car and seriously injuring three others on Friday night.

The 61-year-old Medford resident, Kathy Horan, was allegedly driving east on Granny Road at about 8:20 p.m. and, shortly down the road from Brookhaven Town Hall, hit Peter Quoma, a 28-year-old from Selden who had gotten out of his own car because he had hit a parked vehicle.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the hit from Horan’s 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe was fatal for Quoma, and also injured the two passengers still inside his 1997 Nissan Maxima as well as the owner of the parked car, who was standing next to it.

Quoma was pronounced dead at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, police said, while the two passengers, one male and one female, were treated for minor injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital. Police said the parked car’s owner, 58-year-old Lynn May from Lake Grove, was being treated for serious injuries at Brookhaven Memorial.

Horan, who was not hurt, was charged with leaving the scene of an incident involving a fatality and with leaving the scene of one involving physical injury. She was arraigned on Saturday.

Attorney information for the suspect was not immediately available.

Anyone with information is asked to call the SCPD’s Vehicular Crime Unit at 631-852-6555.

Suffolk County police car. File photo
Brianna Graff photo from SCPD
Brianna Graff photo from SCPD

A teenager has been missing since the end of January and police are looking for the public’s help to find her.

Brianna Graff’s guardian reported her missing from their Lake Grove home on Jan. 30, police said, after she had been last seen at 11 p.m. the day before.

The 15-year-old, who lives on Hawkton Place, is white and 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 125 pounds and has brown eyes and dark brown hair, police said.

Detectives from the 4th Squad are investigating her case, but do not believe there is foul play involved, according to police.

Anyone with information on her location is asked to call 911 or to call the squad at 631-854-8452.

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