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New DNA-based marker technology to aid town residents in securing property

Above, a view of the technology, called DNANet. Photo from Applied DNA Sciences

A new public safety pilot program in Huntington Station puts crime-fighting in the hands of residents by providing them with innovative DNA-based technology to mark up property susceptible to burglary.

Last week, Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) was joined by County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and other elected officials in Huntington Station, where a new device manufactured by Stony Brook-based Applied DNA Sciences was introduced as part of a pilot program in the town. The kit called DNANet comes with a special marker that can be used to mark up to 100 valuables and assets in a home in an effort to keep track of goods if stolen or removed from the home.

“When I was approached last year by the scientists at Applied DNA Sciences with this unique technology, it was clear that it has great potential to be an effective tool in keeping communities safer,” Spencer stated in a press release. “Increasing public safety in Huntington Station and all of Suffolk County has always been a central focus of mine. Bringing in this resource will make this great community even better.”

Suffolk County is paying for the pilot program, which will cost $25,000.

The kits will be distributed to 500 homes in Huntington Station in areas with high burglary rates. Residents will be asked to perform in the study, mark up items and register them with the company.

The mark is not visible to the naked eye. A UV lamp will be needed to see the distinctive mark.

“You can’t see it [and] you can’t scratch it off,“ Spencer said in a phone interview Monday.

When items are stolen, burglars tend to trade the goods to pawn shops for quick cash. The new device will also force shop owners to carefully record data when items are pawned.

“Now it will be harder to pawn stolen goods,” Spencer said.

Once an item with the DNA code is run through the website’s database, it will match to a particular person and address. In the past, reuniting goods with an owner has proved to be difficult because there is no proof of ownership, according to Spencer. The mark would help prove ownership, he said.

Spencer hopes this new initiative will help increase item recoveries, theft convictions and decrease low level petit theft.

“This technology is another tool our police can use against crime,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a press release. “Our police will be able to address and solve theft of personal property with the information made available by DNAweb.”

According to Spencer, studies show the DNA mark has proven to last up to 350 years. Also if the owner sells an item, a call can be made to have the item removed from the database to prevent confusion.

The program is expected to begin in Huntington Station and Huntington shortly as officials wanted to focus in areas with high crime. The program will be evaluated after six months to see if there has been an improvement in recoveries and convictions. Residents who participate in the program can also put signs on their lawns alerting people the system is in use.

Once the evaluation is over, the Suffolk County Police Department will decide whether to recommend the program expand.

The bank robbery suspect was caught on surveillance video. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police Department’s Pattern Crime Unit detectives are asking for the public’s help in finding a man who robbed a Rocky Point bank on Tuesday morning.

The suspect, described as a white man, 30-40 years old and approximately 6 feet tall, was wearing a black coat when he entered the Capital One bank on Route 25A in Rocky Point shortly after 9 a.m. and gave the teller a note that demanded money, according to police. The unknown robber then fled on foot with an unknown amount of cash.

Police ask that anyone with information call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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Christopher Campbell mugshot from SCPD

Nearly six months after a Miller Place woman was killed in a hit-and-run crash on North Country Road, police have made an arrest.

Christopher Campbell, 35, of Sound Beach, was arrested on Tuesday after a grand jury indicted him for leaving the scene of a fatal accident, following an investigation by the Suffolk County Police Department’s Vehicular Crime Unit, county District Attorney Tom Spota said.

Campbell allegedly drove the vehicle that struck 40-year-old Tracy Mangino, who was walking on North Country Road, east of Block Island Drive, on Oct. 18. Mangino died of her injuries at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson.

Campbell pleaded not guilty to the charge in Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip, Spota said. Judge Fernando Camacho set Campbell’s bail at $50,000 cash, $100,000 bond.

The October crash isn’t the first time Campbell has been accused of leaving the scene. In June 2012, he was arrested and charged with drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident after he sideswiped a parked car on East Main Street in Port Jefferson. According to Spota’s office, Campbell allegedly tried to flee the scene on foot, but was apprehended by a village constable and Suffolk police officer. The charges are still pending.

Robert Macedonio, Campbell’s Central Islip-based attorney, was not immediately available for comment regarding either case.

At the time of the October crash, police described the vehicle that hit Mangino as a box-type truck, traveling eastbound on North Country Road. Detective Sgt. John Sumwalt, of the Vehicular Crime Unit, said in an October interview that the vehicle was light-colored and that a passing motorist notified police of the incident. He added that detectives were reviewing surveillance footage from the area. And on Tuesday, Spota revealed the strategy was successful.

“Vehicular Crime Unit detectives canvassed the neighborhood and were successful in gathering evidence, including video footage of the driver’s truck leaving the scene,” he said.

First responders saved three adults who overdosed together on Monday afternoon, using an anti-overdose medication that is administered through the nose.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, 4th Precinct police officers Daniel Sable, David Vlacich and Vincent Liberato responded to a 911 call reporting multiple people had been found unconscious at a Lake Ronkonkoma home. When officers arrived at the Kirby Lane home at about 4:15 p.m., they found two women and a man unconscious in an upstairs bedroom.

The officers worked with Lake Ronkonkoma Fire Department rescue personnel to carry the trio out of the house, police said, and the LRFD members administered Narcan, a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

The three victims — a 39-year-old female, a 43-year-old female and a 46-year-old male — regained consciousness, police said. They were listed in stable condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Arshad Syed Humzah mugshot from SCPD

A man allegedly exposed himself to a teenager but was caught after the girl got his license plate number and told her parents.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the suspect, Arshad Syed Humzah, was driving a 2010 Nissan north on Boyle Road in Selden, at Strauss Avenue, at about 5 p.m. on April 10 when he approached a teenager walking along the road. The man allegedly asked the girl, 15, if she wanted a ride and when she declined, he allegedly kept following her with his car. Police said he then stopped again and asked the teenager for directions.

When the girl approached him, Syed Humzah allegedly exposed his genitals to her.

Police said the teen noted his license plate number and told her parents when she got home. Her parents called the police and the suspect was arrested shortly afterward.

Syed Humzah was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Attorney information for the defendant was not immediately available. He was scheduled to be arraigned at a later date.

Sandro Vargas mugshot from SCPD

A man who was driving with his young son in the car was arrested on Thursday afternoon and charged with driving high and criminal possession.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the defendant, 41-year-old Sandro Vargas, was driving east in a 1990 Buick on Middle Country Road in Selden, at Park Hill Drive, at about 1:30 p.m. when he attempted to go around another car and allegedly sideswiped that car’s rear. His 7-year-old son was in the Buick at the time of the incident.

Patrol officer Greg Sandbichler from the 6th Precinct found Vargas to be under the influence of drugs, police said, and arrested him.

The boy complained of pain after the crash and was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital. Police said he was later released to a family member.

No one else was hurt in the incident.

Vargas, a Coram resident, was charged with aggravated driving while impaired by drugs with a child in the car — a felony under Leandra’s Law — and with endangering the welfare of a child and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Attorney information for Vargas was not immediately available. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

Punched and pushed
A complainant reported being harassed by a male and a female while waiting outside a Patchogue Road convenience store in Port Jefferson Station at around 5:30 p.m. on April 4. According to police, the victim, who refused medical attention, was punched and pushed by the suspects. No arrests have been made.

Sideswiped
A man refused to press charges after he was pushed and hit on the side of the face while walking on Patchogue Road in Port Jefferson Station on March 31 at 6:33 a.m. The man didn’t require medical attention.

Check it out
A 60-year-old Port Jefferson Station man was arrested on April 3 for grand larceny and second-degree forgery after he entered the Sola Salon Studios in Port Jefferson Station and stole a wallet that contained cash, credit cards and other items. Police said the man then forged a signature on one of the stolen checks.

Got your nose
Two males got into a bit of a tiff on April 5 at around 1:30 a.m. at Junior’s Spycoast in Port Jefferson. According to police, a man was punched in the nose and neck, causing injury. No medical attention was provided, and charges haven’t been filed.

Garden of mystery
An unknown individual took two batteries from a 2007 Chevy and a 1995 GMC from the Gera Gardens property in Mount Sinai. The incident occurred between 2 p.m. on March 31 and 7:30 a.m. on April 4. One of the vehicles had a broken windshield as well.

Gone with the wind
A woman reported leaving her cell phone behind at the Miller Place Stop&Shop checkout line on April 3. When she returned, the phone was gone.

Gas station rage
A complainant reported an individual was trying to start a fight at the BP gas station in Miller Place on Route 25A. During the April 2 criminal mischief incident, the suspect damaged the complainant’s 2009 Toyota Camry by kicking the rear passenger door, causing a minor dent. Shortly before the incident, police had responded to a suspect approaching another customer at the same gas station and engaging in a verbal dispute and throwing a bottle at the complainant’s car. It is unclear if the two reports are related.

Criminal homemaker
At approximately 4 p.m. on April 4, an unknown individual stole assorted groceries and household items from the Rocky Point Waldbaum’s on Route 25A.

Talk to the hand
Police responded to an assault at the Shoreham-Wading River High School property on March 30 at around 12:30 p.m. According to police, a complainant was talking to the suspect, who didn’t like what he said and then punched the man. The complainant was treated at a local hospital.

Bad impression
A 27-year-old Wading River man was arrested in Shoreham on April 3 after he lied about his name during a traffic stop by Roswell Avenue.

Planking
A homeowner on Valiant Drive in Centereach discovered four planks missing from a fence. Police said the incident occurred between 9 p.m. on April 4 and 10:30 a.m. on April 5.

Poor home improvements
An unknown person damaged a property on Lake Grove Street in Centereach at approximately 10:45 p.m. on April 2. Police said a window and sheetrock were damaged.

Bonnie and Clyde
A male and female took merchandise from a Middle Country Road CVS in Centereach on March 31 at around 9:30 a.m. and then fled the scene.

False advertisement
An individual responding to a Craigslist advertisement of a quad for sale, posted by a resident of Avondale Drive in Centereach, drove off with the vehicle on March 30. According to police, the suspect is a white male, thin and approximately 6 feet tall. Police are still investigating.

High-way
Police arrested a 22-year-old Middle Island man in Centereach on April 1 for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs. The man was heading eastbound on Route 25 in a 2003 Chrysler when police pulled him over by Wood Road for driving at an excessive speed, and observed he was under the influence.

Soda and sun
A 22-year-old Sound Beach woman and a 30-year-old Miller Place man were arrested in Selden on April 2 for stealing a pair of sunglasses and soda from a Walgreens on Middle Country Road.

Pestering phone calls
Someone reported an incident of aggravated harassment at North Suffolk Cardiology on Research Way in East Setauket on April 3 at 9:23 a.m. Police said the complainant reported a caller making harassing statements on a personal cellphone.

Makeup, wallet stolen
Someone stole a wallet and makeup from Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in East Setauket on April 3 at about 3:34 p.m.

Harassment
A man told police he was receiving harassing phone calls on Millie Lane in East Setauket on April 3 around 4:20 p.m.

Cards swiped
Someone entered an unlocked 2005 Chevrolet parked at a home on Rack Lane, East Setauket and stole a Visa card and a Home Depot card. The incident was reported on April 2 at 11 p.m.

Hug it out
Someone claimed they were punched and shoved, but police said the individuals involved know each another and no arrest was made. The incident occurred on Christian Avenue, Setauket at 3 a.m. on March 30.

Money grab
An unknown person entered an unlocked 2011 Chevy Tahoe parked on Cabin Lane in East Setauket on March 30 at 8:16 a.m. and took money.

Hole in one
Someone entered Sports Authority on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook and took golf clubs without paying for them. The incident occurred on March 31 at about 1:40 p.m.

It wasn’t me
A 23-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested in Smithtown at the 4th Precinct on April 2 and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and false information. Police said that the man told officers the driver of a motor vehicle fled the scene of an accident after crashing a 2004 Cadillac into a pole on March 28 at about 4:05 a.m. at the corner of Smithtown Boulevard and Old Nichol’s Road, when in fact he was the driver.

April foolery
A 37-year-old woman was arrested at the 4th Precinct in Smithtown on April 1 and charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration and second-degree harassment. Police said the incident occurred at the precinct. The woman refused to comply when ordered out of a holding cell after being arrested in Shirley and charged with operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs. Then while being assisted out of the holding cell, the woman grabbed and scratched a Suffolk County Police Department employee’s arms.

Sloppy driving
A 19-year-old man from Holbrook was arrested in Nesconset on April 2 and charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and alcohol. Police said he was driving on Smithtown Boulevard in a 1999 Toyota when he was observed swerving from his travel lane and crossed over into the shoulder. He was arrested at the scene at about 2:30 a.m.

Jewelry thief nabbed
Police said a 24-year-old woman from Islip was arrested on April 1 and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny of property valued at more than $1,000. Police said the woman stole jewelry from a Lawrence Drive location in Nesconset sometime between Oct. 8 and Nov. 17. She was arrested on Lawrence Drive at about 3 p.m.

Faker caught
A 17-year-old male from Brentwood was arrested in Smithtown and charged with false personation. Police said that on March 27 in Commack on Jericho Turnpike at 2 p.m. he made a police report using someone else’s name, using a fake picture identification and continued to identify himself as someone else. He was also charged with falsely writing a statement.

Bad reality check
A 51-year-old man from St. James was arrested at his home on Hill Road in St. James on April 5 and charged with second-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said he possessed a forged instrument — a Chase bank check — that he made payable to himself.

Injeanious
A 27-year-old man from Great River was arrested in Smithtown at the 4th Precinct and charged with petit larceny on April 3 at about 9:30 a.m. Police said he took jeans from Kohl’s on March 18 at about 5:32 p.m.

Street fight
A man told police he was punched several times by another person on Main Street in Huntington at about 2 a.m. on April 4. The two are not looking to file charges, police said.

Seating squabble
Two people got into a dispute about a seating area at Starbucks on Wall Street in Huntington at 9 p.m. on April 4, and one person punched the other. The two customers refused medical attention, cops said.

KO
Someone punched another person in the face at a store on East Main Street on April 1 in Huntington at about 1:53 a.m. The person refused medical treatment and refused to press charges.

On second thought
An unknown person kicked in the door of a Soundview Road home on April 1 at about 6:30 p.m. in Huntington, but fled when someone inside the house yelled. The person didn’t get inside.

A driver crashed into a pole and a tree while trying to evade police on Saturday, seriously injuring herself, authorities said.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, a 3rd Precinct officer attempted to pull over Alyssa Leppert in a cul-de-sac on Kurt Lane in Hauppauge at about 4:40 p.m., after observing her driving a Chevy TrailBlazer erratically. However, police said, Leppert attempted to get away from the officer by driving on the lawns of multiple houses, causing damage to several lawns, in order to get back onto Route 111.

A few minutes later, police said, Leppert was driving north on Route 111 and lost control of the Chevy, struck a telephone pole, and then hit a tree about 20 yards south of Route 347. The SUV came to a stop at the intersection of Route 111 and Veterans Memorial Highway.

Leppert, a 22-year-old East Northport resident, was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.

Detectives are investigating the incident.

Leppert has previous, unrelated charges pending against her, including attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance. Attorney information for the defendant was not available.

Jamie Wieser mugshot from SCPD

Police say officers arrested a Centerport woman who was driving drunk with her daughter in the car.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the 2nd Precinct officers were responding at about 6 p.m. on April 2 to a witness report that the driver of a 2014 Volkswagen Passat in a parking lot on Larkfield Road in East Northport was drunk.

The officers determined that the driver, 45-year-old Jamie Wieser, was “under the influence of alcohol,” police said in a media release. Her 11-year-old daughter was in the car with her.

Wieser was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15 or younger — under Leandra’s Law — and with endangering the welfare of a child.

Attorney information for Wieser was not available. She was scheduled to be arraigned on April 3.

Police say a man dressed in women’s clothing robbed a Smithtown bank on April Fool’s Day.

The man entered the TD Bank on Nesconset Highway around 4 p.m. on Wednesday and displayed a note that said he had a gun and demanded cash, the Suffolk County Police Department said. The teller gave the man an undetermined amount of cash.

The suspect fled west from the bank, police said, possibly in a light-colored vehicle.

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

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