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Suffolk County Police Department

Code Chief Wally Tomaszewski helps honor officer Paul Barbato on Monday night. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson officials and residents honored a village code officer on Monday night after he helped save another man’s life while on duty.

On March 15, Paul Barbato was working in the village when a call came in of an unconscious man who was not breathing and was slouched over a table at Grumpy Jack’s sports bar and grill on Oakland Avenue in upper Port, according to Mayor Margot Garant. Barbato responded and found the victim did not have a pulse.

“Barbato lowered him to the floor and initiated chest compressions and rescue breathing,” Garant said.

At that point, a Suffolk County police officer made it to the scene with a defibrillator and the pair got the man breathing again. Garant said an ambulance transported the man, who survived the incident, to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital.

The mayor presented Barbato, who was hired in 2012, with a certificate of appreciation during the board of trustees meeting on Monday, to much applause from the crowd of residents in attendance.

According to code bureau Chief Wally Tomaszewski, Barbato was originally trained as a park ranger and when he’s not working in village code enforcement, he transports criminals who are being removed from the U.S., to places as far away as Asia, Europe and North Africa or as close as Canada.

“So when you see a guy aboard an airplane, he’s got somebody with him with a set of handcuffs on, the other guy with the tie is Paul.”

Tomaszewski also said Barbato is tough and when residents see him walking Main Street, they should shake hands with him, “and you’ll notice that he has a hand like a rock. Nobody would dare mess with him.”

But in addition to muscle, he also brings a passion for the job.

“One thing I love about seeing you in the village is you always stop and you say hi and you say how much you love working here,” Garant said to Barbato.

The officer did the same for the audience, saying, “I think this is just one of the nicest places you can get up in the morning and come to work.”

Upon receiving the certificate, he said, “You spoil me here.”

“You saved somebody’s life,” the mayor interjected. “That’s a big deal.”

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.

File photo.

A pedestrian was killed in a crash with a federal vehicle while walking along the highway on Wednesday night.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the man had been walking west on the Long Island Expressway, west of Exit 49 for Route 110 in Melville, at 10:30 p.m. when a U.S. Postal Service tractor trailer hit him.

After notifying his family, police later identified the pedestrian as 52-year-old Melville resident Stephen Puleo.

The truck’s driver, Northport resident Russell A. Davenport, 62, was not hurt, remained at the scene and attempted to assist Puleo.

A physician assistant from the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office pronounced Puleo dead at the scene.

Police also performed a safety check on the vehicle at the scene.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call the SCPD’s 2nd Squad, whose detectives are investigating the case, at 631-854-8252. All calls will remain confidential.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

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.

Dodge ATM
On March 27, a resident of Market Street in Port Jefferson Station reported that a wallet had been removed from a 1997 Dodge Ram.

Dial S for stolen
Two unknown males stole a cell phone from a victim on Main Street in Port Jefferson Station. According to police, the incident occurred at around 4:30 a.m. on March 27.

Unlocked
A resident of Lincoln Avenue in Port Jefferson Station reported cash had been stolen from a wallet that was left in an unlocked 1997 Honda on March 25.

Jeepers!
A 2011 Jeep was stolen from a residence on Crescent Drive in Port Jefferson Station. Police were notified of the grand larceny on March 25.

Tased and confused
A 48-year-old Port Jefferson man was arrested for resisting arrest and criminal possession of stolen property on March 29. Police said the man was found at 7-Eleven on Old Town Road in possession of a stolen 1994 Jeep Wrangler, and lunged at an officer when confronted. The officer deployed their TASER.

Faking it
A resident of Thames Street in Port Jefferson Station fell victim to identity theft, and notified police on March 23 that an unknown person had used personal info and made financial transactions.

Keg stand
An unknown person or persons removed an empty beer keg from Port Jefferson-based Schafer’s storage yard on March 25.

Needed directions
An unknown person took a GPS, cash and paperwork from an unlocked 2008 Honda on Sheep Pasture Road in Port Jefferson on March 24.

Double the drugs
A 25-year-old Port Jefferson Station man was arrested in Port Jefferson on drug charges on March 26 after police found him seated in a 2004 Chevy with an electronic smoking device that contained marijuana. In addition, police discovered cocaine in his possession.

Off-roading
A 48-year-old Mount Sinai woman was arrested on multiple charges on March 25, after police said she drove a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer in reverse and into a neighboring home on Osborne Avenue in Mount Sinai. The woman was charged with reckless driving, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

Feeling deflated
A woman reported her 2005 Honda Accord’s two rear tires had been punctured while parked outside the Applebee’s on Route 25A in Miller Place. The incident occurred on March 23.

We’ve been hit!
A resident of Rockledge Court in Rocky Point reported their home had been struck with several paintballs and a window screen had been broken on March 29 between 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Master of disguise
A 32-year-old Rocky Point man was arrested on a false impersonation charge on March 27. Police said the man, who did not have his license on him, was stopped at Prince Road and Harding Street for a traffic violation and gave police a false name.

Smashed
A resident of Harrison Avenue in Centereach reported the window of a 2000 Chrysler had been smashed at some point between March 25 and March 26.

DWI on road to Independence
Police arrested a 53-year-old Centereach man in Selden for aggravated driving while intoxicated after he was involved in a March 29 car crash by Independence Plaza.

Rockin’ Robin
Four Selden residents were arrested on March 27 for criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. According to police, three men, ages 31, 34, and 43, and a woman, age 33, were arrested at a residence on Robin Road. The defendants had heroin in their possession.

Civic responsibility
A 1997 Honda Civic parked at a residence on Hawkins Road in Centereach was discovered stolen between March 28 and March 29.

Thief won’t listen
Numerous headphones were stolen from the Centereach CVS on Middle Country Road on March 28 between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Out of the closet
Two unknown males broke into an apartment on Stanley Drive in Centereach and took items from a bedroom closet on March 23. According to police, the complainant said the men had a handgun and fled through the front door in an unknown direction.

Bad reality check
A 37-year-old man from Brentwood was arrested at the 4th Precinct in Smithtown on March 28 and charged with issuing a bad check while knowing he had insufficient funds. Police said he wrote a bad check to Side Lumber & Supply Co. The man was arrested at about 10 a.m.

Disenchanting
A 25-year-old man from Islip was arrested in Smithtown on March 26 and charged with petit larceny. Police said the man stole Magic the Gathering cards from a location on Route 454 in Islandia on Jan. 28.

Driving outside the lines
A 23-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested in Commack on March 28 and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said that at about 2:30 a.m. she was driving a 1999 Dodge on Route 14 in Commack when police pulled her over for failing to maintain her lane.

Inn trouble
A 19-year-old man from Brentwood was arrested in Commack on March 28 at 12:30 a.m. and charged with two counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree. Police said he stole more than $1,000 in cash from someone’s wallet at the Commack Motor Inn and stole a credit card from a different person at the inn. He was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Cut short
Police said a 38-year-old man from Bay Shore was arrested in Commack on March 28 and charged with third-degree burglary. Police said the man stole razors from Costco on Garet Place after being prohibited from entering the store.

Identity stolen, phones purchased
An unknown person used the identity of a Larson Avenue man from Smithtown to purchase cell phones and equipment from Verizon Wireless worth more than $2,400. The crime was reported to happen sometime on March 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Not so safe
A safe was looted on March 28 at Developmental Disabilities Institute on Hollywood Drive in Smithtown.  The cash belonged to the residents of the location.

Window damaged
An unknown person threw a bottle of wine through the rear window of 3 Guy’s Hobbies on Lawrence Avenue in Smithtown. The incident was reported to police on March 28 at 3:05 p.m.

Egged
A Roy Drive home in Nesconset was egged, according to police. The incident was reported on March 29 at 10 p.m.

Mean streets
An incident of road rage took place in St. James on March 25. Police said a male complainant reported that he was driving west on Route 347. As traffic was merging, someone cut him off, he said, and a shouting match between both drivers ensued. The other driver threatened to kill the complainant and then drove away.

Gimme my pizza
Police said two men were arrested in connection to an incident that occurred at Little Vincent’s pizzeria on New York Avenue on March 29. At about 1:29 a.m., a 20-year-old from Commack was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, with intent to damage property, after he punched the front door of the pizzeria after being asked to leave. A 20-year-old from Smithtown was also arrested in connection to the incident and charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration, as he tried to obstruct officers making an arrest.

Check it
A 34-year-old woman from Melville was arrested in Huntington on March 28 at the 2nd Precinct and charged with third-degree grand larceny. Police said that between Nov. 1 at noon and Dec. 31 at noon, the woman attempted to steal money by altering checks.

What a pill
Police said a 31-year-old man from Huntington was arrested in Huntington and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Police said that on the corner of New York Avenue and Gerard Street, on March 27 at 8:26 a.m. he was driving a 2004 Jeep with a suspended or revoked license. The man also possessed prescription pills without a prescription.

Busted with drugs
A 22-year-old woman from East Northport was arrested in Huntington Station and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and loitering. Police said she was loitering at about 11:55 a.m. on March 26 at a location on West Jericho Turnpike, where she was later arrested. She was also found in possession of heroin.

Fake checks
An unknown person took two checks from a Huntington female complainant, forged signatures without permission and attempted to cash them sometime between March 16 at 9 a.m. and March 18 just before midnight. The incident was reported on March 28.

7-Eleven brawl
A male complainant reported that he and another man got into a verbal dispute at 7-Eleven on New York Avenue in Huntington. Both men fell to the ground and got into a fight, and both were transported to Huntington Hospital. The incident was reported on March 26 at 7:40 a.m.

Items stolen
An unknown person entered a 2005 Toyota Tundra on Joseph Court in East Northport and stole sunglasses, a GPS and cash sometime between March 21 at 8 a.m. and March 29 at 8 a.m.

Missing jewelry
Police said assorted jewelry was stolen from a home on Dalton Lane in East Northport sometime between 9 a.m. on March 24  and noon on March 25.

Purse taken
Someone removed a purse containing cash, a driver’s license and a credit card from a 2009 Honda Pilot parked on Croley Street in Greenlawn. The incident was reported on March 28 at 8:23 p.m.

File photo

Police say two people charged with a hate crime on Monday afternoon targeted elderly people, pretending to collect donations for a church before committing burglary.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, officers from the 2nd Precinct responded to a 911 call about the suspects posing as church representatives to gain access to an elderly woman’s apartment in Paumanack Village in Greenlawn, then stealing property from her.

Police officers Frank Muoio and Todd Regan found suspects Heather Marchese, 23, and Sean DiStefano, a 24-year-old Shoreham resident, within the apartment complex and arrested them. Both were charged with second-degree burglary as a hate crime. Marchese, who is homeless, was also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument.

Marchese and DiStefano, who both had other unrelated charges already pending against them, including criminal possession and traffic law violations, were listed on the New York State court system’s online database as representing themselves and could not be reached for comment.

Police said an investigation — by 2nd Squad detectives and the Hate Crimes Unit — has indicated that there may be other victims, and that the suspects targeted the elderly.

Anyone who may have been a target in the scheme is asked to call the Hate Crimes Unit at 631-852-6323.

Frederick McGhee photo from the SCPD

Update: Police reported late Wednesday afternoon that Frederick McGhee, who went missing from his home in St. James, has been located and is unharmed.

A St. James man with memory loss has gone missing from his home, authorities said Wednesday morning.

The Suffolk County Police Department issued a Silver Alert for 89-year-old Frederick McGhee, a resident of Bentley Court, hours after he disappeared in his gray 2003 Toyota Camry, with New York license plate AVH 8442, at 2:30 a.m. Police said he may have been wearing a royal blue jacket and a black hat at the time.

McGhee was described as white, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 145 pounds. He has blue eyes and white hair.

Anyone with information about McGhee’s location is asked to call 911, or the SCPD’s 4th Squad at 631-854-8452.

The Greenway Trail runs between Port Jefferson Station and Setauket. File photo

Days after human skeletal remains were discovered near the Greenway Trail, a Suffolk County police officer assured local residents that he would be patrolling the hiking and biking path in the warmer weather.

Officer William Gibaldi said at the March 25 meeting of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association that he had just driven the trail, which runs between Setauket and Port Jefferson Station, the day before in a police car with another officer.

“When it warms up a little, we’re going to be riding our bikes through there, at least two or three times a week,” he said. “We’re gonna be in there.”

On March 22, around 4 p.m., skeletal remains were spotted close to the 3.5-mile trail at its stretch off of Gnarled Hollow Road. Police are investigating the human remains, and officials have not yet released the sex of the deceased or the person’s cause of death.

It was also unclear when the person died and how long the body had been in the place it was found.

The Greenway Trail, which opened in 2009 and originally ran from Gnarled Hollow Road to Sheep Pasture Road, was recently extended by two miles — one mile on each end — to bring it all the way to Limroy Lane in Setauket and close to Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. While construction was largely completed in late 2013, the community officially opened the trail with a ceremony in early 2014.

“The inspector of the precinct, he wants us on that trail all the time anyway, so we’re gonna be on that trail a lot,” Gibaldi said. “You’ll see us in there, hanging out, riding around or … driving a car.”

A Long Island woman was charged with drunk driving after she allegedly clipped a police officer with her car on Tuesday afternoon and fled the scene.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, the police officer, Dennis Hendrickson, was standing on the shoulder of the Long Island Expressway in Hauppauge, west of exit 56, to assist with traffic control after a crash that closed all westbound lanes. At 2:10 p.m., police said, a 2012 Volkswagen rapidly approached Hendrickson, who signaled to the driver to slow down.

Police allege that the driver, 52-year-old Theresa Finnin-Hunt, disregarded those signals and struck Hendrickson on his right arm and hand as he tried to move out of the way. The suspect allegedly did not stop, continuing west on the LIE shoulder before she was stopped on the highway’s north service road in Brentwood, near Wicks Road, shortly afterward.

Finnin-Hunt, a Sea Cliff resident, was arrested and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury, third-degree unlawful fleeing of a police officer and reckless driving.

Attorney information for the defendant was not immediately available. She was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

Police said Hendrickson, a member of the SCPD’s 4th Precinct Community Support Unit, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital.

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