Police & Fire

Anthony Valva

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced Michael Valva, a former New York City Police Officer, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty last month of Murder in the Second Degree for his part in the death of his 8-year-old son who died of Hypothermia in 2020.

“This is one of the most difficult and heartbreaking cases I have experienced in my nearly 30 years as a prosecutor. Thanks to the great work of my prosecutors and the SCPD, there is a small measure of justice in Michael Valva receiving the maximum sentence. However, no prison sentence is adequate for the cruel treatment this defendant inflicted on his own children,” said DA Tierney.

“The torture that killed Thomas and endangered Anthony’s welfare was nothing short of evil. Thankfully, the story of this defendant ends here, but the pursuit of justice for Thomas and Anthony continues. We will continue to do everything in our power to hold those responsible accountable for the torture and abuse of these children and also to ensure that Suffolk County has proper safeguards in place to prevent a case like this from ever happening again,” he said.

Valva, 45, was also found guilty of four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The evidence at trial established that on the morning of January 17, 2020, Thomas and his brother Anthony had spent the night in the garage of their Center Moriches home with no heat, no bathroom access, no mattress and no blankets. After waking up on the cold cement floor of the garage, Thomas had an accident and soiled his pants.

Evidence submitted from a home surveillance camera captured Michael Valva screaming at Thomas, threatening him and then ordering him outside in the subfreezing temperature to hose him down with water which caused the child to lose consciousness and fall face first several times onto the backyard concrete paver patio.

According to testimony and evidence presented at the trial, Valva delayed calling 911 for help until approximately one hour later. By the time Thomas arrived at the hospital, his body temperature was 76.1 degrees, more than 20 degrees below normal. Additional evidence showed Thomas and his brother Anthony, who were both autistic, had been forced to sleep in the garage for months prior to the incident. The Suffolk County Medical Examiner determined that Thomas Valva died as a result of complications due to Hypothermia.

The brothers had been living at the home with a third brother, their father, his fiancé, and her three daughters since 2017. They were enrolled in the East Moriches School District. School employees testified that Thomas and Anthony appeared thin and were witnessed eating food off the floor, pulling half eaten food from the garbage and taking food from other children. In addition, witnesses testified they would arrive at the school cold, tired, in pain at times, and so soiled that employees could smell urine and feces on them.

His co-defendant and former fiancé Angela Pollina, 45, is also charged with Murder in the Second Degree and four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Pollina is scheduled for trial before Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Timothy P. Mazzei on February 21, 2023.

Valva’s trial was heard before Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable William J. Condon. Valva was represented by Anthony M. LaPinta, Esq., John LoTurco, Esq. and Sabato Caponi, Esq.

This case was prosecuted by Bureau Chief Kerriann Kelly and Assistant District Attorneys Laura Newcombe of the Major Crime Bureau and Assistant District Attorney James P. Scahill of the Vehicular Crime Bureau.

File photo

Suffolk County Police Sixth Squad detectives are investigating a road rage incident that injured a man in Farmingville on Dec. 7.

A woman was driving a 2007 BMW westbound on the LIE between Exits 64 and 63 with a male and female passenger in the vehicle, when she became involved in a road rage incident with a male driver in another vehicle traveling in the same direction, at approximately 10:15 p.m.

Both vehicles exited the LIE at Exit 63 and stopped for a traffic light at Express Drive North at North Ocean Avenue. The suspect left his vehicle, approached the BMW, and attempted to open the driver’s door, which was locked. He then reached into the open rear window to grab the driver, but a male passenger in the rear seat grabbed the suspect’s arm. A struggle ensued, and the suspect cut the passenger’s throat, causing a 4-inch laceration. The driver, hearing the commotion in the rear seat, drove through the red light to escape the assault and continued to the City MD Office, located at 2280A North Ocean Ave., for help.

The suspect got back into his vehicle and fled northbound on North Ocean Avenue. The victim was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect was described as Hispanic, with dark skin, a medium build, brown eyes, and brown curly hair, and appeared to be in his mid-30s to 40s. He was wearing a winter hat and light blue tee-shirt. The vehicle he was driving was described as a royal blue 4-door sedan, possibly a Mazda 3 or 6, with yellow NY plates. There was possibly a female passenger in the suspect’s vehicle.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the Sixth Squad at 631-854-8652 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

 

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Setauket Fire Department Headquarters. File photo.

When residents of the Setauket Fire District vote on Tuesday, Dec. 13, for fire commissioner, they will find one candidate on the ballot for a five-year term.

Anthony Todaro

Current fire commissioner Anthony Todaro is running unchallenged to retain his seat on the board, and he said first and foremost on his mind is recruiting and retaining more volunteers.

He joined the department in 1999 and became certified as a firefighter and EMT. Since then he has been a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief,  chief of department and has served on the board of directors. After leaving the chief’s office in 2014, he has been the department safety officer.

The 43-year-old has lived in Setauket for more than 30 years. He is married to a lifelong Setauket resident and is the father of two boys, 9 and 3.

Todaro started his career as a first responder at Stony Brook University Hospital where he was an emergency medical technician with the hospital’s EMS team. He later transferred to the university’s Environmental Health and Safety as a campus fire marshal.

For the past 13 years, he has been the senior fire marshal with the Town of Brookhaven’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Prevention.

Todaro answered a few questions in an email about why he chose to run for another term.

Why did you decide to run for commissioner again?

I was elected fire commissioner five years ago and as a board we have accomplished a lot in that time frame. We have seen the opening of our new Main Street firehouse; we have upgraded our communications infrastructure and purchased new radio equipment; computers for the apparatus (MDTs); and we have purchased new fire apparatus and ambulances and currently have a new ladder truck on order. We have upgraded equipment such as battery-operated extrication equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus (air packs) and personal protective equipment for the firefighters and EMTs. As a board we have provided our responders with the best possible gear, equipment, vehicles and facilities while staying under the tax cap and keeping an eye on spending. 

I am running for reelection because I feel there is more work to be done and that I can contribute to helping the department and my community. I currently enjoy working with my fellow fire commissioners and feel that we work well together as a board. 

Is there an issue within the district that you would like to tackle?

One of the issues that we need to address as a board is recruiting and retaining more volunteers. Our community is blessed with dedicated and skilled volunteers who respond to calls at all hours of the day. These volunteers give so much of their time to serve their community while balancing their own careers and family obligations, but it is becoming more difficult. Volunteering is down nationally, and call volume continues to rise. Additional training requirements have increased over the years that add to the time volunteers have to devote to the department including new hazards faced in modern building construction, new technologies such as lithium-ion batteries and stored energy facilities and how to respond to these incidents, newer vehicle designs that require special knowledge during motor vehicle accidents and of course COVID just to name a few. 

How would you go about it?

A few years ago, we added part-time career firefighters in addition to our career EMTs and paramedics. This was not done to replace the volunteers but to shoulder some of the burden and help during the daytime when typically most members are working, and response was limited. The chief’s office is working hard to get the most out of the membership and it’s the board of fire commissioners responsibility to assist the chief’s office and provide them with the tools needed to accomplish their mission. 

Todaro added that anyone interested in joining the Setauket Fire Department can visit  www.setauketfd.com for more information. “I did almost 24 years ago, and it’s been an amazing experience,” he said.

Setauket FD election day 

Residents of the Setauket Fire District duly registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections as of Nov. 21 are eligible to vote in the Tuesday, Dec. 13, election. Voters can cast their ballots between 2 and 9 p.m. at the firehouse located at 394 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook.

The five-year fire commissioner term commences on Jan. 1, 2023, and ends on Dec. 31, 2027.

Stony Brook FD fire commissioner race

Like the Setauket Fire Commissioner race, Stony Brook Fire District has one candidate for one position. Current fire commissioner Brian McAllister will look to retain his seat for a five-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and terminating on Dec. 31, 2027.

Voters in the Stony Brook Fire District who have registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on or before Nov. 21 are eligible to vote.

Voting will take place Tuesday, Dec. 13, between 2 and 9 p.m. at Station 2, located at 1410 Stony Brook Road, Stony Brook.

TBR News Media was unable to reach McAllister before our deadline. We invite him and other fire commissioners to contact us in the future. We are always open to profiles on local fire commissioners to introduce them to the community and to educate our readers on the latest happenings in our fire departments and districts.

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Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Fourth Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who allegedly stole items from a vehicle in Hauppauge this month. A man allegedly stole a pair of Oakley sunglasses and other items from an unlocked 2020 Toyota Highlander parked outside a Busch Street residence on November 18 at approximately 4:40 a.m.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com.

All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

 

UPDATE: Following an investigation and tips from the community, the Havanese puppy that was stolen
from Selmer’s Pet Land in Huntington Station on December 6 was recovered on Dec. 7 in Brooklyn.
The 3-month-old puppy was returned to the pet store. The incident is under investigation.

Below is the original press release:

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating the theft of a puppy from a Huntington Station pet store. A man stole a male Havanese puppy from Selmer’s Pet Land, located at 125 East Jericho Turnpike, on Dec. 6 at approximately 12:35 p.m. by placing the dog inside a backpack. The man was described as white, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and was wearing a purple jacket and yamaka. He possibly fled on a bicycle. The puppy, which is approximately 3 months old, is microchipped.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the Second Squad at 631-854-
8252 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

 

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File photo
Suffolk County Police arrested two men on Dec. 1 for multiple grand larcenies after they allegedly stole merchandise from stores located in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Precincts.

Henry E. Sanders and Quintan Larkins allegedly stole multiple items of men’s clothing from Walmart, located at 1850 Veterans Memorial Highway in Islandia, at 8:05 a.m. and from Kohl’s, located at 106 Ronkonkoma Ave. in Ronkonkoma at 9:01 p.m. on November 17.

Following an investigation, the two men were identified. Fourth Squad detectives located and arrested Sanders, 39, of Central Islip, at 4:42 p.m. and Larkins, 34, of Ronkonkoma, at 7:50 p.m. at their homes.

Following an investigation, the two were charged with the following:

  •   Grand Larceny 4th Degree for stealing from Old Navy, located at 5175 Sunrise Highway in Bohemia on November 3.
  •   Grand Larceny 4th Degree for stealing from Walmart in Islandia on November 17.
  •   Grand Larceny 4th Degree for stealing from Kohl’s in Ronkonkoma on November 17.Both men will be released on desk appearance tickets and are scheduled for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip at a later date.

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File photo
Photo from SCPD
Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate a man who allegedly stole from a Port Jefferson Station store in November.

A man allegedly stole four bottles of whiskey from Markay’s Wine and Liquor, located at 4600 Nesconset Highway, at approximately 5:50 p.m. on November 26. The merchandise was valued at approximately $1,350. He left the scene in a dark-colored SUV.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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File photo
Photo from SCPD
Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Fifth Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who allegedly burglarized a Ronkonkoma restaurant in October.

A man allegedly stole cash from the New Ming restaurant, located at 3311 Veterans Memorial Highway during the overnight hours of October 12 and October 13. He was wearing a light blue or gray hoodie with white lettering on the front, and dark-colored jeans.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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File photo
Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD
Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Third Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the men who allegedly stole from a Central Islip store last month.

Two men allegedly stole assorted items from Target, located at 160 North Research Place, on November 21. The merchandise was valued at approximately $1,170.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at www.P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

 

Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD
This puppy was stolen on Dec. 6.
Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating the theft of a puppy from a Huntington Station pet store. A man allegedly stole a male Havanese puppy from Selmer’s Pet Land, located at 125 East Jericho Turnpike, on Dec. 6 at approximately 12:35 p.m. by placing the dog inside a backpack. The man was described as white, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and was wearing a purple jacket and yamaka. He possibly fled on a bicycle. The puppy, which is approximately 3 months old, is microchipped. Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.