Police & Fire

The sign hung above the Roger’s Friage ice cream and candy shop May 26 was spray painted by an unknown person the day after it was hung. Photo by Roger Rutherford

A new banner was installed above Roger’s Frigate candy and ice cream shop in Port Jeff Tuesday, May 26. While previous politically minded banners above the candy shop expressed support for President Donald Trump (R), the latest one now reads “Impeach Cuomo.” 

A woman that Rutherford said had trespassed on the property to deface the banner. Photo by Roger Rutherford

Roger Rutherford, the general manager of Roger’s Frigate, reiterated he has no control over signs being put up because longtime Port Jefferson shop owner George Wallis owns the building. Rutherford did however support Wallis’ right to free speech. 

“He has a strong belief in protesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and his reopening plan,” the general manager said. “George is frustrated that he can’t reopen and believes that he can run business safely.”

Sometime around midday Wednesday, May 27, a person reportedly trespassed upstairs on the frigate’s property and defaced the banner with spray paint. Rutherford said the banner was temporarily removed, but was back up by the end of the day Wednesday.

“The police were called and they are currently looking for this woman who vandalized our property,” Rutherford said.

Back in February, Wallis installed a pro-Trump banner above of the frigate. Village officials said that it violated village code and fined the business owner $2,000 a day for the time it had not been taken down. 

Mayor Margot Garant said the banner is an illegal sign. 

“The sign was just put up yesterday late afternoon and our legal department is handling the situation,” she said.

Steam Room Receives Distancing Complaints Memorial Day Weekend

The East Broadway seafood restaurant was on the receiving end of a social distancing complaint earlier this week, with Suffolk County police responded to the 311 call. George Wallis is also the owner of the restaurant space. 

Rutherford didn’t know the nature of the call but said the complaint was the result of the outside dining on the restaurant’s premises. 

“They thought they were being safe by having tables six to 10 feet apart,” he said. 

Multiple posts to social media included pictures of the Steam Room’s dining area, which is enclosed but exposed to the outside, packed with sit down diners Memorial Day weekend, despite current mandates that all restaurants be restricted to takeout or pickup operations.

SCPD warned the restaurant owners that they couldn’t operate outside dining and said it could face further fines and penalties if it continued, according to Rutherford. 

Suffolk County Police confirmed the restaurant was visited a total of three times Sunday and Monday for noncompliance complaints. The restaurant removed seating after the first complaint to comply with the New York on PAUSE order, police said. They found the restaurant to be in compliance the second and third time they were called.

Garant was adamant restaurants needed to comply with the PAUSE order.

“Restaurants cannot have outside dining,” the mayor said. “We are not in Phase 3 yet, they can only do take-out [at this time] … I think what happened was unfortunate.”

The Mayor also added that the village and the Business Improvement District have given owners specific guidelines on what they’re able to do during this time. 

“We want them to operate responsibly, but we have to continue to follow these mandates if we want to get to the other side and stay open,” she said.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

At about 1:30 a.m. May 26, Suffolk County Police officers rescued five people, including a 6-year old and a 15-year old, from a fire in Huntington Station.

After a 911 call, officers found the building at 1344 New York Avenue, which has a commercial business on the first floor and two apartments on the second floor, on fire.

The family at the rear of the building climbed to the roof, where they awaited help. Officer Giacomo Marchese steadied a ladder as Officer John Farrell and Michael Haggerty climbed to the roof.

Farrell handed the 6-year old to Haggerty, who carried the child to safety. The officers escorted the other family members off the roof. The family went to Huntington Hospital as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Officer Matthew Berube entered the burning building in a street level entrance, climbed to the second floor and escorted a woman, who was unharmed, out of the building.

“Five lives were saved today in part due to the immediate actions of these four Suffolk County police officers,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart in a statement. “Every day, police officers put on their uniform not knowing what is ahead of them and today, these officers risked their lives running toward a burning building to save Huntington Station residents. The Suffolk County Police family could not be more proud of these heroic officers.”

The cause of the fire appears to be non-criminal, according to an SCPD spokesperson.

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon speaks during a media event Feb. 9 at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Yaphank. Photo by Kevin Redding

While jails and prisons across the country have seen a rise in COVID-19 in their facilities, the Suffolk County Correctional Facilities in Riverhead and Yaphank have seen significantly lower cases. Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon (D) credits early usage of face covering, frequent sanitation and social distancing practices. 

To date, only one inmate has contracted COVID-19 while at the Suffolk County Correctional Facility and one inmate entered the jail already carrying the virus. The average daily inmate population is 515. Less than 2 percent, or 21 correctional staff out of 858 has come down with coronavirus.  

The sheriff also reported four deputies out of 252 contracted the virus and only one civilian employee of 130 was confirmed with COVID-19. They only have nine coronavirus cases of officers. Currently, the facilities have no COVID-19 positives. 

Toulon said that since everyone is required to wear face coverings and that social distancing is enforced throughout the facilities, coronavirus hasn’t spread inside the two jails like it has elsewhere. He added it “should serve as an example” for the general public that COVID-19 can be controlled by following the advice of public health officials.  

“I think if more people knew how we have controlled the spread of COVID-19 inside the jails by wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance from others, that people would understand that they do have some control if they take personal responsibility,” he said. “The mixed messages have put too many people in danger, led to further spread of the virus, and it has caused immeasurable damage to the economy.”  

In April, a state court denied the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County’s request to free around 120 inmates over coronavirus fears. The State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen claimed the decision was, in part, because of the jail’s success in halting the spread of the virus. The legal aid society was, however, successful in securing release of many other inmates held on noncriminal parole violations. 

The numbers are significant, especially compared to other jails in New York. The New York Times reported May 20 that 1,259 of New York City’s 9,680 correction officers and their supervisors have caught the virus, while at least six have died. To note, however, there are thousands more inmates in city jails compared to Suffolk County’s facilities.

Security footage of the man police said allegedly stole a tractor from Port Jeff Station. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police said a man who allegedly stole a tractor from the Vistas of Port Jefferson, then used it to seemingly deliberately hit a man at a gas station in Coram.

Security footage of the man police said allegedly stole a tractor from Port Jeff Station. Photo from SCPD

Police said the unknown man allegedly stole a small two-door compact John Deere tractor with a red front plow April 20 from the retirement community located at 588 North Bicycle Path in Port Jefferson Station. 

Video released by police on their Youtube channel show that on April 21 the alleged criminal pulled up in the tractor to the US1 gas station, located at 1575 Route 112 in Coram. 

A gas station employee came out to talk to the man in the tractor. Police said the employee believed the tractor had been stolen, and was attempting to call police when the alleged criminal started positioning the tractor as if to hit him. The man then gunned the tractor, hitting the employee who fell back and sprawled on the ground. The tractor then sped off down the road.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 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 P3Tips.com.

File photo

Suffolk County Police said marine officers rescued three men who were stranded in the Long Island Sound Thursday evening.

A 911 caller reported to police that three men were fishing and became stranded in a 10-foot inflatable raft that was drifting out to sea approximately one mile north of Sound Beach at around 7:30 p.m May 14. The raft was taking on water.

Marine officers Greg Stroh and Mike Malone responded in Marine Delta and located the men in the raft within 15 minutes of the call. The boats occupants, Carlos Argeta 31, Elmer Argeta, 36, and Moisises Perez, 38, all of Patchogue, were taken aboard Marine Delta and transported along with their raft to a boat ramp in Mount Sinai.

The three men, all wearing life jackets, were not injured.

File photo

Suffolk County Police said a man was killed in Coram Wednesday, May 13 after he was struck by a car.

Police said a Shoreham man was allegedly driving a 2010 Mercedes northbound on North Ocean Avenue, near Hawkins Road, when the vehicle struck William Moschetto, 33 of Mount Sinai, who walked into the roadway into the path of the vehicle at around 12:15 p.m.

Moschetto was taken via ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to call the 6th Squad at 631-854-8652.

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Suffolk County Police Fourth Precinct officers May 8 arrested a Hauppauge man after he allegedly crashed into two police vehicles while fleeing police officers who were investigating him for a prior robbery.

Fourth Squad Special Operations detectives were heading to Rose Court in Hauppauge to conduct surveillance on the home of Theodore Martinez at approximately 4:45 p.m. Martinez, who was a suspect in a prior robbery, recognized the detectives as he was driving past them in a 2012 Volkswagen sedan and allegedly sped away. A few minutes later, Martinez’s car struck a marked police vehicle at Old Nichols Road near Motor Parkway, then fled the scene.

Police officers in the marked vehicle initiated a pursuit, but terminated the pursuit when the suspect entered a residential area in Hauppauge. Moments later, while police were canvassing the area, the suspect struck an unmarked detective vehicle with the Volkswagen, then allegedly fled that scene.

As Martinez was fleeing, he crashed the Volkswagen into the original marked vehicle on Wheeler Road, north of the North Service Road in Hauppauge, where he was arrested and taken into custody at 4:51 p.m.

Martinez, 32, was charged with robbery, two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of assault, criminal possession of a controlled substance, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and unlawful fleeing. The suspect’s mother, Loretta Martines, 57, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was also arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

A police officer and a detective sustained minor injuries during the incident.

New York Cancer & Blood Specialists in PJS.

Starting May 2, the Port Jefferson Station location of the New York Cancer & Blood Specialists will begin to offer COVID-19 testing to local fire and ambulance districts.

A spokesperson for the company said multiple local fire departments have committed to be the first groups tested at the site. It is reserved specifically for first responders only. The site will offer both antibody and nasal swab testing for COVID-19, and such results of this testing could also be useful in determining the utilization and allocation of personal protective equipment.

“We are trying to help the fire departments determine who can go back out into the field safely, whether or not members were previously exposed, if they’re not actively infected anymore, or if they have the antibodies so it’s safer for them to go into certain areas,” Diana Youngs, the vice president of clinical operations at NYCBS said in a release.

“Increased, reliable testing is going to be the key to reopening businesses, public facilities, and protecting our workers,” Brookhaven town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said in a release. “Offering these tests to our frontline workers is a critical first step.”

The location which is closed on weekends ensures no potential exposure to patients. Nurses in PPE will test the local fire and EMS volunteers at a designated drawing station in the parking lot. The results are processed within 30 minutes for the antibody test and between 18-24 hours for the nasal swab test.

“Volunteer ambulance workers on Long Island place themselves at risk of contracting this virus every day that they report for duty. Every single call they respond to is a potential COVID-19 positive patient,” said Greg Miglino,  the chief of South Country Ambulance. “We’re grateful to New York Cancer and Blood Specialists for offering testing to these volunteers, who put their lives on the line, not for pay, but to serve the most vulnerable people in our community.”

The location is at 1500 Route 112 Port Jefferson Station.

Police said a man stole a grill outside a Miller Place Shop April 26. Photo from SCPD
Police said a man stole a grill outside a Miller Place Shop April 26. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk police are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate a person who allegedly stole a full display grill from outside a Miller Place store last month.

Police said a man allegedly cut the cable and stole a Weber Spirit grill outside Brinkmann’s Hardware, located at 900 Route 25, on April 26. The grill was valued at approximately $700.

People with information 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. Police offer a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. All calls and texts are confidential.

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Police arrested a man Sunday, April 27 after an alleged several-hour long armed standoff at his Rocky Point residence.

Suffolk County Police said the landlord for the property located at 56 Shell Road called 911 at around 6:30 p.m. to report her tenant, Damien Loecher, 39, had locked himself inside the residence following a verbal dispute.

What followed was several hours of negotiations between Loecher and police as the man had barricaded himself inside the small, single story house with a rifle. 7th precinct officers, Emergency Service Section officers and members of the Hostage Negotiation Team responded to the scene. Loecher allegedly broke windows, damaged the interior of the house and threatened police. At around 10:15 p.m., Loecher exited the rear of the residence where police said officers apprehended Loecher in the backyard of the residence and arrested him. There were no injuries.

7th Squad detectives charged Loecher with menacing a police officer and criminal mischief 2nd degree. He will be arraigned on a later date.