Police & Fire

Police said a number of young people on bikes physically and verbally harassed members of a Port Jefferson Station gym last Thursday. Photo from Crossfit DHP

Crossfit DHP in Port Jefferson Station was the site of a tense confrontation between the owners of a local gym and a crowd of children and teens on bikes. Though police said nobody was hurt, owners said this could be a learning experience that parents make sure kids show respect.

Suffolk County Police said around 20 young people on bikes were roving around the Port Jeff Station area July 23, and that officers responded to two disturbances outside the gym at 5:30 and then around 6:15 p.m. Police said once they arrived, the groups dispersed with no injuries on either side.

Police said the young people then traveled to Wendy’s on Nesconset Highway and allegedly threw drinks and cursed at patrons. 

Two tickets were issued to two of the juvenile’s parents.

In a statement, gym owners said a group of young men and women on their bikes were seen smoking weed behind the building when they started harassing gym members who were going on their run.

We asked them to be aware of our presence but then they started hitting our members with their bikes,” the statement reads. “At that point we asked them to leave and that we would call the cops to which they said they were proud that the cops were chasing them around all day. With a lot of vulgar language and verbal harassment, they did start to leave as the cops escorted them out.”

On the way out, gym owners said one kid tried to throw a barbell at one of the gym members. The bikers left after police were initially called, but about 10 minutes later came back to harass the gym again. That is when the video was recorded, and owners said the bikers took pipes from their bikes and swung them at member’s heads. 

“To go even further, several of them spit on us, which during a pandemic is unquestionably wrong,” the statement read.

On July 31, police announced they have made two arrests, namely two males, both 15 years old, of Centereach, whom police said were involved in the incident.

One of the teens was charged with 2nd degree reckless endangerment for throwing a barbell at a gym member, and the other was charged with second degree menacing for swinging a bicycle seat at another gym member.

The teens were issued desk appearance tickets and scheduled for arraignment at Suffolk County Family Court in Central Islip Aug. 14.

A viral video posted to the Comsewogue Community Facebook page has since been taken down, but in that video the crowd of young people, most not wearing masks, surrounded the front of the gym’s parking lot where owners and a few gym members confronted them. 

One unidentified young person in the video in a light blue shirt became physical with one unidentified person from the gym, seemingly throwing a punch that doesn’t connect. Young people could be heard swearing and threatening the adults. Another man stepped forward holding a rod of some kind, but in the video he does not appear to use it on the bikers. 

At one point in the video, somebody tried to grab something from a woman at the gym, and a brief struggle ensued but was quickly broken up. 

Owner of the gym Ryder Champouillon and his wife and fellow gym coach Jen posted a video to their gym Facebook page the day after the original video was released, thanking community members for their well wishes.

In the statement, the gym owners thanked Suffolk County Police along with Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) for their genuine response to the incident. 

In the gym’s statement, they said this is not the first episode of harassment in the local community, and many more have posted about such incidents to community Facebook pages. Though thanks to the community, owners said they have already been able to identify many of the people in that video.

Our sole purpose within our facility is to offer the community a single outlet to find healthcare, nutrition and exercise that improves our lives, which improves our community as a whole,” the statement read. “We spoke earlier with members of the local government about moving forward with programs for the community and youth to have an outlet surrounded by positive role models.”

Owners asked anybody who could identify the bikers to send a confidential email to [email protected]

This post has been updated July 31 with information on two arrests.

File photo.

Suffolk County Police last night arrested a woman for allegedly driving while intoxicated after her vehicle crashed into a utility pole and caught fire in Hauppauge July 29.

Melanie L’ hommedieu was driving a 2009 BMW southbound on Wheeler Road, at the intersection of Marlo Lane, when the vehicle crossed a double yellow line, crashed into a utility pole and caught fire at approximately 10:05 p.m. Two men in a vehicle traveling behind the BMW witnessed the crash and stopped to offer assistance. The Good Samaritans safely pulled L’hommedieu from the BMW. There were no injuries.

L’ hommedieu, 45, St. James, was arrested and charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation and multiple traffic violations. She is being held overnight at the Fourth Precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on July 30.

Germani Williams, at left, marches at a protest in Huntington earlier this month. Photo from SCCC

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart and police department representatives joined 60 Suffolk County Community College students and staff July 13 in a virtual conversation about policing in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The forum was arranged as part of Suffolk’s The Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding’s weekly forums for students.

Advocacy and Empowerment 101: Protest to Progress was born from weekly virtual gatherings held each Monday evening to empower students as well as provide an open forum to share their thoughts after the death of George Floyd while being detained by Minneapolis police and the subsequent national dialogue about police, discrimination and race. The students also discuss what they can do to effectively and actively bring about change.

Hart shared with students the department’s ongoing efforts to engage with and build community relationships. Hart was joined by Deputy Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis, Assistant to the Police Commissioner Felix Adeyeye and Inspector Milagros Soto.

Suffolk County Community College 2020 graduate Germani Williams, 28, from Holbrook said she urged the college to initiate the forum with police. 

“I wanted to know what Suffolk was going to do to make students feel safe during this time, and I wanted to be a part of it,” Williams said, adding that watching the news during the last several weeks has brought about a range of emotions from angry to sad and worried and a lot of anxiety. But, Williams said, speaking with the Suffolk County Police Commissioner was “potentially a once in a lifetime necessary conversation.”   

Williams said that while the conversation was a good beginning, more needs to be done.“

There was honesty,” she said. “But it was disheartening to go to a protest in Huntington the next day and witness police officers handing out tickets to protestors.”  

The former student added she will continue to be a voice for social justice and equal rights as she prepares to continue her studies at St. Joseph’s College in the fall.

“The Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding and Suffolk County Community College are committed to providing opportunities for students to connect and openly discuss important issues impacting students’ lives,” said Jill Santiago, director of The Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding. “The conversations the students are having with each other and with the police department are a critical first step if we expect to bring about substantial change in our communities. We expect these conversations to continue throughout the summer and into the fall.” 

The weekly forums open to all Suffolk County Community College students are sponsored by the College’s Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Black and African American Student Success Task Force.

The Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding: Featuring the Holocaust Collection’s mission is to teach about historical events and promote issues of social justice and respect for human dignity through educational programming. The center’s vision is of a world in which each person can live in peaceful coexistence and pursue a life in freedom and dignity, and in which our citizens reflect upon their moral responsibilities. In addition to programs and events, the center offers tours of its Holocaust museum which houses the largest collection of Holocaust artifacts in the region.

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Suffolk County Police arrested a man July 25 for reckless endangerment after he allegedly fired a rifle and shotgun numerous times in Commack.

Police officers responded to several 911 calls reporting shots fired on Fulton Boulevard at 11:07 p.m. July 24. When officers arrived, they found numerous shell casings in the yard of 47 Fulton Blvd., and Mikhail Niyazov, the resident of the house, came outside.

Following an investigation, Niyazov was arrested at 12:47 a.m.

Twenty-five shell casings were recovered from shots that were fired into the air and the ground, and four weapons were removed from the residence. There were no injuries or damage to property reported.

Niyazov, 58, was charged with reckless endangerment.

He is being held overnight at the 4th Precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip in the morning.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the 4th Squad at 631-854-8452 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

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Suffolk County Police 4th Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a bicyclist in Lake Grove July 23.

Brian Ferretti was driving a 2005 Toyota sedan eastbound on Middle Country Road at the intersection of New Moriches Road, when the vehicle collided with a male bicyclist, who was traveling southbound from New Moriches Road at 1:44 a.m.

The bicyclist, Peter Ferentinos, 61, of Nesconset, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. Ferretti, 20, of Sayville, was not injured.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check. Anyone with information on this crash is asked to call the 4th Squad at 631-854-8452.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County Police 6th Squad detectives are investigating several vehicle thefts from food delivery drivers in July.

Police said several incidents in July share similar details, where drivers exited their vehicles to deliver food, when the vehicles were stolen. In these incidents, no resident at the delivery address had placed a food order.

The incidents occurred at the following locations:

• A 2015 Toyota Camry was stolen on Old Town Road, Port Jefferson Station, July 7 at approximately 9 p.m.

• A 2015 Kia Seoul was stolen on Provost Avenue, North Bellport, July 7 at approximately 11:50 p.m.

• A 2007 Toyota Rav-4 was stolen on Mayflower Street, Setauket, July 9 at approximately 11:50 p.m.

• A 2004 Nissan Sentra was stolen on Hawks Nest Rd, Setauket, July 10 at approximately 10:45 p.m.

• A 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander was stolen on Eastwood Road, Miller Place, July 11 at approximately 7:10 p.m.

• A 2002 Volkswagen Passat was stolen on Arrowhead Lane, Setauket, July 15 at approximately 9:10 p.m.

• An attempt was made to steal a 2019 Hyundai on Patchogue Avenue, North Bellport, July 15 at approximately 4:35 p.m.

Detectives are asking all delivery drivers to take precautions and keep their vehicle keys with them at all times. Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding the thefts to call 6th Squad detectives at 631-854-8652 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477).

Regina Bornello, center, surrounded by her husband and children. Photo from Gofundme page

A Gofundme for the family of a woman who died in a Riverhead motorcycle crash Monday has already raised over $70,000 from more than 600 people as of Thursday.

Riverhead police announced July 14 that Regina Bornello, 45, of Rocky Point, was involved in a motorcycle crash the day before on Sound Avenue in Riverhead. Police said in a release that Bornello’s 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle was travelling westbound on Sound Avenue when it entered the eastbound lane and struck a 2003 Honda Civic driven by an unidentified 50-year-old man. The Civic turned over and the Riverhead Fire Department had to extricate the owner who was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center, according to police. Bornello succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the crash, police said.

According to the Gofundme, Bornello is survived by her husband Dennis and three children. 

“Heaven has opened its gates to a loving mother, a loving wife and a beautiful person to all that know her,” wrote John Brush, of Oakdale, on the Gofundme page he created.

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Police are looking for the person (s) who spray painted cars in the Town of Smithtown. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department
Police are looking for the person (s) who spray painted a fence in the Town of Smithtown. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police 4th Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating person(s) who spray painted resident’s property in Smithtown and Nesconset.

A person or persons spray painted vehicles, fences, mailboxes and other assorted property with blue and green spray paint in the vicinity of Howell Drive in Smithtown and in the vicinity of Southern Boulevard in Nesconset sometime between June 8 and June 9.

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.

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Police said they are looking for several people who were allegedly involved in stealing money from cars in Sound Beach early July. Photos from SCPD

Suffolk County police are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate persons who allegedly stole cash from multiple vehicles in Sound Beach earlier this month.

The 7th Precinct said several people stole cash and a wallet from vehicles parked in residential areas on Greenlawn Road and Sunrise Drive from the evening of July 1 to the morning of July 2. Two of the men were caught on surveillance video in the area.

Police said they are looking for several people who were allegedly involved in stealing money from cars in Sound Beach early July. Photos from SCPD

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 800-220-TIPS (8477), utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips or online at P3Tips.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

Man allegedly reached into a Burger King drive through to steal cash from the restaurant. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department
Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police 2nd Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who allegedly stole cash from a Huntington Station restaurant earlier this month.

A man reached through the drive through window and allegedly stole cash from Burger King located at 837 New York Avenue  July 7 at approximately 11:40 p.m.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone 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. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.