Police & Fire

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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.

A kitten was rescued by Suffolk County Police July 10 from a Terryville storm drain. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police officers responded as quick as a cat to a little kitten reported stuck in a Terryville storm drain Friday, July 10.

Police said officers responded to 39 Clymer Street at around 6 p.m. after a 911 caller reported a kitten had fallen into the drain on the side of the road. The officers notified the Emergency Service Section.

ESS Officer Michael Viruet then climbed into the drain, police said, and rescued the kitten. The baby cat was adopted by a local resident once removed from the drain.

Residents prepare July Fourth at-home firework shows in Port Jefferson Station in 2018. Photo by Kyle Barr

For the past month or so, the sounds of fireworks have rang throughout the night in many parts of Long Island. Despite fireworks being banned in New York State for decades, Suffolk and Nassau officials have acknowledged seeing an increase in the number of complaints to police departments about illegal fireworks. 

The increase could be attributed to the lack of official Fourth of July firework display due to the coronavirus pandemic, or simply boredom. 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone held a media briefing with Suffolk Police Chief Stuart Cameron prior to July 4 to warn residents about the dangers of using illegal fireworks. During the event, they showcased the dangers and destruction of fireworks by igniting a collection of pyrotechnics in a camper. 

This past holiday weekend there have been several firework injury incidents in Suffolk County. A man in Port Jefferson Station was injured when he attempted to light a firework that explored and injured one of his eyes. Additionally, a 29-year old man in Central Islip was severely wounded in the hand from an exploding firework. The man was at home on Tamarack Street when the injury occurred around 9:10 p.m. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.

Facebook community groups have also taken notice of the increase in illegal fireworks, People on community Facebook pages have made a number of posts throughout the past couple of months with complaints over fireworks. People not only recognized the negative effect it had on animals, but others mentioned a child with special needs constantly being woken by the loud bangs outside. 

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 230 people a year are treated in emergency rooms because of injuries caused by fireworks. In 2017, sparklers caused 1,200 injuries.

“Every year, we do these reminders and talk about the dangers of fireworks,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said during a call with media after the holiday weekend. 

Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron said the county did have a higher incidence of fireworks-related calls, due to the limitations on large crowds at the usual fireworks shows.

Photo depicting where Harrison was when the vehicle struck the protester. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Suffolk County Police arrested a man they said allegedly falsely reported that he was struck by a car during a protest in Huntington Station earlier this week.

Keith Harrison, 56, was at a Black Lives Matter protest on Broadway July 6 when a vehicle driven by Anthony Cambareri, of Coram, allegedly struck protesters at around 6:45 p.m.

Police said Harrison allegedly filed a police report, stating he was also struck and was transported to Huntington Hospital.

An investigation by 2nd Squad detectives determined Harrison was not struck. Police provided media with the image show of who they say is Harrison not near where the car originally struck protesters.

He was arrested at his home in Hempstead, at around 4:30 p.m. July 8 and was charged with falsely reporting an incident. He was issued a field appearance ticket and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip July 28.

Another man, Jeremiah Bennett, 26 of East Meadow, was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Huntington Hospital. Bennett alleged on Facebook the vehicle sped up when he came near protesters. Other activists have started a campaign to advocate for more serious charges against Cambareri.

No attorney information for Cambareri is yet available. He is set to appear in front of Suffolk First District Court July 24.

FIle photo

Suffolk County Police 4th Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a man in Smithtown early in the morning July 9.

James Turek was driving a 2007 Nissan Altima eastbound on Route 347, just east of Terry Road, when the vehicle collided with the rear of an eastbound box truck at about 1:15 a.m.

Turek, 33, of Mount Sinai, was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the box truck, an adult male, was transported to the same hospital for evaluation.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the crash to contact the 4th Squad at 631-854-8452.

Department chief Kevin Fitzpatrick presents a plaque to Hailee Hurtado July 6. Photo by Rita J. Egan

A 15-year-old’s heroic actions were recognized July 6 at Smithtown Fire Department’s main facility on Elm Avenue.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim talks about Hailee before he and councilmembers gave her and her sister Madison skateboards. Photo by Rita J. Egan

The fire department, elected officials and the Smithtown Children’s Foundation presented Hailee Hurtado with awards and presents for helping to save her entire family from a devastating house fire June 26. If her actions would have been delayed by a few minutes, the outcome could have ended in tragedy, according to the fire department’s public information officer Rick Torre.

“We can all agree today that Hailee’s quick instinct and fast actions define her today as a hero,” Torre said.

It was in the early morning hours of June 26 when Hailee thought she smelled smoke in her Stuyvesant Lane home. Her first response was to wake up her father, Jonathan Hurtado, who discovered there was a fire in the garage. As the father evacuated his wife, Evelyn, and younger daughter, Madison, Hailee ran downstairs for her grandmother. After getting his wife and younger daughter to safety, Jonathan Hurtado returned inside the house where he found Hailee downstairs assisting her grandmother who uses a cane.

When the family was all safe outside, the garage became engulfed in flames and the fire had spread up the exterior to the upper level. Despite the fire department responding in minutes, the home was left uninhabitable with the total destruction of all keepsakes, clothing and electronics.

Torre said while firefighters are trained and participate in drills, Hailee didn’t have that luxury.

“In the early morning hours of June 26, the skills of the classroom or drills didn’t come into play for Hailee Hurtado,” he said. “It was instinct.”

Department chief Kevin Fitzpatrick presented Hailee with a plaque, and she received accolades and certificates for her valor from Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), state Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset), County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R) and Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R).

Hailee Hurtado, left, holds the plaque she received from the Smithtown Fire Department as Congressman Lee Zeldin (R) congratulates her on her bravery July 6. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Zeldin congratulated Hailee on her bravery and counted her among the town’s finest as several of the department’s firefighters were on hand for the event.

“It really says a lot about what Hailee did when you have hometown heroes calling you a hero,” he said.

John Kennedy said his office has internships and then handed Hailee his business card and said she was welcomed to call at any time if she were interested in interning in his office.

Wehrheim joked that Hailee asked her parents if she really had to attend, he said, “Now you know why you had to come.”

“The Hurtado family have lost their home, their memories and their keepsakes, but they still have each other thanks to Hailee doing the impossible,” Wehrheim said. “It’s a privilege to honor her today.”

After his speech, Wehrheim and councilmembers gave Hailee and her sister skateboards. Mario Mattera, who is running for State Senate in November and is the business agent for Local Plumbers Union 200, presented four bicycles for the whole family.

Christine Fitzgerald, co-founder of the Smithtown Children’s Foundation, said an iPhone 11 was on the way for Hailee. The foundation has provided relief for the family after the fire and neighbors have started a GoFundMe page to help.

While Hailee was too shy to speak, her father Jonathan Hurtado said the tragedy has been surreal, and he thanked his neighbors and the community, especially the firefighters for their quick response.

“It was apparent in that moment I didn’t know what to do with myself and my family,” he said.

The father said the family appreciated the help they have received and neighbors reaching out to check up on them.

“It was truly a blessing to see how everybody pitched in,” he said.

People wishing to help the Hurtados can visit GoFundMe.com and search Help the Hurtado Family.

Police Set New Guidelines for Protests

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With Suffolk County entering Phase 4 of a planned reopening, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) provided his final daily media update on the county’s response to the virus. The County Executive had conducted 122 such updates, as residents suffered personal and economic losses that extend far beyond the daily numbers and statistics.

“We reached the final stage of reopening” today, Bellone said. The county has gone “up the mountain and made it down the other side. In the process, we’ve seen terrible tragedy and acts of extraordinary heroism.”

Entering Phase 4 marks a “new stage” in this unprecedented event,” Bellone added.

Even as the county executive is pleased that the county has moved to Phase 4, in which people can gather outdoors in groups of 50 instead of 25 and some businesses that had remained closed can reopen, he is still aware of the additional work necessary to open other enterprises that remained closed, such as gyms, bowling alleys, catering facilities and movie theaters.

Gyms have presented plans for reducing risk, such as individual workout sessions and class-based reservations that would allow contact tracing to reduce risk, Bellone said.

Asked about reopening schools, which will affect so many families and teachers across the county, Bellone said he thinks schools “need to reopen. That needs to be done safely.”

He suggested that putting together those plans was complicated, but that it shouldn’t be a divisive or political issue.

“We know it is good for kids to be in school,” Bellone said. “We can not have a whole generation of kids that are falling behind. We know the devastating impact that would have.”

The county executive called on the federal government to provide relief to schools to prevent them from having to cut areas that he deemed critical, such as arts, music, sports and staff. Reopening schools will require additional expenses, as schools will not be able to operate normally.

“Right now, schools are worried about paying for the basics,” Bellone said. A federal government that didn’t provide disaster assistance would be “absolutely unconscionable.”

Viral Numbers

The number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus was 69, which represents a 1.7 percent positive rate for new tests. While that percentage is higher than the recent average, which is closer to 1.1 percent, Bellone said he doesn’t put too much stock in any one day’s data.

The total number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 is 41,799.

The number of people who have tested positive for the antibody but who didn’t have symptoms of the disease is 20,104.

The number of people in the hospital declined by seven to 50, which is “an amazing number considering where we’ve been.”

The number in the Intensive Care Units is nine.

Overall hospital bed occupancy was at 68 percent, while ICU bed occupancy was at 59 percent.

Six people were discharged from the hospital in the last day.

The viral death toll held steady at a revised 1,984, as no residents died from complications related to the coronavirus.

To prepare for a possible second wave of the virus, the county developed a contact tracing program and has worked through procurement to stockpile some personal protective equipment.

Police Rules for Protests

The Suffolk County Police Department put several new rules in place in connection with any future protests.

For starters, demonstrators need to contact the SCPD at least 24 hours in advance to indicate the route they plan to take. They can call (631) 852-6110 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. from Monday through Friday.

Protests are prohibited from congregating in the street and disrupting the flow of traffic. Police said people who don’t comply with this rule are subject to enforcement action.

Demonstrators cannot block vehicular or pedestrian traffic and may not enter private property without consent.

Demonstrators may also not walk in the traffic lanes of a roadway when prohibited.

Finally, people who are older than two years old who can tolerate a face mask medically is required to wear one in situations where maintaining six feet of social distancing is not possible.

Marine Bravo tows a capsized boat to a ramp in Northport. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Suffolk County Police Department Marine Bureau officers rescued five people from the Long Island Sound after their boat overturned the afternoon of July 7.

Marine Bureau officers, Dave Froehlich and Patrick Ennis, aboard Marine Bravo, responded to a 911 call for a capsized boat in the Long Island Sound just off the coast of Crab Meadow Beach at about 4:40 p.m. Upon arriving, the officers found five men standing on the underside of a recreational 21-foot Pro-Line vessel that overturned after being struck by a wave some 20 minutes earlier.

Three of the passengers, who were wearing life vests, were able to swim to Marine Bravo. Froehlich and Ennis threw a flotation device to the remaining two men, who were not wearing life jackets.

All five men were evaluated on the scene and were determined not to be injured, police said. The capsized vessel was towed to a boat ramp in Northport.

Suffolk County police car. File photo

Suffolk County Police today arrested a man after he struck two Black Lives Matter protesters in Huntington Station June 6.

Anthony Cambareri was operating a 2018 Toyota RAV4 westbound on Broadway when he allegedly struck two protesters who were standing in the roadway at approximately 6:45 p.m. The pedestrians were transported to Huntington Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Cambareri was not injured and the vehicle was impounded for a safety check.

Cambareri, 36, of Coram, was charged with assault third degree. He was issued a Desk Appearance Ticket and will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip at a later date.