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SCPD

Above, one of more than 90 cars that will be auctioned off on March 9. Photo from SCPD Facebook page

The Suffolk County Police Department Impound Section will hold an auction on Saturday, March 9 at the department’s impound facility, located at 100 Old Country Road in Westhampton. The auction will begin at 9 a.m. and will be held rain or shine. There will be a preview of vehicles on Friday, March 8 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the impound yard. Vehicles will also be available for preview for one hour prior to the start of the auction on March 9. 

More than 90 lots will be auctioned off including sedans and SUVs. All vehicles will start with a minimum bid of $500 and are sold as-is. For a full list of vehicles, registration information and terms and conditions for the auction, visit www.suffolkpd.org and click on Impound Section and Vehicle Auctions. For more information, call 631-852-6000

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In the market for a new car? The Suffolk County Police Department Impound Section will hold a vehicle auction on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the department’s impound facility, located at 100 Old Country Road in Westhampton. The auction will begin at 9 a.m. and will be held rain or shine. There will be a preview of vehicles on Thursday, Nov. 30 and Friday, Dec. 1 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the impound yard. Vehicles will also be available for preview for one hour prior to the start of the auction. 

More than 90 lots will be auctioned off including sedans and SUVs. All vehicles will start with a minimum bid of $500 and are sold as-is. For a full list of vehicles, registration information and terms and conditions for the auction, click here or visit www.suffolkpd.org and click Precincts and Specialized Units and then Vehicle and Property Auctions.

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Officer Kevin Farina, center, with New York State Senator Dean Murray and Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison. Photo from SCPD
Suffolk County Police Officer Kevin Farina was awarded with the New York State Liberty Award on Aug. 31 for his efforts saving two people from a burning car in June.
New York State Senator Dean Murray, along with Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison, presented the award to the Sixth Precinct officer during a ceremony at Police Headquarters in Yaphank. Officer Farina was on his way to work on June 24 when he observed an overturned vehicle off the road in Farmingville. Officer Farina and two off-duty NYPD officers pulled two people to safety as the vehicle caught fire.
Below is a summary of the incident:

Off-duty officer and good samaritans pull victims from burning vehicle in Farmingville

An off-duty Suffolk County Police Department Sixth Precinct police officer and two good Samaritans pulled two people out of a vehicle that caught fire following a motor vehicle crash in Farmingville on June 24.

Maribel Ramirez was driving a 2014 Honda northbound on County Road 83, near South Bicycle Path, when the vehicle struck a guard rail and overturned at approximately 5:20 a.m. Off-duty Sixth Precinct police officer Kevin Farina, who was on his way to work, observed the overturned vehicle and stopped to assist. The vehicle caught fire as Officer Farina and two good Samaritans pulled Maribel Ramirez, 45, of Coram, and her passenger, Mario Ramirez, 41, of Coram, out of the vehicle. Both victims were uninjured.

The Smithtown Library. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

By Nasrin Zahed

The Suffolk County Police Department’s 4th Precinct held its first community meeting following the summer season on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the Smithtown Library. 

The meeting was set as an opportunity for the department to connect with community members, giving an overview of Suffolk’s recent crime trends and the department’s continued efforts.

Inspector David Regina, commanding officer of the 4th Precinct, and Capt. Richard Roseo put together a 30-point presentation detailing the major goings-on within Suffolk County.

Regina started the presentation with the growing issue of street racing, otherwise known as “takeovers,” throughout the area. The monopolization of roadways, parking lots and bridges by car enthusiasts is being spread through social media platforms. These groups congregate at decided locations where they engage in illegal car shows and dangerous performative displays.

Regina went on to discuss underage tobacco sales and the issue of vaping among teens. SCPD is taking measures to cut down on smoke/vape shops selling their products to community youths.

Through a program that had minors acting as volunteers in these transactions, police said they were able to weed out establishments willing to sell to underage individuals.

SCPD has also found that some smoke/vape shops are doubling as “backdoor” marijuana dispensaries. Although marijuana is legal in New York state, there are still parameters that allow for the possession, sale and use to be considered illegal and grounds for arrest.

Regina dedicated much of the discussion to the increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes over the last year, emphasizing the steps officers take when investigating accidents to ensure no drugs or alcohol are involved with the cause.

He applauded all his department officers and their professionalism in the line of work, highlighting that there is much more to police work than what the public might see and that interdepartmental conversations and outside help are crucial to the resolution of cases and the continued safety of our community. 

The inspector took a moment to discuss how the precinct is also trying to give back to officers who show dedication in their line of work, such as through a ceremony held by the Theodore Roosevelt Association. 

Detective Sgt. James Stapleton, the 2023 recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Police Award, was recognized for his willingness to return to duty following his cancer diagnosis in 2021. Sadly, he died due to his condition but his family was able to accept the award on his behalf.

Members of the 4th Precinct stated that SCPD is working to be more involved with the community through one-on-one contact.

The 4th Precinct holds its community meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. From now until June, these meetings will review new reports, address community concerns and get to know the public.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Kings Park Library.

Visitors to the information booth will be able to inscribe the name of a loved one lost to overdose on a purple rock. Photo courtesy of Leg. Kara Hahn's office

The Suffolk County Police Department is teaming up with parents who have lost a child to overdose or fentanyl poisoning to offer Narcan training and support at upcoming farmers markets.

This new outreach program, spearheaded by Deputy Police Commissioner Risco Mention-Lewis and Carole Trottere, a mother who lost her son to fentanyl poisoning, is aimed at arming people with the training to save lives while also normalizing the conversation of addiction—an issue that touches many Long Island families.

In addition to offering Narcan training to individuals, parents will host an informational station and provide people an opportunity to inscribe the name of a loved one lost to overdose on a purple rock. The memorial rocks will be placed in parks and other locations as a reminder of lives lost to an overdose.

Members of the department conducted this event at the Port Jefferson Farmers Market in May and trained 100 people in Narcan. 

The department will continue to attend community events to spread awareness and offer this life-saving training, including at the Patchogue Farmers Market, corner of North Ocean Avenue and Division Street in the LIRR parking lot on Sunday, August 6  from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Three Village Farmers Market on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Counry Road, Setauket on Friday, August 25 from 3 to 7 p.m. 

File photo
Do you recognize this man? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Squad detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the men who allegedly stole merchandise from a South Setauket store in August.

Three men, including the man pictured on the right, entered Home Depot, located at 255 Pond Path, and allegedly stole several thousand dollars’ worth of electrical merchandise on August 7.

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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Do you recognize this car? Photo from SCPD
Do you recognize these women? Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Sixth Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the women who allegedly stole merchandise from an East Setauket store this month.

Two women allegedly stole merchandise from Walmart, located at 3990 Nesconset Highway on August 11. They fled in a blue 2020 or 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

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.

Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police arrested four people on weapons charges following a motor vehicle crash from which they were rescued by police officers in Dix Hills on Aug. 18.

Photo from SCPD

First Precinct Officers Shawn Arigoni and Michael Renna were on patrol when they observed a 2018 BMW speeding and swerving on Route 231 near Commack Road. The officers turned on their overhead lights and attempted to pull over the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle failed to pull over and the officers turned off their lights and discontinued the traffic stop attempt.

A short time later, the driver of the BMW, Eric Johnson, lost control of the vehicle on northbound Commack Road, just north of Burlington Avenue, and the vehicle crossed over the southbound lane, struck a tree, and overturned at 12:53 a.m.

Officers Arigoni and Renna then came upon the vehicle, which had caught fire due to the crash. Officers Arigoni and Renna, along with Police Officers Thomas Engelhardt and Ryan Carroll, pulled the driver and his three passengers from the vehicle. A fanny pack containing a loaded .40 caliber handgun was located inside the vehicle. All four were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

Photo from SCPD

First Squad detectives charged Johnson, 22, of Medford, with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd Degree, Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd Degree, Criminal Possession of a Firearm, Criminal Contempt 2nd Degree and was issued multiple traffic violations.

Passengers Magaly Espinal, 21, of Central Islip, Tazjan Derritt, 26, of Amityville, and Janell Funderburke, 19, Coram, were charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd Degree and Criminal Possession of a Firearm. Funderburke was also charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th Degree, Criminal Possession of a Substance 7th Degree and Criminal Contempt 2nd Degree.

Johnson, Espinal and Derritt will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on August 19. Funderburke has been admitted to the hospital and will be arraigned at a later date.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Stock photo

Over the course of the last year, North Shore residents have gotten relaxed or forgetful when it comes to locking their car doors. 

For example, Fred Leute, chief of Port Jefferson’s code enforcement, said that over the past month, village code has been receiving calls about people rummaging through open vehicles.

He said that right now, thanks to Ring camera footage, they have seen three separate people on camera trying to open car doors. 

“They’re looking for loose change or cash,” he said. “They’re checking for open doors — not even looking inside.”

Leute said this can be prevented.

“Lock your doors,” he said. “Double check.”

And while the village experienced these incidents over the last few weeks, he said that this problem isn’t confined to just one area. 

“We’re aware of what’s going on,” Leute said. “It’s happening all over.”

A spokesperson from the Suffolk County Police Department said several North Shore hamlets have reported thefts from motor vehicles. These numbers cannot verify if a car was unlocked or not.

From January 2021 until this Jan. 22, there have been 111 reported thefts from a motor vehicle in Old Field, Poquott, Port Jefferson, Rocky Point, Selden, Setauket and Stony Brook.

Old Field and Poquott had the least amount, with just two each in the fall, while Selden experienced 46 thefts — the most happening in July, August and December of last year. 

Port Jefferson reported 10, 13 for Rocky Point, 17 for Setauket and 21 for Stony Brook.

These numbers also do not include thefts of parts from the vehicle like tires or catalytic converters. 

But along with small thefts from inside easy-to-reach cars, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said during a recent press conference that eight cars were stolen across Suffolk County in one week — Dec. 19 through Dec. 23.

“Many victims of vehicle theft not only leave their cars unlocked, but they leave key fobs in plain sight, either on the passenger seat, the driver’s seat or in the cup holder,” Bellone said during the Dec. 23 Hauppauge press event. “This allows car thieves to easily enter the vehicle and take off.”

Rob Sproston in his Marine uniform. Photo from Rob Sproston

“If you’re willing to put yourself and your dreams on the line, at the very least you’ll discover an inner strength you may have not known existed.” — Kurt Warner, Super Bowl quarterback and Hall of Famer

These words from this noted athlete who lived through a life of adversity, also identify the strength, character, humanity and resiliency of Baiting Hollow resident Robert “Rob” Sproston. 

On March 31, 2020, Riverhead police officer Sproston was responding to a domestic incident of a young woman who was assaulted by her boyfriend with a knife. Her car was then stolen by the man.  

On his way to the Baiting Hollow Country Club, Sproston was picking up lunch for the officers working on Main Street within the heart of Riverhead. As he was heading north on Osborn Avenue, not too far from Youngs Avenue, he heard the call of this developing incident, where the stolen car was heading westward toward his direction.

As the officer was trying to figure out the situation from the information that was being reported on his radio and preparing to be in pursuit of the subject, his life would forever be changed. Driving at a high speed with his sirens blasting and lights flashing, Sproston was trying to do his job in handling this delicate situation.  

Rocky Point High School graduates, Matt Staker, Rob Sproston and Anthony Montalbano. Photo from Rob Sproston

As he headed up Osborn Avenue, another driver made a left onto Youngs Avenue, and he tried to move his police vehicle around the car.  

Making the left, the driver drove directly into Sproston’s car, and the officer crashed into a chain-link fence. A pole shot through his windshield, hitting him through his face. Horribly injured in his car, the officer was near death before the first responders made it to the scene. 

The life that Sproston led before the crash helped him prepare for this life-altering moment. As a young man, this “all-American kid” was always armed with a big smile and a can-do attitude. He was an active member of the Rocky Point Fire Department, played several years of varsity lacrosse on the Rocky Point High School team, and is a proud alumnus of the Class of 2010.  

During his youthful years, Sproston enjoyed riding his quad with his friends within the powerlines behind the McDonald’s in Rocky Point. And he understood the practice of hard work through the intricacies of installing residential roofs with his father Billy.

In 2014, Rob Sproston began his career path by entering the Suffolk County Police Academy at the Grant Campus of Suffolk Community College in Brentwood. After graduation, he was hired as a part-time police officer for the Town of Riverhead.  

Right away, he learned about the makeup of the community and believed that it was a good experience toward his professional growth within the field of law enforcement. While Sproston was not yet a full-time officer, he was thankful to gain this experience to work with the police, and to learn about the various challenges of this difficult job.

In 2016, with the prospect of being a full-time officer, he always wanted to serve this country and entered the United States Marine Corps.  

As a 22-year-old, he was an older recruit who understood the importance of getting through the difficulties of military training for each day. Always a positive figure, he worked well with the other recruits to make it through their daily routines at Parris Island, South Carolina. 

Sproston always believed that if you did not “embrace the suck,” that it would be difficult to make it through the hardships of training and the discipline of the Marines.  

After he completed this training, Sproston was sent to Camp Geiger, North Carolina, where he learned how to become proficient within infantry training, weapons and tactics. Currently, he is with the Marine Corps Forces Reserve in Garden City, where he serves in an infantry sniper platoon, spends time in the field and enjoys the camaraderie of being in the military.  

While he is proud of his time in the Marines, Sproston is glad to be serving closer to home, to be near his job, friends and family.

Before joining the service, he took the police exam to gain a permanent full-time position within a Suffolk County law enforcement department. He was eventually placed on a lottery and picked by the Riverhead Police Department in 2017.  

Always willing to serve his nation and community, he was extremely pleased to be in uniform through the police and military. As a regular officer, Sproston patrolled the busy traffic and commercial areas of Route 58. This assignment offered him the chance to gain important knowledge of the local citizens, and the types of crimes that are common within this part of Riverhead.  

And so on the day of the crash in March 2020, this police officer was near death, and right away the local fire department was dispatched to respond and provide aid. Service runs deep through the Sproston family, as his father Billy was one of the local fire and emergency support that arrived on this call.  

At this point, his father did not know that his son was the officer in the wrecked vehicle as he approached this scene. Senior fire officials tried to keep his father away as they prepared to move him to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.  

Rob Sproston’s face was practically ripped apart from the crash and he lost two pints of blood. He was stabilized at Peconic Bay and was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he received major surgery and treatment toward the reconstruction of his face. For two weeks, he was in an induced coma. His father was at his side during this entire ordeal.

Rob Sproston in his Marine uniform. Photo from Rob Sproston

Speaking about these harrowing events, the son was completely reserved as he identified this near-death incident and his amazing recovery.  

This young man still has minor nose-and-mouth surgery ahead, but his iron spirit completely demonstrates his unyielding resolve to continue a normal life. 

Always an active citizen to help his community through the police and to defend our nation within the Marine Corps, Sproston has overcome several obstacles to return to duty. His professional and personal goal was achieved on July 1, 2021, when he was cleared by the police department to return to limited duty. He is looking forward to getting back into a sector car to be in the field.  

Outside of the police, Sproston has resumed his life by working out in the gym and being cleared by a Navy doctor to return back to his infantry platoon. He is looking forward to the challenge of attending sniper school and being around his fellow Marines — always flashing a big smile.

Longtime Rocky Point High School social studies teacher and coach, Christopher Nentwich, said it best about Sproston’s positive qualities: “He was an ‘old-school’ student who was loyal, dedicated, hardworking and with a great sense of humor. I recommended Rob to several members of the police department and believed that he would be an outstanding addition to serve and protect the community of Riverhead.”

Rich Acritelli is a history teacher at Rocky Point High School and adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College.