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Cops looking for three Arverne robbers

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad are looking for the three individuals pictured above. They are wanted for an Arverne robbery on Sunday evening.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad are looking for three unidentified men caught in  surveillance photos, wanted for questioning in connection with a robbery that occurred on Sunday evening.

 According to police sources, on Sunday, February 19, at 9:55 p.m., a 21-year-old male was inside of 54-22 Beach Channel Drive when he was approached by three black males.

The three individuals removed an undetermined amount of cash and his two Android cellphones. They then fled the location on foot to parts unknown. There were no injuries reported as a result of this incident.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Vital Rockaway access road set for 2019 makeover

The Nassau Expressway, also known as Route 878, a vital access road for the eastern end of the Rockaway peninsula is due for a makeover, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who made the announcement in Lawrence on Sunday.

Members of the Five Towns Jewish community and local politicians heard the governor announce that the road updates would be completed nearly a decade earlier than first anticipated.

New York state officials say reconstruction of a portion of a Five Towns road that serves both as an outlet from the Far Rockaway and Bayswater communities and as a vital evacuation route that’s susceptible to flooding will be completed ahead of schedule.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday at a community center in Lawrence that the project to raise the Nassau Expressway – Route 878 – that connects to Seagirt Boulevard, will be completed by the end of 2019. The original timeline called for completion by 2025.

Cuomo, speaking at a Lawrence community center, said that the $130 million infrastructure improvement could help 400,000 residents use the expressway as an evacuation route during extreme storms. Cuomo also highlighted the potential for an economic surge in Long Island provided by the revamped highway.

The Nassau Expressway connects Nassau County to Queens and also links communities to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The section scheduled to be improved, from Burnside Avenue to Rockaway Turnpike, carries 56,000 vehicles each day, experts say.

Design drafts on the expressway will begin in May. Construction is planned to start by January of 2019.

“The Nassau Expressway serves as a vital lifeline for millions of New Yorkers – and we must ensure this roadway is prepared to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” Cuomo said. “By starting work on this project in 2019, we will complete the work six years ahead of schedule, strengthening the resiliency and protection of this major artery and enhancing the safety and security of our state’s residents, visitors and travelers for years to come. These major upgrades will support the continued growth of our economy and keep all of Long Island moving forward.”

The Nassau Expressway is a critical transportation route that connects southwest Nassau County to Queens and serves as a direct link to JFK. Additionally, it is designated as an evacuation route by both Nassau County and New York City. Sections of the Expressway are subject to severe flooding during extreme weather events, requiring it to be shut down, creating a bottleneck in the evacuation route.   Building upon Complete Streets legislation signed in 2011, this project will include new pedestrian signals and a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists; new drainage systems to eliminate recurring flooding; and new traffic signals and turning lanes. These improvements will transform the current roadway, enhancing access to the numerous retail and industrial businesses along this central corridor. The addition of new and improved lanes and signals will significantly reduce congestion and improve roadway and pedestrian safety for the tens of thousands of motorists who use this road each day. The funding for this project was included as part of the Department of Transportation’s new $21.1 billion capital plan, the largest transportation plan ever approved in NYSDOT history.   “Safety is our top priority, and this work will help ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in the event of a severe weather emergency,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll. “In addition to improving safety, this project will also create more than 1,100 jobs and ensure better access to local businesses which is great news for the community.”

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, “My constituents and visitors depend on Nassau Expressway to get them to their destinations on a daily basis. The highway is also a critical route during emergencies and should meet the highest standards of safety and reliability. I commend Governor Cuomo for his commitment to rebuilding New York’s infrastructure and enhancing its resiliency. I look forward to working alongside him to see this project completed, as well as enhance safety and spur tourism along this corridor.”

Update: Rockaway man arraigned on murder charges in stabbing slay

Rockaway resident arraigned on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with a homicide inside of 333 Beach 32 Street early on Sunday morning. This photo was shot by in January of 2016, when a woman was shot and killed in the same building.

The Rockaway man who murdered his common-law wife and injured her mother in a vicious knife attack in Edgemere on Sunday morning was arraigned on Monday in Queens Criminal Court on charges ranging from second degree murder to criminal possession of a weapon.

 On Monday afternoon, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that 51-year-old Jonnie Jones, 42, of Beach 32 Street was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon. 

 The defendant was held without bail and ordered to return to court on March 16.  

  District Attorney Brown said that, according to the charges, in the early morning hours of February 26, the defendant stabbed the victim, Monet Franklin, 51, with a knife, multiple times about the body which resulted in wounds to her left lung, heart, liver and right kidney thereby causing her death.

 The defendant also allegedly stabbed the victim’s mother, Maria Franklin, 74, in the left hand causing severe lacerations. Police say that the elder Franklin was injured while attempting to protect her daughter from Jones’ deadly assault.

Jones was found by responding police outside the building, nearby the Beach 35 Street A-Train Station with bleeding cuts to his hand and an injured eye, police sources say.

If convicted, the defendant faces up to 25 years to life in prison. 

Woman stabbed to death by boyfriend in Edgemere high-rise

A woman was stabbed to death, allegedly by her boyfriend in the high rise building at 333 Beach 32 Street early on Sunday morning.

There was another homicide in the building, this one in January of 2016. Again, there was a boyfriend and family involved in the murder.

On Sunday, police responded to a 911 call of a female stabbed inside of the high-rise building at 333 Beach 32 Street in Wavecrest. Upon arrival, police observed a 51-year-old female with numerous stab wounds to the neck and chest, unconscious and unresponsive.

The woman was later identified by police as Monet Franklin, who lived in the apartment. Her assailant was identified as Jonnie Jones, 42, who was picked up by police shortly after the crime at the Beach 35 Street A-Line subway station. Police sources say that his hands were bleeding and he had an injured eye. He received medical attention at the scene shortly after being taken into custody by local police.

 EMS also responded and pronounced Franklin deceased at the scene. Her 74-year-old mother, Marie Franklin, who tried to stop Jones from stabbing her daughter, was transported to Jamaica Hospital with a laceration to the left hand. She is listed in stable condition although her wounds required surgery.

The knife allegedly used by Jones was recovered at the scene.

Jones was charged in Queens Criminal Court on counts of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.


Woman critically injured in Breezy Point accident

Police say that a 63-year-old woman was critically injured when she attempted to cross Rockaway Point Boulevard at Beach 193 Street on Wednesday night. The driver remained on the scene, but police are investigating possible criminality in the accident.


The car reportedly involved in the Breezy Point accident remains at the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Beach on Thursday morning. Notice the dent in the hood and the broken window.

Police from the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad are looking into an accident that left a 63-year-old woman in critical condition at Kings County Hospital on Wednesday night, sources say.

According to police sources, the unidentified woman was crossing Rockaway Point Boulevard and Beach 193 Street in Breezy Point at about 9:10 p.m. on February 15 when she was struck by a 2002 Ford SUV travelling eastbound on the isolated road.

Police from the 100 Precinct responding to the scene called for assistance from the specialized collision investigation squad, which is housed in the 112 Precinct in Forest Hills. Units from Highway three were also called to the scene to document the area of the accident.

The unidentified driver, who remained on the scene, was reportedly transported to that precinct for testing. No test results have been released.

The victim reportedly remains in critical condition with injuries to her head and body at the Brooklyn hospital.

Police sources say that the investigation of “possibility criminality” is still ongoing.



Four busted, two arraigned in Rockaway, Breezy Sandy scams

Donata Rea, 53, was charged with taking over two Rockaway Park homes owned by a deceased woman and renting them out, also filing for Sandy relief money. Daily News photo by Todd Maisel

Rea allegedly took over the two homes at 176 and 178 Beach 120 Street in Rockaway Park, renting them and requesting Sandy Build it Back money. Google Earth photo.

The city’s Department of Investigations has joined with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown to take down four scammers who allegedly took advantage of Hurricane Sandy to take home more than a million bucks in illegal aid, focusing on homes in Rockaway and Breezy Point, homes badly impacted by the 2012 superstorm.

Three homeowners were charged with filing false documents to steal nearly $300,000 from the Build It Back program, a taxpayer-funded effort to repair primary residences wrecked in October 2012.

The three were charged with getting Build It Back funds to repair their second homes.

A fourth was caught when she tried to obtain funds on a Rockaway Park home she’d taken possession of from a dead woman. Prosecutors say she didn’t get repair funds but did steal $1 million from the woman’s estate.

In a prepared statement, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the four are “accused of using one of the worst natural disasters to ever strike New York in recent history to unjustly enrich themselves.”

Court records provided by Brown allege that George Bonitsis, 67, who lives in Brooklyn, got $125,802 in construction work from Build It Back, while John Holl, 73, who lives in Long Island, got $86,560. The two were not arraigned in Queens court because they reportedly face state charges.

Two of the alleged scammers were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday, however.

They are identified in court documents John Phelan, 54, who fraudulently obtained $66,371 to repair a secondary home at 58 Reid Avenue in Breezy Point he co-owned with his mother, prosecutors allege. Prosecutors said that tax records revealed that he lives in Syosset, Long Island and she lives in Maspeth, Queens.

However, his lawyer, Eric Franz, told the Daily News that the son committed no crime because his mother’s primary residence was in Breezy Point. Court records show, however, that John Phalen lives on Laurel Hill Road in Syosset, while his mother lives on Fresh Pond Road in Maspeth. Build-it-Back does not rebuild secondary homes, but Phalen allegedly filed in his application that it a primary residence for both mother and son.

Mary Phalen was not charged in the case. Her son, John, who submitted the application, was charged with grand larceny in the second degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

Donata Rea, 58, allegedly submitted an application for Build It Back reimbursement on a home she’d obtained through the estate of a woman who’d died in 2011.

According to court documents and the statement of Lois Rosenblatt, a private appraiser hired by the office of the Public Administrator, Karen M. Connors transferred two Rockaway properties – at 174 and 178 Beach 120 Street into a trust. Rosenblatt said that the properties were worth $300 thousand and would probably bring more at auction.

Connors died without a will and the “orderly disbursements” of the estate were taken over by the public administrator’s office. Court documents allege that Rea took over the properties and the estate without permission of the public administrator.

Court documents charge Rea with fraudulently assuming ownership of the dead woman’s homes, alleging that she stole $1 million from the woman’s estate. Rea was not reimbursed by Build It Back. She did, however, rent the two Rockaway properties and collect rent for them June 2013 to the present.

Rea is charged with grand larceny in the first degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

All four defendants were released without bail Wednesday in Queens Supreme Court.

  Matt Viggiano, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations, said the agency aided the Investigation Department in its probe.

“We will not let bad actors get in the way of our goal of providing safe, resilient housing for those that need it most,” he said. 

Snowstorm may have claimed elderly victim

The elderly victim was found in the rear of 135 Beach 19 Street in Far Rockaway. The medical examiner is investigating the cause of death of the 86-year-old man.

The snow storm on Thursday that dropped nearly a foot of snow on Rockaway man have claimed a Far Rockaway man as victim.

On Thursday February 9, at approximately 12:45 p.m., police responded to a 911 call of an aided male in the rear of 135 Beach 19 Street.

Upon arrival, responding officers discovered an unresponsive 86 year-old male, later identified as Vladlen Nemirovskaya, 85, with no obvious signs of trauma to his body.

EMS also responded to the scene and transported the victim to St. John’s Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

Police sources said on Friday morning that Nemirovcskaya lost his balance, stumbled and fell in the building’s snow-filled parking lot.

The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is being conducted by detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad.


Howard Beach killer had ties to Rockaway high school for troubled teens

Chanel Lewis, accused of the jogger murder in Howard  Beach, spent four years at the Martin de Porres High School on Beach 110 Street, graduating in 2015. The school is slated for troubled teens, although staffers and the school and relatives say that he was a model student.

The Martin de Porres school, formerly the Stella Maris High School for girls, sits at Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 110 Street. The school’s website says that it is for students who have had a troubled past in traditional high schools.

Howard Beach jogger killer Chanel Lewis has ties to Rockaway, having graduated from Martin de Porres High School, formerly Stella Maris Catholic High School, on Beach 110 Street, officials say.

The 20-year-old man who allegedly killed Howard Beach resident Karina Vetrano, touching off a massive manhunt that was ended last week with a DNA hit, attended the Rockaway school for “troubled” teens from September 2011 to his graduation in August of 2015.

According to the school’s Website, students who attend the school “struggle with internal and external factors beyond their control that have contributed to a failure to thrive in school,”

In a statement released to the press, Dr. Edward Dana, the school’s executive director said that there is no disciplinary record against Lewis, “nor are there any reports that he made threatening statements against other students.”

According to the Daily News, however, on May 17, 2011 administrators at the High School for Medical Professions in Canarsie, a city public school, called police, reporting that Lewis got into an argument with a female student and later asked the dean, “What happens if I bring a knife to school?”

Police did not arrest Lewis at that time, but they did declare him an “emotionally disturbed person,” and sent him to Kings County Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. 

According to the News report, Lewis repeated his hatred of women in a more recent encounter with police, but the threats again did not warrant his arrest.

“There was no victim, no complaint, so there was no crime,” a police source told the News reporter.

A staff member at the school told the News that she was stunned by the charges against Lewis.

“He was the perfect kid,” said speech and language pathologist Amanda Edison, who worked with Lewis in 2015.

Lewis’ sister said he was not a woman hater.

“We’re not killers,” Theresa Forbes told the News. “We’re church people. They set him up.”

Harlem man corraled as Far Rockaway clothing thief

Police have arrested Angel Valentin of Harlem as the man at the left holding a pistol on a Rockaway visitor identified only as Michael. Valentin allegedly stole all of Michael’s clothing before fleeing the scene.

On Sunday, police arrested a Harlem man wanted for the brazen robbery in Far Rockaway earlier in the week.

Police identified the Manhattan man as Angel Valentin, 20, who was charged in Queens Criminal Court with criminal possession of stolen property and harassment.

Police say the 24-year-old victim, identified by the Daily News as Michael, an Orthodox Jew visiting Rockaway and on his way to where he was staying locally from prayer at a local synagogue, was trying to enter a home at the intersection of Neilson Street and Dinsmore Avenue around 6:30 p.m. when he was approached by Valentin, who was armed with a handgun.

Valentin allegedly threatened the victim and demanded his clothing and his keys.

The victim can be seen on surveillance footage handing over his overcoat, jacket, shoes, and pants before the suspect flees in an unknown direction.

Michael told CBS News that “It was the scariest moment of my life.”

While the cold bothered Michael as he stripped off his clothing, he told reporters that “he was shaking not because of the cold, but because of fear for his life.”

State Police make their presence known in Rockaway with tickets, other enforcement

State trooper gives ticket to motorist across the street from the Hammel Houses on Beach 84 Street earlier in the week. Photo by Doug Mackeod

Thanks to the animosity between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, there is a new sheriff in town – or, at least a new trooper.

For the past two weeks, Rockaway residents have seen New York State Troopers working both on the peninsula and in Broad Channel.

A number of locals have already been impacted by the state police, because the staties are giving out expensive traffic violations for speeding, failing to signal and the like, something that has been the bailiwick of city police for generations.

Sources say that the placement of troopers on city streets is designed to clearly designed to get in de Blasio’s face and under his skin.

“It’s just one more tit-for-tat thing between these two guys. This is [Cuomo] flexing his muscles. He said that he is also the governor of New York City,’’ a law enforcement source said in a recent statement to the New York Post

“People are asking, ‘What would [the troopers’] responsibility be?’ Don’t forget, there are 36,000 NYPD cops. So what are they going to do? Nobody knows,’’ the source said.

About 50 state troopers currently assist MTA cops patrolling trains and subway platforms at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal.

Now, when Cuomo’s power play is through, the number of state troopers in New York City has doubled, the source said.

The out-of-town troopers typically spend around two weeks at $180-a-night hotels such as the Shelburne in Murray Hill before they’re swapped out for a fresh group, sources said.

State troopers currently have an office on Wards Island, but it’s mostly for administrative staff and some investigators.

The new digs would move Cuomo’s bigger force to the center of the action.

His people have already scouted potential sites at 4 World Trade Center and a Port Authority property on Park Avenue, and are set to look at other locations, the source said. The state co-owns the PA along with New Jersey.

It’s not clear what the timetable will be to open the barracks, but “It seems like he wants to get it done,’’ the source said of Cuomo.

The move is only the latest back-and-forth between the governor and mayor, who have clashed over everything from charter schools to how to pay for universal pre-K and how much to raise the minimum wage.


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