Mar. 9, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed
NYPD 109th Precinct Deputy Inspector Louron Hall presented ‘Cop of the Month’ awards to Detectives Anthony Cutaia and Stanley Przedwiecki and Police Officers Andy Peralta and Alexander Rich at the Bowne Street Community Church in Flushing.
Hall was joined by Patrol Borough Queens North Inspector Chris Morello and fellow police officers, along with Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Sandra Ung and community members for the awards presentation sponsored by Ridgewood Savings Bank.
“This is always a fun time for me to celebrate our officers for outstanding work and today, we’re going to celebrate these fine young officers, who are addressing street robberies in the 109th Precinct,” Hall said.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, at approximately 10 p.m., Detectives Cutaia and Przedwiecki responded to a 911 call of a 34-year-old Asian woman who was robbed at gunpoint for her purse at 134-34 Franklin Ave. in Flushing. Upon their arrival, the officers learned that the woman was allegedly robbed by two Hispanic individuals in their 20s wearing black attire, according to Hall. The individuals had fled the scene on a scooter, traveling westbound on Franklin Avenue towards Saull Street.
“These officers immediately broadcasted the description of the perpetrators over the police radio, and began to canvas the area with the victim in the back seat of the car searching for these perpetrators,” Hall said. “Police officers Peralta and Rich were canvassing the area as well in an unmarked police car, and observed two males fitting that description.”
The two individuals were seen on the scooter traveling northbound on College Point Boulevard, according to Hall.
When the officers attempted to stop the individuals, they fled the scene, Hall said. One individual, who jumped off the back of the scooter and began to run, was apprehended by Peralta a short distance away without any incident. Unfortunately, the other individual wasn’t caught, Hall said.
The woman, who was sitting in the back seat of the police car, identified the suspect that was apprehended. While conducting a search on the individual, police recovered a .22 caliber firearm in his possession, Hall said.
The 17-year-old individual was charged with robbery and criminal possession of a firearm, according to Hall.
“The detectives were able to interrogate the individual with the presence of his parents. He implicated himself in six additional gunpoint robberies that occurred within the 109th Precinct and, I believe, in the 107th Precinct as well,” Hall said.
In a separate case involving approximately 20 teenagers who destroyed Fish Village, a seafood restaurant in College Point on the night of March 4, Hall said the precinct’s detective squad is investigating the matter.
“Those individuals just walked in and destroyed the place causing somewhere around $20,000 worth of damages,” Hall said. “We received four 911 calls about that incident and we were there within three minutes. By the time we got there and canvassed the location, we were unable to catch them.”
The group of teens are approximately between the ages of 12 to 17, according to Hall. He added that the precinct is working with local schools and is reviewing surveillance footage to identify the individuals. The incident has not been reported as a hate crime, as some of the individuals were described as Asian and Hispanic, Hall said.
In his report to the community regarding crime updates, Hall announced that the precinct recently welcomed 30 new police officers as they continue to struggle with a 17% increase in crime in every category, with the exception of grand larcenies and homicides.
“We’re struggling in crime and starting to trend in the right direction, but yet [we’re] still up. What’s really significant and what we’re seeing is that robberies account for 12% of our crime, with 69 robberies for the year,” Hall said. “Our felony assaults are up as well by 167%.”
Hall noted the precinct’s 50% increase in robbery arrests and a 141% increase in felony arrests.
As burglaries continue to be an issue and concern throughout the precinct, Hall encouraged residents and business owners to install video cameras on their property that will help to catch perpetrators. Additionally, the precinct has implemented an aggressive crime prevention campaign to help spread awareness, Hall said.
“Residential burglaries are 71% of our burglaries, and that’s a huge problem. We’ve seen it in downtown Flushing, east Flushing, but also in Whitestone, Beechhurst, and Bay Terrace,” Hall said. “They’re targeting jewelry, cash and designer bags.”
The precinct has collaborated with the transit bureau citywide pickpocket team making nine arrests so far this year. Hall is advising people to be cognizant of their surroundings, as street robberies, pickpocketing and bag dips are on the rise, especially in downtown Flushing.
“Keep your prized possessions close to you. At the end of the day, if someone approaches you, it’s not the time to fight. Comply. Do your due diligence, and get as much descriptive information of the individual as possible, then call 911 and we will respond,” Hall said.