<![CDATA[NBC New York - Crime and Courts]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/feature/crime-and-courts http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Sun, 25 Jan 2015 21:32:36 -0500 Sun, 25 Jan 2015 21:32:36 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Woman Sues Priest, Diocese Over Alleged Sex Abuse When She Was 8]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:06:02 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/alleged+abuse+priest.jpg

A 20-year-old Long Island college student is suing a Roman Catholic priest, his Diocese and the parish he worked over alleged sexual abuse she suffered when she was 8 years old.

The lawsuit also alleges the Diocese of Rockville Centre failed to alert families to known allegations of sexual abuse against dozens of its priests over the years and allowed many of them, including the plaintiff's alleged abuser, the Rev. Gregory Yacyshyn, to continue working in positions with access to children.

"I hope that by filing this lawsuit other children are safe from what I've endured," the woman said in a statement read by her attorney at a news briefing announcing the lawsuit Wednesday. "And others have the strength to come forward." 

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family, regularly celebrated Mass and participated in church-related activities, and therefore, "came to admire, trust, revere, and respect" Yacyshyn, who allegedly used his position of authority to abuse her around 2003 at St. Francis of Assissi Church in Greenlawn. His attorney denied the accusations. 

Yacyshyn was reassigned to St. Patrick's of Bay Shore, within the same Diocese, shortly after the alleged abuse and before the plaintiff's parents were aware of it, the lawsuit says. Once the girl's parents learned of the allegations, they told law enforcement and the Diocese, who allowed Yacyshyn to "remain as a priest of the Diocese in good standing with access to children," according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the Diocese failed to develop policies and procedures designed to protect against child sex abuse and that it did not properly train employees or investigate allegations. The lawsuit also alleges it neglected to alert parishioners about the risks of child sexual abuse uncovered in a special grand jury investigation conducted around the time the plaintiff was allegedly abused.

The Suffolk County Supreme Court Special Grand Jury issued a report around 2003 that documented a cover-up of child sex abuse by the Diocese. The grand jury heard testimony from 97 witnesses and considered hundreds of pages of documents and found, "Priests committed crimes against children of the Diocese. These crimes were treated as a matter of sin and never reported to law enforcement authorities."

"Most children did not report the crimes against them until long after the criminal statue of limitations had lapsed. Those who did were promised help, but received little," the grand jury report continued. "The policy was to avoid scandal by the suppression of information. Priests and Diocesan officials lied about what they knew about sexually abusive priests to their parishioners and to the public at large. This policy put children at grave risk."

About a year after the release of the grand jury report, the Diocese of Rockville Centre publicly admitted it knew of 66 priests in its employ who had been accused of sexually abusing minors. It never released the names of the alleged abusers.

Yacyshyn, who was ordained in 1998, currently works for St. Jude of Mastic Beach, also under the Rockville Centre Diocese. St. Jude parishioners describe Yacyshyn as a "great guy" who would not sexually abuse children.

"If somebody's saying that it's a lie," parishioner Mary Ellen Billen said. "I would stake my life on it." 

The lawsuit alleges the Diocese's failure to warn families about the sex abuse allegations perpetuates such beliefs, which it says are dangerous misconceptions. It says the plaintiff in the case against Yacyshyn suffered and continues to deal with emotional distress and the physical manifestations of that distress, which may impact her ability to hold down a job or cause her to incur medical and psychological expenses throughout her life. It seeks unspecified damages.

Yacyshyn's attorney, Elizabeth Kase, called the accusations "baseless."

"These baseless accusations will be addressed in a court of law where Father Yacyshyn will have legal remedies to counter and quash these scurrilous accusations," Kase said.

The lawsuit accuses the Diocese of Rockville Centre and St. Francis of negligence and creating a public nuisance by failing to disclose the names of the priests involved in the alleged abuse and by allowing priests who had been accused to remain employed with the Diocese.

It asks the court to order the Diocese to release the names of all its clerics accused of molesting children "at any point in time through present day" and documents pertaining to those cases.

The Diocese said in a statement that the allegations against Yacyshyn were never substantiated, and that it was in close contact with Suffolk County prosecutors when he was first accused.

"The Diocese of Rockville Centre looks forward to presenting the actual facts of this matter in a court of law, rather than in the atmosphere of an unfortunate publicity stunt," the statement said.

-Andrew Siff and Marc Santia contributed to this report

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[NY Man Accused of Trying to Stockpile, Sell Ricin on "Dark Web"]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:45:27 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/181*120/f-+ricin.jpg

A New York man was arrested by the FBI Tuesday for allegedly trying to stockpile the biological agent ricin and sell it on one of the anonymous online marketplaces that officials have dubbed the "dark web." 

Cheng Le allegedly used encrypted messaging to contact an undercover agent posing as a ricin supplier. The FBI said Le wanted to resell the potentially fatal toxin, which is produced in the seeds of a castor oil plant, online for a profit.

Investigators said he is not believed to be connected to any group or specific plot. In one message to the undercover agent, prosecutors said Le wrote,”If it’s good quality, I’ve already had buyers lining up.”

He also allegedly contacted undercover agents on Dec. 3 to ask how much liquid makes a lethal dose. “By $200 per lethal dose, you mean lethal dose for ingestion of injection?”

Le was allegedly using the Tor Internet browser during the investigation, which allows users to mask their IP addresses and browse and post online anonymously. 

The FBI tracked Le to a shipping store where Le was allegedly going to pick up a delivery. FBI agents said they arrested him as he picked up what he believed was a box containing ricin. Le was wearing blue protective rubber gloves at the time.

Le is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court late Tuesday on charges of attempting to obtain a biological weapon. NBC 4 New York is attempting to contact his lawyer for comment.

Ricin made the news in April 2013 when some letters mailed to the U.S. Capitol tested positive for the compound.  In May 2013, a Texas woman was arrested for allegedly mailing a ricin letter to the White House under her husband’s name in an alleged attempt to frame him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/StockFood]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Bomb Plotter Had Help From 2 Yemeni Terror Suspects: Feds]]> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:51:47 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jihad1.jpg

Two Yemeni terror suspects were flown to New York for trial amid allegations they had helped a Long Island man who plotted to bomb the Long Island Rail Road meet al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan, federal agents say.

Saddiq al-Abbadi and Ali Alvi are charged in Brooklyn federal court with conspiracy to murder Americans and material support for terror, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the men are al-Qaida operatives who targeted U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. FBI agents said Alvi also helped Long Island native Bryant Neal Vinas meet and train with top al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan in 2008.

Vinas was captured by Pakistani forces in 2008 and transferred to FBI custody. In January 2009, he pleaded guilty to all three charges against him in the plot to bomb LIRR trains heading to and from Penn Station and is now cooperating with U.S. investigators as part of a plea deal.

Alvi, 30, is accused of traveling from Yemen through Iran to meet with al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan, including a top explosives expert with the terrorist group. Federal prosecutors said Alvi trained with explosives, AK-47’s and other weapons before crossing into Afghanistan in late 2008 to scout U.S. military positions for an attack.

Al-Abbadi is also accused of helping target U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Prosecutors said one attack in May 2008 killed a U.S Army Ranger and wounded several other military members. The 36-year-old allegedly fought U.S. forces in Iraq from 2003 to 2007, according to court documents.

Both Alvi and al-Abbadi were captured by Saudi security forces and turned over to the U.S. for trial, officials said.

"There is no escape from the reach of our law for violent terrorists, especially if they target our military,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. "Al-Abbadi and Alvi may have operated in the mountains of Afghanistan, but now they face justice in a courtroom in Brooklyn.”

A detention memo filed by prosecutors said Vinas plans to testify against the two men, including how he met them, trained with them and knows first-hand some of their past plans to target U.S troops. Investigators said Alvi made statements about his alleged involvement when questioned.

Alvi was in court Sunday and al-Abbadi is expected to appear Tuesday afternoon. Both men, if convicted, could face life in prison.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Robbers Made Appointment With Victim: NYPD]]> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:39:52 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bronx+home+invasion+robbers.jpg

Police say they are searching for a trio of robbers pretended to be building investigators and set up an appointment with their victim before robbing him in the Bronx. 

One of the suspects called the 45-year-old victim several days before the robbery and claimed he was with the buildings department, according to police. He made an appointment with the victim, and then on Monday, Jan. 5, the three men forced their way into the victim's apartment when he opened the door. 

The suspects showed a gun, tied up the victim and ran away with $1,100 and an iPhone. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

<![CDATA[Man Charged in Assault on Elderly Queens Couple: DA]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 18:40:32 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/home+invasion+bayside+queens.jpg

A Brooklyn man has been charged in a brutal attack on an elderly Queens couple during a home invasion robbery last April that left the homeowners with serious, lasting injuries, prosecutors say.  

Vincente Barzola, 39, was arraigned on burglary, robbery and assault charges Friday, the Queens district attorney said. He has been ordered held without bail pending his next court date Jan. 30. 

According to the criminal complaint, Barzola, along with another suspect, went to the victims' Bay Terrace home the afternoon of April 23, 2014, rang the bell and told the elderly woman who answered the door they were from the co-op's maintenance department and needed her signature on a form. 

When Sofia Dima, then 85, unlocked the door, the pair allegedly stormed in and Barzola punched her in the face, knocked her to the floor and pushed his foot into her chest, the complaint said. He then choked her until she lost consciousness, and when she awoke, her home had been ransacked and her chest covered in blood.

Dima, despite having her hands tied with zip ties, managed to get up and alert a neighbor, who called police, prosecutors said. 

The other suspect, Christopher Ramirez of Corona, Queens, was previously arrested in June 2014. He had allegedly gone upstairs and found 87-year-old John Dima asleep in bed, then yanked him to the floor and punched him in the head and face before tying up his hands and pepper-spraying him, prosecutors said. 

The suspects then removed a safe containing more than $15,000 in cash, along with gold and diamond jewelry, prosecutors said. 

The elderly couple was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries and spent five days there, including time in intensive care, according to prosecutors. 

Sofia Dima suffered facial fractures, bruising and tenderness to her neck, and John Dima now has to use a cane to walk as a result of the injuries he sustained in the attack, prosecutors said. 

Ramirez remains in jail on $100,00 bond since his arraignment last year. He's also next due in court on Jan. 30.

Attorney information for the suspects was not immediately available. 

<![CDATA[Missing NJ Boyfriend Found Dead in Trunk of Own Car in NYC]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:13:56 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fort+lee+missing+body+found.jpg

A 24-year-old New Jersey man whose girlfriend reported him missing and their apartment burglarized has been found dead in the Bronx after an apparent kidnapping, authorities say.

The body of Jordan Johnson was found in the trunk of his 2013 BMW Thursday afternoon, nearly two days after his girlfriend, Megan Faulkner, reported him missing when he didn't meet her in Harlem despite telling her to go to the Manhattan neighborhood in a text.

Johnson's sister, Jacqueline Taylor, said something was off about the messages Faulkner got late Tuesday from Johnson's phone.

She said Faulkner didn't feel like they were coming from his boyfriend, despite being sent from his cell, but Faulkner left the couple's Fort Lee apartment to meet him in Harlem anyway.

When Johnson didn't show or respond to her texts and calls, Faulkner told police he was missing. Then she returned to their apartment across the river and found it burglarized, authorities said.

A large amount of cash and jewelry were also missing, police said.

The car was found on East 211 Street in Norwood. Police have not said how Johnson died.

<![CDATA[Teen Indicted in Racing Crash That Killed 5 Friends]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:06:10 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/farmingdale+crash.jpg

An 18-year-old Long Islander has been indicted on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges in connection with a 2014 street racing crash that killed five of his friends, all teenagers, and seriously injured two adults, prosecutors said Thursday.

The grand jury also charged Cory Gloe, of Farmingdale, with assault, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Thirteen of the charges in the 17-count indictment are felony offenses. 

It is alleged that just after midnight on May 10, 2014, Gloe, then 17 and possessing a full driver’s license, was leaving the Airport Plaza Mall parking lot on Route 110 in Farmingdale after allegedly participating in organized street races on the streets behind the mall. He was driving a 2008 Toyota Scion with four passengers.

At the intersection of Conklin Street and Route 110, Gloe stopped at a red light in the lane next to his friend, 17-year-old Tristan Reichle, who was driving a 2001 Nissan Sentra with four passengers.

Gloe allegedly challenged Reichle to a race several times. When the traffic signal turned green, the two cars crossed Route 110 and were racing each other westbound on Conklin Street when Reichle lost control, crossed the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic and violently impacted a 2011 GMC Terrain occupied by two adults, prosecutors said.

Reichle and his passengers, 18-year-old Jesse Romero, 14-year-old Carly Lonnborg, 15-year-old Noah Francis and 17-year-old Cody Talanian, were killed in the crash. The two adults in the GMC Terrain were badly hurt; they've each undergone multiple surgeries and are still recovering, authorities said.

Gloe faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top charge against him. The judge suspended his license following his arraignment Thursday and he was freed on $50,000 ball.

Defense attorney Stephen LaMagna called the crash "unbelievably tragic'' and noted Gloe's vehicle was not involved in the accident.

"Unfortunately nothing will alleviate the pain or bring back the lives lost in this senseless crash," Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. "We owe it to our kids and everyone on our roads to remember that speed and racing kill." 

<![CDATA[Conductor Punched in Face While Operating Subway: NYPD]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 12:22:07 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/subway+punch1.jpg

Police are looking for a man who punched a subway conductor in the face as the MTA worker was operating the train in Brooklyn.

Authorities say the suspect attacked the Q train conductor at the Dekalb Avenue station at the height of the evening rush Nov. 29.

Police released a surveillance image of the suspect (above).

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Cops ID Woman Found in Burned Suitcase]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 09:02:34 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/666-13+73+Pct+Vicitm.jpg

Nearly two years after they found her body inside a burned suitcase in Brooklyn, police say they've identified the woman who was killed.

The suitcase was found inside a building on Hull Street in Brownsville on March 23, 2013. A fire sparked there nearly a year before, on May 9, 2012, according to police.

The woman was initially described to be in her late teens to mid 20s, and about 5 feet to 5 feet, 6 inches tall.

On Tuesday, police announced they identified the woman as Erica Mcdaniel, 30, whose last known address was in Bedford-Stuyvesant. She has also lived in Kansas in the past, police said.

Investigators are asking for the public's help in gathering more information about Mcdaniel and the fire.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or at nypdcrimestoppers.com. 

Photo Credit: Handout/NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Queens Man, 18, Arrested in Roommate's Murder: NYPD]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:59:04 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg

Police have arrested an 18-year-old Queens man on murder and weapons charges after his roommate was found with head trauma in their Astoria apartment and later died at the hospital, authorities say.

Police responded to a 911 call for a dispute at 26-38 21st St. on Monday afternoon and found a 29-year-old man inside with severe head trauma, according to the NYPD. 

The man, identified as Jesse Smith, was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It wasn't immediately clear if the suspect, Quentin Capobianco, has an attorney. 

The Daily News reports Capobianco, a student at St. John's University, was working for Smith, an attorney, as a paralegal. Each grew up on Long Island, the paper reports. 

The Daily News reports the roommates had gotten into a fight over money and living arrangements, and that Capobianco bludgeoned Smith with a hammer.

Police would not immediately confirm those details.

<![CDATA[Nursing Home Worker Indicted in Impaled Patient's Death]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:38:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nursing+home+worker+indicted.jpg

A 41-year-old nursing home worker was indicted on criminally negligent homicide, felony assault and other charges in the December death of a 77-year-old patient who was impaled by a broken table while the two were arguing at the Bronx facility where she worked.

Cherrylee Young, who worked with University Nursing Home, pleaded not guilty to the charges at her arraignment Tuesday.

Investigators have said Young got into an argument with Frank Mercado, a patient with dementia under her care, at the Grand Avenue home Dec. 8 and she allegedly repeatedly punched the man, causing him to fall to the floor. Mercado fell on a table that had been broken during the altercation and was impaled by a protruding piece of metal. He suffered internal bleeding and later died.

Young's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment, but neither she nor her attorney spoke to NBC 4 New York after a court appearance last month. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

In a statement released shortly after Mercado died, University Nursing Home acknowledged his death with "profound regret" and extended its condolences to his family.

"The University Nursing Home, which has a five-star rating from Medicare.gov and an exemplary health care history, is assisting the NYPD and the Medical Examiner in their investigation of this matter," the statement issued following Young's arrest said.

The nursing home said Mercado had lived at its 46-bed facility in University Heights for four years.  

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Grand Jury Indicts Suspects in Bronx Police Shooting]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:02:59 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cops+shot+perp+walk.jpg

A grand jury has indicted two suspects in last week's shooting of two NYPD officers in the Bronx. 

The accused gunman, 24-year-old Jason Polanco, was indicted on a number of attempted murder charges, along with robbery, assault, and weapons charges, according to the Bronx district attorney. 

Joshua Kemp, 28, was indicted on robbery and weapons charges. 

Kemp's lawyer said his client was not involved in the shooting. Polanco's lawyer said his client will plead not guilty. 

The two suspects, described as career criminals, robbed a Bronx deli last Monday night, according to authorities. A group of five plainclothes officers who were approaching their end of the shift responded and canvassed the neighborhood, and two of the officers, 30-year-old Andrew Dossi and 38-year-old Aliro Pellerano, were hit by bullets allegedly fired by Polanco from a Chinese restaurant.

Kemp was stuck in the bicep by a bullet Polanco fired through the window of the restaurant, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said last week. The bullet went straight through Kemp and hit one of the police officers. 

Polanco and Kemp fled the scene and carjacked a vehicle. They were located and arrested the next day -- Polanco in the Bronx, and Kemp at a hospital where he was treated for his gunshot wound.

Officer Pellarano, who was shot in the abdomen and arm, was released from the hospital last week, while Dossi, who was more seriously injured after being shot in the arm and lower back, remains in the hospital. 

<![CDATA[Cops Stake Out Streets Where Boy Was Stabbed]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:14:26 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/stabbing+boy+staten+island+nypd.jpg

Police are continuing to look for the stranger who stabbed a 9-year-old boy walking to school on Staten Island last Friday as frightened parents wondered how a child could be targeted so violently.

NYPD officers canvassed the Mariners Harbor neighborhood, handing out wanted flyers Monday after Jermaine Culver was stabbed in the neck, arm and head near Union and Leyden avenues while walking to PS 22 Friday morning. 

Surveillance video showed the boy walking while an unidentified stranger followed, then attacked him before running away.

The boy managed to run home. He was taken to the hospital and received stitches. He was released from the hospital Monday. 

Parents picking up their children from school Monday said it's been years since violence touched the neighborhood. 

"Once maybe in a 20-year time, this has never happened before," said one woman.

Police are keeping a mobile command center in the area indefinitely. They're hoping to generate leads that result in an arrest.

Family members have said Jermain is the "happiest, nicest kid there is."

<![CDATA[Newark Man Sentenced in Stomping Death]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:17:53 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law1.jpg

A Newark man convicted last year on murder charges in the stomping death of a former friend has been sentenced to 50 years in state prison.

Essex County prosecutors say 43-year-old Dwayne Johnson also received a four-year sentence Monday for a theft charge. That term will run consecutively to the sentence he got for the January 2013 slaying of 38-year-old Newark resident Terrence Everett.

Authorities have said the two men were friends, but got into an argument after Johnson's girlfriend asked Everett for cigarettes. The dispute carried on and Everett punched Johnson's girlfriend in December 2012.

Authorities say Johnson attacked Everett the following month by stomping and kicking him in the head. A passer-by videotaped the attack, and Johnson rifled through the victim's pockets after the beating.

<![CDATA[New Reward in Cold Case of NJ Girl Killed on Way Home]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 08:41:38 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nancy+noga+sayrveille.jpg

Investigators in New Jersey are hoping a new reward for information in a cold case murder will help them solve the mystery of who killed a high school senior on her way home from her job 16 years ago.

Nancy Noga of Sayreville, 17, left her job at a store on Route 9 in Old Bridge on Jan. 7, 1999, and never returned home, according to Middlesex prosecutors. 

Her body was discovered by a passerby in a wooded area behind the Mini Mart Plaza shopping center on Ernston Road in Sayreville on Jan. 12, 1999. 

There have been no arrests in the case. 

Prosecutors say a reward is being offered to anyone who anonymously provides information that leads to the arrest of a suspect in Noga's killing. Those who call will be given instructions on how to collect cash rewards by using a numerical code that will be recognized by a local bank, which will pay the rewards, according to authorities. 

Crime Stoppers may be reached at 800-939-9600, or at middlesextips.com. Text messages can also be sent to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword "midtip" followed by a message. 

People can also call Sgt. Mark Zambrzycki at the Sayreville Police Department at 732-525-5406 or Sgt. Scott Crocco at the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at 732-745-4471. 

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Still No ID on Man Found Washed Ashore in NJ]]> Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:04:27 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/101215a.JPG

Police are asking for the public's help identifying a man in his 20s whose body washed ashore in Monmouth County in New Jersey over a year ago. 

Investigators have released a sketch of the man, found at the Gateway Marina in Highlands on Dec. 30, 2013. 

There have been no DNA matches in the FBI's Combined DNA Index System, according to authorities, and no missing persons report appears to match the man.

The sketch from state police provides an image of what the man may have looked like at the time of his death, but facial features, hair length and coloring may vary, authorities say.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Andrea Tozzi at the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 800-533-7443 or New Jersey State Police Det. Steve Urbanski at 609-882-2000, ext. 2554.

<![CDATA[Girl, 11, Punched in Face, Robbed on Street Corner]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 20:04:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/phone+robbery+theft+suspect.jpg

Police are looking for a man who punched an 11-year-old girl in the face and stole her cellphone and bag.

Authorities say the girl was standing on the corner of East 187th Street and Bathgate Avenue at around 10 p.m. Dec. 18 when the man approached her. He punched her, then took her phone and bag, authorities say.

The girl refused medical attention at the scene and no other injuries were reported.

Police released a surveillance image of the suspect (above).

Anyone with information about him or the robbery is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Alleged DUI Driver Threatens Cops After Crash: Officials]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 09:28:52 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/holland+tunnel+crash.JPG

A driver allegedly under the influence of drugs struck two parked cars and a Port Authority police car in downtown Manhattan Wednesday evening, then made threatening remarks toward police as he was taken into custody, authorities say.

The 24-year-old driver was driving on Varick Street near Watts Street, just by the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, when he went into the fire lane and hit two parked cars, according to Port Authority Police spokesman Joe Pentangelo. He continued on and then struck a marked Port Authority police car. 

The driver, who was operating an Audi with Pennsylvania plates, made anti-police statements to officers, according to Pentangelo. He said he had smoked the hallucinogenic drug PCP and that he wanted to "take out a police officer." 

Police found what appeared to be synthetic marijuana inside the car. 

The suspect was arrested and taken to an area hospital. He's facing charges of attempted aggravated assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment. 

<![CDATA[Store Clerks Wrestle Gun from Robber]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 20:50:51 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/long+island+deli+robber+foiled.jpg

A man on a Long Island robbery spree was finally foiled when he encountered two store clerks at a deli who wrestled the gun away from him, police say.

The confrontation began Sunday night when the gunman walked behind the counter of the Selina Convenience Smoke Shop on Nassau Road in Uniondale and pistol-whipped one of the clerks, according to police.

That clerk, identified only as "GT," responded by grabbing the gunman, and with the help of a colleague, wrestled the gun from the robber and held him until police arrived. 

"The individuals obviously felt they needed to fight back to protect their own personal safety," said Nassau Police Det. Sgt. John Giambrone.

Police only learned later the semi-automatic gun wasn't loaded. 

Smoke Shop owner Hammam Sharhan said he was shocked when he learned what his employees did.

"Usually when someone comes in with a gun, the money is given and nobody's hurt," he said. 

The alleged gun-wielding robber is identified as Timothy Lang of Roosevelt, a parolee who police said robbed a deli and two gas stations in the span of 24 minutes on Sunday night with accomplice Kaphia LaRode. 

Their one-night crime spree ended in the Smoke Shop. Neither clerk was available for comment Tuesday, but police warned against a similar response from others staring down the barrel of a gun. 

"If you're the victim of a crime, comply with the subject's demands," said Giambrone. "Your safety is paramount." 

It wasn't immediately clear if Sharhan or LaRode had an attorney. 

<![CDATA[NYC Toddler's Death Ruled Homicide]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 17:18:03 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/010315babydoa.jpg

The 1-month-old baby boy found unconscious inside a Manhattan apartment last Friday died of multiple blunt impact injuries, including skull fractures and brain injuries, the medical examiner's office said Tuesday. 

Little Deon McNeil was found unconscious and unresponsive at an apartment in the Washington Houses in East Harlem Friday evening. He was brought to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to the NYPD.

The child's death has been classified as a homicide, the medical examiner's office said. 

The mother of the boy was being questioned over the weekend, but police said Tuesday there has been no arrest. 

<![CDATA[Man Arrested Over Alleged Facebook Threats to Cops]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 17:08:52 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg

A 24-year-old Westchester County man has been charged with posting threats against police officers on social media, according to a federal criminal complaint.

Jeremy Mott, of Mount Vernon, was arrested by the FBI at his home Tuesday. The complaint alleges he posted the threats to his Facebook and Instagram accounts on Christmas Eve.

Mott allegedly posted an Instagram message at 10:48 a.m. that day that said, in part, "THEY BETTER KEEP THAT CRAZY SHYT AWAY FROM MOUNT VERNON."

The message included a photo of an individual discharging a firearm into a police vehicle through the driver’s side window, according to the criminal complaint. It also included a graphical depiction of a firearm pointing at a police officer’s head.

The Facebook message, posted less than five minutes after the Instagram one, said, "I SWEAR IF THE COPS IN MOUNT VERNON THINK THEY CAN FOLLOW THE MADNESS THIS IS HOW THEY GOING TO END UP," according to the complaint. The message included the same image of a person shooting a gun into a police car through the driver's side window.

Both messages appear to have been removed from the accounts the complaint says are registered in Mott's name.

Mott is expected to appear in federal court in White Plains later Tuesday. He is charged with transmitting interstate commerce threats to injure another individual -- an offense that carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.

Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.

“We will not tolerate threats of violence against police officers. Period," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "Here, as alleged, social media were used for the threat. Law enforcement should not have to wait to see whether a threat will be acted on, so now the defendant will have to answer for his threatening intentions, as charged."

Police forces across the country have been on high alert since a gunman apparently bent on retribution for the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, fatally shot two NYPD officers as they sat in their squad car in Brooklyn Dec. 20.

The NYPD has been stepping up security at some stationhouses and there have been several arrests in terroristic threat cases against the department in recent weeks.  

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Grimm Resignation Letter: "Decision With Heavy Heart"]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 09:46:34 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/grimm+letter.jpg

New York Rep. Michael Grimm has formally resigned after pleading guilty two weeks ago to a single count of tax fraud in federal court. 

The resignation took effect Monday. In a letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dated Jan. 2, Grimm said he would not be taking the oath of office for the 114th Congress. 

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the hardworking families of Staten Island and Brooklyn, and I am sincerely grateful for the love and support that I have received from so many over the past few difficult months," he wrote in the letter, echoing a statement he released last week when he announced his resignation. 

Grimm's guilty plea to aiding in the filing of a false tax return came after he was re-elected to his Staten Island seat in November, even though he was under indictment.

Grimm reportedly talked with Boehner before deciding to step down. Boehner has forced other lawmakers to resign for lesser offenses.

In a statement last week, Boehner said Grimm made the "honorable decision" in stepping down.

"I know it was made with the best interests of his constituents and the institution in mind, and I appreciate his years of service in the House," Boehner said.

A former Marine and FBI agent with support from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Grimm was elected to Congress in 2010, scoring an upset win over first-term Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon.

Typically, Gov. Cuomo would have 30 days to announce a special election, which would be held up to 60 days after that. New York City Board of Elections Director Michael Ryan said a special election would cost $960,000 if it were held on a date when another election was not being held. 

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, a Republican with more than 25 years of public service experience who has co-authored legislation with Grimm, has been among the names tossed around as a possible candidate to replace Grimm in the 11th Congressional District.

Former Rep. Michael McMahon, a Democrat who represented the 13th Congressional District, and Republican State Sen. Andrew Lanza are among the others considered to be possible candidates.

The new Congress is scheduled to open Jan. 6, and Grimm's presence would have been a distraction for Republicans who will control both the House and the Senate.

According to the indictment, the tax fraud began in 2007 after Grimm retired from the FBI and began investing in a small Manhattan restaurant called Healthalicious.

The indictment accused him of underreporting more than $1 million in wages and receipts to evade payroll, income and sales taxes, partly by paying immigrant workers, some of them in the country illegally, in cash.

"The congressman fully embraces and accepts his responsibility for his actions," his lawyer, Stuart N. Kaplan, said in a statement Tuesday, adding that Grimm "shows great humility in moving forward for himself, as well as his constituents, to resign."

Grimm's sentencing is scheduled for June 8. Prosecutors said a range of 24 to 30 months in prison would be appropriate, while the defense estimated the appropriate sentence as between 12 and 18 months.

After his court appearance last week, Grimm said he planned to stay in Congress. "As long as I'm able to serve, I'm going to serve," he said.

He also apologized for his actions. "I should not have done it, and I am truly sorry for it," he said.

<![CDATA[Son Charged With Murder in Death of Hedge Fund Dad]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 01:07:49 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/timothy+gilbert+jr+copy.jpg

A 30-year-old man has been charged with murder in the death of his father, a multimillion-dollar hedge fund founder discovered fatally shot in his Manhattan apartment bedroom, police officials said Monday. 

Thomas Gilbert Jr. was detained Sunday evening, several hours after his father, Thomas Gilbert Sr., the 70-year-old president of Wainscott Capital Partners, was found with a gunshot wound to the head in his Beekman Place apartment.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters Monday that the son had gone to his parents' apartment Sunday afternoon and asked to speak to his father alone. Gilbert Sr.'s wife -- the mother of the younger Gilbert -- agreed and left to get some food for her son.

Fifteen minutes later, according to Boyce, "she had a bad feeling and decided to return" to the apartment. That's when she found the elder Gilbert dead on the floor. He had a gun resting on his chest, with his left hand covering it, according to Boyce. 

The elder Gilbert was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The mother told police where her son lived, and detectives proceeded to the West 18th Street home where they staked out in front of the building and obtained a search warrant, Boyce said. When they saw a light go off in the apartment, detectives knew he was home and executed the warrant, seizing evidence that connected the younger Gilbert to his father's homicide, including gun magazine clips, as well as credit cards and card skimming devices. 

Gilbert Jr. was taken into police custody for questioning around 11 p.m. Sunday.  He was arrested at around 11 a.m. Monday and was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, and later, forgery due to the skimming devices. 

Law enforcement sources said the son had gotten into an argument with his parents a few weeks ago about money. The Gilberts were paying $2,400 a month for the younger Gilbert's rent and giving him $600 in allowance each week, the sources said. When Gilbert Sr. suggested cutting the allowance to $400 a week, the son left in a huff and didn't see his parents again until the day of the alleged murder, the sources said. 

Gilbert was remanded to jail until his next court appearance Friday, when his attorneys, Marc Agnifilo and Andrea Zellan, are expected to make a bail request. They did not comment about the case Monday, only telling reporters: "It's just too early to say anything." 

Law enforcement sources said the weapon used in the killing was purchased at a gun store in Ohio. Police are investigating how it wound up in the son's hands. NYPD sources say he was having financial problems, among other difficulties, prior to the shooting.

Authorities say the younger Gilbert has also been arrested in the past for a drug-related offense. 

This was not his only brush with the law. In September 2014, a misdemeanor complaint and order of protection was filed to prevent the younger Gilbert from contacting a man he had allegedly assaulted in Brooklyn. According to police sources, this protection order was violated.

Two weeks after that violation, a Hamptons home belonging to the assault victim's family burned down in what authorities say was a suspected arson. A man who says he was an acquaintance of Gilbert Jr. and of the alleged victim's family told us that the family believes Gilbert Jr. was involved, although he was never named as a suspect and they have no direct evidence to support this theory.

The elder Gilbert founded his hedge fund in 2011 and helped build it into thriving firm. The fund has $200 million in assets and focuses on the biotech and health care industries.

Business operations at Wainscott are "on hold," Clay LeConey, the fund's vice president for sales and marketing, said when reached at the company's office in the city. LeConey said the fund would not issue a further statement on the death of its founder.

A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School, the elder Gilbert had more than 40 years of investing experience. He previously co-founded Syzygy Therapeutics, a biotech asset acquisition fund. Both father and son attended exclusive private schools in Massachusetts in their youths. 

The shooting was a rare act of violence on Beekman Place, a tony enclave just north of the United Nations headquarters.  

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<![CDATA[Man Calls 911, Says He's "Dying to Kill NYPD": DA]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 20:35:33 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nypd+generic+resizzed.jpg

A Manhattan man said he was "dying to kill NYPD" in a series of threatening 911 phone calls in which he urged the dispatcher to send officers to him, police said. 

Rayshawn Dixon, 27, called 911 from his cellphone three times at about 5 a.m. Tuesday and told the dispatcher he had a gun, according to a criminal complaint containing a transcript of the calls.

"Come up here, I'll blow their ******* heads off," he allegedly told the 911 operator, adding that he was on 91st Street near Central Park. 

Minutes later, he called 911 again and allegedly said, "I don't know why you can't come here yet, 'cause I am dying to kill NYPD. I am waiting for them." 

When asked how the officers could identify him, Dixon allegedly said: "They'll figure it out. They'll see me pull that hammer out, they'll figure it out." 

Investigators traced the cellphone and the next day tracked the phone to a Domino's pizzeria at 592 Columbus Ave., where Dixon was apparently waiting to pick up a pizza order, according to the criminal complaint. His voice appeared to match the one on the 911 calls, authorities said. 

Dixon was arrested as he left the restaurant carrying several boxes of pizza, police said. He was carrying a cellphone that matched the number that placed the threatening calls. 

Dixon was charged with making a terroristic threat and second-degree criminal contempt. He has a prior arrest for robbery and two prior gun arrests, according to police. Prosecutors also say he has an active order of protection against him by an unidentified woman. 

He was arraigned Thursday night and ordered held on $100,000 bail. Dixon is being represented by Legal Aid, which does not offer public comment in ongoing cases. 

He's next scheduled to appear in court January 6. 

The NYPD has been stepping up security at some stationhouses after the deadly shootings of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in Brooklyn last month. There have been several arrests in terroristic threat cases against the NYPD in recent weeks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Armed Man in Construction Hat Robs Bank in Broad Daylight: FBI]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 16:19:52 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bank+robber+surveillance.jpg

Police and federal agents are looking for a man in a construction helmet who robbed a Flatiron District bank at gunpoint in the middle of the day Tuesday.

Authorities say the man, who was also wearing a reflective vest and had a surgical mask over his mouth, walked into the HSBC Bank on Fifth Avenue, showed the teller a demand note and flashed a gun.

The teller handed him cash, which he put in a white shopping bag along with his gun. Then he ran off.

Police released a surveillance image of the suspect (above). A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call the FBI at 2120384-1000.  

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Subway Restaurant Worker Beaten: Police]]> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 20:09:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/stamford+subway+robbery.jpg

Police in Stamford, Connecticut are seeking the public's assistance in identifying robbery suspects caught on surveillance cameras assaulting a restaurant worker.

Two men tried to rob a Subway restaurant on East Main Street on Dec. 28 at 9:05 p.m., beating an employee, according to Stamford police. A third person stayed outside as a lookout, police said.

Video surveillance police released on YouTube shows one of the robbers hop over a gate to get behind the counter, walking across the room and immediately knocking the person to the ground by striking the person working in the face.

The individual then continually pummeled the employee in the head as the victim tried to get up. The victim was able to run across the room, but the robber pulled him and threw him back before making a getaway.

After a quick sweep of the cash register area, both robbers fled from the sandwich store.

Both suspects were dressed in dark clothing and had hoods on. The robber who attacked the employee was wearing pink gloves.

Stamford police ask anyone with information to call the detective bureau at 203-977-4417.

<![CDATA[NJ Teacher Arrested in Student Sex Case]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 09:45:45 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg

A New Jersey high school teacher has been arrested on official misconduct charges for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a student, authorities say.

The 32-year-old teacher at West Morris Mendham High School is accused of sex acts with the 18-year-old student in May and June 2014, prosecutors said. 

She was arrested Tuesday after an investigation by the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Sex Crimes and Child Endangerment Unit and the Mendham Borough Police Department.

A message was left with the school.