<![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 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:20:36 -0400 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 06:20:36 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Exclusive: NYPD Hatchet Attack Survivors Talk to News 4]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 17:51:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000007039683_1200x675_440437827788.jpg The four officers who were attacked in Queens last October speak exclusively to News 4's Jonathan Dienst.]]> <![CDATA[Afghani Nationals Face Heroin Trafficking Charges in U.S.]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 14:33:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/drug-trafficker-0720.jpg

Two major heroin traffickers from Afghanistan charged in the US and caught overseas were brought to the United States by DEA agents late last week, authorities say.

Haji Lajaward, Amal Said Said Alam Shah, and Habibullah are charged with conspiring to import heroin into the U.S., prosecutors said. Lajaward and Shah were arrested in Thailand on June 13. Habibullah remains at large.

“Like many international criminal networks,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Hamlet said. “These alleged drug traffickers have no respect for borders, and no regard for either the rule of law or who they harm as a result of their criminal endeavors. This investigation highlights the significance of Afghanistan as a source for heroin around the world.”

US intelligence officials say they believe this case goes beyond just drug smuggling.

“You can properly say the money earned by smuggling like this goes to fund the Taliban to kill and wound American troops,” NBC military analyst Col. Jack Jacobs said.

Experts say the Taliban makes much of its money from drug smuggling and that Taliban fighters provide the smugglers safe passage in exchange for cash that is used to buy weapons and fund Taliban operations.

“At a time when heroin use and overdoses deaths are on the rise in our communities,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said, “these three men allegedly conspired to import into this country kilogram quantities of heroin from Afghanistan.”

The suspects in this case are not charged with any terror related accounts and pleaded not guilty in court appearances Friday. If convicted, they face life in prison.

<![CDATA[Feds, NYPD Bust Brooklyn Crips Chapter; 20 Arrested]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 19:53:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Gang-Member-Arests-0716.jpg

Authorities say that 20 alleged members of a branch of the Crips street gang were arrested Thursday in Brooklyn on a bevy of charges including racketeering and murder conspiracy.

Members of the Outlaw Gangster Crips also face drug, weapons and fraud charges after a 75-count indictment unsealed Thursday, U.S. Attorneys say. Authorities arrested several suspects during a raid in East Flatbush, while others were arrested out of state.

The group is accused of a series of crimes in Brooklyn, as well as ones in Norwich, Connecticut, and Martinsburg, West Virginia.

"With this indictment, we are returning the streets of East Flatbush to the people of East Flatbush -- who should not have to live in the midst of gun violence, murder plots, and drug dealing," said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.

Authorities say that between October 2013 and July 2014, the alleged gang members carried out a series of crimes, including drug dealing, violent robberies, assaults and gang shootouts. Members of the gang also orchestrated at least two shootings, including one inside a deli on Nostrand Avenue.

In another instance, they beat and stabbed a man for playing music by New York City-born rapper Bobby Shmurda, who has been accused of leading a rival gang in Brooklyn.

In another episode, authorities say, members of the gang conspired to rob a check-cashing store by cutting a hole in the ceiling from an apartment above, then dropping down during business hours and forcing employees to open the safe. That plot was thwarted by an employee who noticed damage to the ceiling.

Several weapons and drugs were also seized during the raid near Linden Boulevard and New York Avenue, police say.

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It's the second time that federal agents and police have rounded up alleged gang members this week. On Tuesday, 12 alleged members of the Van Dyke Money Gang were named in a federal indictment charging them with stealing money orders from the mail, changing the amounts payable and cashing them, costing banks along the East Coast more than $1 million.

The NYPD, FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force all contributed to the investigation.

<![CDATA[Man Who Allegedly Stole Cop's Gun After Attack Arrested: Sources]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 23:00:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/samuel+thornton+suspect+nypd+officer+robbery1.jpg

The 21-year-old man suspected of punching an off-duty NYPD officer in the face and stealing her gun as she headed to work in the Bronx earlier this week has been arrested in Philadelphia, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation tell NBC 4 New York.

The suspect, identified Wednesday as Samuel Thornton, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals, the Regional Fugitive Task Force and local police. Authorities traveled to Philadelphia after getting a tip Thornton was there and arrested him on the street, the sources said.

The gun he allegedly stole from the officer was recovered, the law enforcement sources said. It wasn't clear when Thornton would return to New York to face charges, nor was it known if he had an attorney.

"God is good. Tonight we can sleep," said neighbor Beryl Green, who lives in the building where the NYPD officer was attacked. 

Cynthia McFarlane was relieved when she learned of the arrest. 

"I'm a little bit surprised that he got to Philadelphia so fast," she said. 

The 41-year-old officer was headed to her precinct at about 5:20 a.m. Wednesday when the suspect approached her inside a basement parking garage in her building on Bronx Boulevard and East 226th Street in Wakefield, according to the NYPD.

The suspect snatched the officer's gold chain from around her neck and demanded her wallet. The officer reached into her bag, but the suspect grabbed her purse and punched her in the face, causing her to fall to the ground, authorities said.

The purse also fell to the ground during the confrontation, but the suspect was able to get the woman's gun. He ran away after the mugging, police say.

The officer, who wasn’t in uniform at the time, was treated at a hospital for abrasions and a facial contusion. 

"I'm glad they caught him. I'm very glad," said landlord and superintendent Robert Rodriguez, who said he saw the suspect loitering in the garage last week and chased him away. 

<![CDATA[12 Alleged Gang Members Charged in Fake Money Order Scheme]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 19:32:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Police-Mail-Bust-NYC-Brooklyn-0714.jpg

Twelve alleged gang members face fraud, aggravated identity theft and other charges in connection with a federal indictment accusing them in a money order scheme at banks in the New York area and along the East Coast, authorities said Tuesday.

Eight of the 12 suspects were arrested early Tuesday during a raid at the Van Dyke Houses in Brownsville by Department of Homeland Security agents, U.S. Postal Inspectors and NYPD, officials say.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the case suggests that "members of street gangs, like the Van Dyke Money Gang, have expanded their criminal repertoire to include white collar crimes like bank fraud and identity theft."

"Today’s arrests dismantle a gang that allegedly used bank fraud and identity theft to line their pockets with cash using a scheme that cost New York banks over $1.5 million dollars," HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Raymond J. Parmer Jr. added in a press release. 

According to the indictment, the defendants fraudulently obtained blank postal and Western Union money orders and printed a specific dollar amount, usually under $1,000 on them. They allegedly recruited bank account holders and used their accounts to deposit the fake orders.

The defendants, allegedly members of the Van Dyke Money Gang, then withdrew the money from those accounts; they used more than 350 accounts for those purposes, the indictment alleges.

The scheme defrauded New York-area banks, as well as ones along the East Coast from Boston to Washington, D.C., out more than $1 million, authorities said.

<![CDATA[Fugitive Rape Suspect Captured in NYC: U.S. Marshals]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:22:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/angel+acevedo+copy.png

A rape suspect who allegedly impregnated his 12-year-old victim in Massachusetts, then fled the state, has been located by U.S. Marshals in New York City, authorities say.

Angel Acevedo, 39, was wanted on a state warrant out of Springfield, Massachusetts, on two counts of rape of a child with force, U.S. Marshals said.

Authorities executed an operation to locate and arrest Acevedo after they traced him to an East Harlem address, authorities said. 

He is currently being held by the New York City Department of Corrections until he's taken back to Massachusetts, the U.S. Marshals said. 

It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

<![CDATA[Man Called in 11 JFK Bomb Threats: "It's a Pleasure to Kill": DA]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:34:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/457062032.jpg

A 64-year-old Manhattan man has been arrested, accused of calling in nearly a dozen bomb threats targeting Kennedy Airport travelers and police officers over the course of 16 days in June, authorities say. 

The Morningside Heights man made 11 calls to 911 from June 9 through June 24 to say he was planting chemical bombs and explosives containing nails at JFK. 

In one call placed just after 7 a.m. on June 18, the suspect allegedly told 911 he had three chemical bombs in a BMW and would drive to JFK, saying: "I am going to kill a lot of people at the airport today. It's a pleasure to kill."

He called again at about 8 a.m. to allegedly say: "Muslims are on their way to place a bomb at JFK today." 

Then on June 21, the suspect call 911 and said it was his mission to kill police officers, prosecutors said.

On June 24, he allegedly told 911: "I have a naked police officer in the basement. I am going to kill a lot of officers tonight. I have three bombs I want to place at JFK Airport." 

The suspect was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Saturday on 11 counts of first-degree falsely reporting an incident and making a terroristic threat. He's being held on $750,000 bail and is expected to return to court July 10. 

Port Authority Chief Security Officer Thomas Belfiore said "extensive police resources" were spent investigating the phony threats. 

If convicted, the man faces up t0 7 years in prison. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[One Escaped Killer Shot Dead After 21-Day Manhunt]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:55:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/richard+matt+death.jpg

One of the convicted murderers who escaped from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York three weeks ago, leading police on a manhunt through miles of difficult terrain, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers Friday, two senior state officials tell NBC News, and another law enforcement official tells NBC 4 New York gunfire was later heard as authorities tried to close in on the second fugitive.

Richard Matt was shot after he, armed with a shotgun, was confronted by Customs and Border Patrol officers who were sweeping a wooded area in Malone, the Franklin County town to which authorities had narrowed their search following the discovery of new DNA evidence in a cabin, a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells NBC 4 New York.

The officers ordered Matt to put up his hands, and he challenged them; that's when he was fatally shot by the officers, State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico confirmed in a news conference held alongside Gov. Cuomo Friday evening.

A 20-gauge shotgun belonging to Matt was recovered from the scene. No shots were fired by Matt, and no officers were injured, D'Amico said. 

"You never want to see anyone lose their life," Cuomo said, but continued: "These are dangerous, dangerous men and that is why you see law enforcement from across this country before you today cooperating with one mission: to bring these gentlemen to justice."

Law enforcement got a 911 call just before 2 p.m. from a man who reported hearing a loud sound while towing a mobile camper on Route 30, according to D'Amico. He at first thought it was a flat tire and got out of the camper to inspect the vehicle; he didn't find a flat and proceeded to a campground in a nearby town.

That's where he found a bullet hole in the camper and called 911, said D'Amico. State police responded and determined the camper had been shot about 8 miles back, and multiple agencies were deployed to that area. Officers got into a cabin there and smelled gunpowder and realized a weapon had been fired. It also appeared someone had recently been there and fled out the back door. 

As law enforcement conducted a ground search in the woods near Route 30, the tactical team from Customs and Border Protection heard movement and coughs and found Matt. They engaged him, and when he refused to comply, shot him, D'Amico said. 

The manhunt is ongoing for the other escaped murderer, David Sweat, though law enforcement sources say two sets of footprints were located in the woods so they believe the two killers were traveling together. 

"There's no indication that Sweat wasn't with Matt," D'Amico said. 

Law enforcement officers converged on a limited wooded area late Friday afternoon where they believe Sweat may be hiding, an official said, and a round of gunshots was heard as officers tried to close in on him. D'Amico declined to detail the ongoing search for Sweat, saying only: "We are going to continue to use the same tactics over the past few weeks, which is to search 24 hours a day until we find him." 

He noted: "Our preference would always be to capture them alive." 

He reminded the public to remain vigilant and to call 911 immediately and not approach Sweat in case of a sighting. 

Thom Kelly, 36, says he was at his mother-in-law's house near Route 30 around the time of the shooting.

"We heard a lot of sirens by Route 30 so we stepped out to see what happened," Kelly said. "One local officer stopped by and said, 'We got one.'"

At a news briefing earlier Friday, Guess said the search efforts had shifted slightly north after police found items dropped by Matt and Sweat in a cabin and field north of their last suspected location. The findings, combined with other evidence, gave investigators "a high degree of confidence" that the men may have been making a run for the border, Guess said.

Guess wouldn't reveal what evidence was connected to the men, but said that officials presumed the escapees were traveling under the cover of darkness.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC News that DNA belonging to at least one of the escaped prisoners was found in the cabin in Malone. According to those sources, the cabin owner noticed the place had been broken into at some point Wednesday or Thursday.

The timeline and location of the positive DNA test confirmed that at least one of the prisoners was able to travel about 13 miles northwest since evidence indicated the duo had been near Owls Head Saturday, the sources told NBC News.

On Friday, as the search extended into its 21st day, a small contingent of New York state troopers were stationed along power lines in Malone, and motorists had to pass through a checkpoint. Other heavily armed troopers combed sheds and went door-to-door in the efforts to find the men.

Sweat and Matt broke out of the prison in Dannemora on June 6. Authorities say they cut through the steel wall at the back of their cells, crawled down a catwalk, broke through a brick wall, cut their way into and out of a steam pipe and then emerged from a manhole outside the prison.

Sweat, 35, was serving a life sentence without parole in the killing of a sheriff's deputy. Matt, who turned 49 on Thursday, was doing 25 years to life in the kidnapping, torture and hacksaw dismemberment of his former boss.

Meanwhile, New York state prison officials said Friday that a corrections officer facing charges related to the escape has been suspended without pay.

Gene Palmer's suspension from his $72,644-a-year job comes after he was arrested Wednesday night on charges of promoting prison contraband, tampering with evidence and official misconduct.

Palmer has told investigators he provided paint, tools and prison catwalk access to Matt and Sweat. The veteran guard says he had no idea they were planning to escape, and investigators have said they have no reason to believe otherwise.

He is free on $25,000 bail.

Another prison worker, tailor shop instructor, Joyce Mitchell is charged with helping them escape. Authorities say Mitchell smuggled hacksaw blades, a screwdriver and other tools into the prison by hiding them in frozen meat that Palmer delivered to the inmates.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Religious Leaders Taking Steps to Boost Security After Charleston Shooting]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:50:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/first+ame+church+charleston+sevice.JPG Police offered security tips to dozens of religious and community leaders in Suffolk County. Jonathan Dienst reports

Photo Credit: Beth Slepp-Paz]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Man Arrested in ISIS-Related Raid, 4th Tri-State Terror Arrest This Week: Officials]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:05:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sam+topaz+nj.jpg

A man suspected of supporting ISIS-related activities was arrested as FBI agents raided a home in New Jersey early Thursday, accused of conspiring with at least one of the other men arrested in the area this week in the same investigation, law enforcement officials said.

The Fort Lee man, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, appeared in federal court in Newark Thursday on material support for terror charges. He is being held without bail.

His attorney, Borse Martinoski, declined to comment. 

The arrest is the fourth person allegedly linked to ISIS this week in the tri-state area. Outside his Center Avenue apartment Thursday, his brother Eyal Topaz told NBC 4 New York that the FBI took his brother's phones and computers, and "they just took him and left." 

The investigation into Topaz, a U.S. citizen, began when a friend reported to the FBI that he may try to travel overseas, according to the criminal complaint. 

Topaz watched ISIS videos with co-conspirators and held meetings with other suspects, including one near the World Trade Center site, the complaint stated.

There were dozens of phone calls and text messages between Topaz and his alleged co-conspirators, including the Queens college student arrested Saturday in the same case. Text messages showed Topaz was planning to travel to Iraq or Syria by way of Jordan; one allegedly said: "I'm saving my money for it, bro, trust me, I got it." 

A Facebook page showed photos of Topaz dressed as a jihadist fighter, according to the complaint. 

The FBI said Topaz also met regularly with two others who have not been charged -- dual citizens of the U.S. and Jordan, ages 20 and 23. The younger one left the U.S. on May 5 for Jordan and presumably attempted to travel on to Syria, the FBI said. 

Under questioning, Topaz said he sympathized with ISIS and watched videos, and admitted speaking with three others about wanting to join ISIS, the complaint stated. 

In his most recent public Facebook post dated April 25, Topaz said he was planning to delete his social media accounts until "I leave the country," though he didn't specify why he planned to leave. 

On another Facebook post showing him dressed as an apparent ISIS fighter, he wrote: "Which assassin am I, or am I all of them?" 

His older Facebook posts appear to be a mix of long-winded rants, reflections on Islam and his conversion to the religion, selfies and videos of himself singing -- including covers of Frank Ocean and Stevie Wonder. He mentions in one 2013 post he was preparing to audition for NBC's "The Voice." There are frequent status posts describing how "lonely" or "bored" he feels.

On Saturday, 20-year-old Queens college student Munther Omar Saleh and a 17-year-old were arrested near the Whitestone Bridge.

Saleh is accused of allegedly scouting possible targets for an ISIS-inspired attack. Court documents say Saleh also charged law enforcement officers with a knife when he saw them conducting surveillance of him and another alleged conspirator Saturday. No one was hurt.

The 17-year-old faces state charges in Queens.

The charges against Saleh accuse him of trying to acquire knowledge and materials to build a bomb and carry out some kind of attack here; the charges against Topaz make no allegation that he intended to carry out any kind of attack in the U.S. 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel said Thursday: "Topaz conspired to provide services and personnel to ISIL. Topaz discussed his desire to travel to Syria to join ISIL. Fortunately, this threat did not materialize due to the indefatigable efforts of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. I ask the citizens of New Jersey to assist us in this task by remaining vigilant and contacting the FBI or the police if they see or hear anything suspicious.”

On Wednesday, 21-year-old Fareed Mumuni was charged with attempting to murder an FBI agent after he allegedly tried to repeatedly stab the agent -- and others -- who entered his home to conduct a search warrant in connection with the ongoing ISIS investigation involving Saleh.

No serious injuries were reported, and Mumuni was also accused of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and trying to assist the terror group in carrying out an attack in the New York area. Saleh allegedly gave authorities Mumuni's name while cooperating with officials after his arrest.

Mumuni allegedly discussed building pressure cooker bombs and using guns to target landmarks and kill police officers.

Relatives and lawyers for Saleh and Mumuni have said they deny the charges.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed After Attacking Cop With 11-Inch Hunting Knife: Police]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 05:05:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/officer+stabbed+shoots+supect+fillippo+gugliara.jpg

A 24-year-old uniformed NYPD officer assigned to transit foot patrol in Brighton Beach shot and killed a man who attacked him with an 11-inch hunting knife when the cop tried to arrest him for attacking a 78-year-old woman on a street below an elevated subway station Thursday, police said.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the 58-year-old suspect attacked the elderly woman below the Ocean Parkway Q train station around 1:30 p.m., not long after the woman, a stranger to the suspect, had tried to intervene in a separate dispute the suspect had had with a shop owner in a nearby store.

The suspect wrestled the woman to the ground, and she suffered bruises in the altercation, authorities said. The 24-year-old police officer, who heard the commotion while on the subway platform, descended to the street and tried to arrest the suspect, but the man pulled out the hunting knife and stabbed the officer in the neck, Bratton said. 

The officer, Fillippo Gugliara, fired two shots, striking the suspect in the torso. The suspect, whose identity is being withheld pending family notification, was pronounced dead at the scene; his knife was recovered.

Authorities said the injured officer, who has been with the department since January 2013, received a few stitches to his neck wound; additional testing showed no internal injuries and he is expected to be OK. Bratton said he would be held at the hospital overnight.

Mayor de Blasio, who also met with the officer and the officer's family, said the cop was in good spirits and was proud of his actions. De Blasio said the city was proud of his bravery as well. 

<![CDATA[Man Admits Killing Ex-Scout Leader Who He Says Raped Him]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:49:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/boy+scout+kills+former+leader.jpg

A former Boy Scout pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing his troop leader, who he claimed had raped him over many years. 

In a tense and emotional courtroom in Newton, New Jersey, Clark Fredericks admitted to killing former Boy Scout leader and Sussex sheriff's officer Dennis Pegg three years ago. 

"From the time I was 8 years old until I was 12, I was sexually assaulted and raped by Dennis Pegg," said Fredericks. 

He said he never told anyone about the rapes even as, he claimed, Pegg also raped his best friend Jeff. Jeff committed suicide in 1983, Fredericks said. 

Fredericks graduated high school, still keeping the secret from his parents. 

"Dennis Pegg controlled me by torturing and killing animals in front of me, saying he would do the same to me if I told anyone about our secret," he said.

Fredericks said he felt that Pegg, as a cop, was untouchable.

But in 2012, he watched the sexual abuse trial of Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky and then his conviction on June 11. "The next day, June 12, my shell cracked," he said.

Fredericks said he got drunk, snorted cocaine, and with friend Bob Reynolds -- who police arrested as an accomplice -- went to Pegg's Stillwater home with a hunting knife Pegg had given him back in scouting. 

"I started stabbing Dennis," Fredericks said in court. "I said, 'How does it feel raping little kids now. It's not so fun raping little kids now, is it?' At the end I slit his throat." 

Family and friends of Fredericks wept almost nonstop as he spoke. And then as he got up to leave, applause broke out in the courtroom, something the prosecutor said he'd never seen before.

One of those crying and applauding was Rose Funari, who said her own brother was a victim of Pegg's.

"If someone was to hurt my child, I'll be honest with you, there would be no judge, no jury," she said.

Family and friends said past accusations by others against Pegg were ignored. Prosecutor Francis Koch said there was simply was not sufficient evidence. Either way, the prosecutor would not justify an eye for an eye. 

Despite the savage nature of the killing, even the prosecutor agreed to accept the claim of passion provocation, which means a maximum of 5 to 10 years when he is sentenced in August. 

"Passion provocation could not be disapproved beyond a reasonable doubt," said Koch. 

<![CDATA[Suspect Identified in String of Attacks on Asian Women in NYC: Sources]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:44:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/attacks+on+asian+women.jpg

Authorities have identified the suspect wanted in a string of recent attacks on Asian women in Manhattan as 25-year-old Tyrell Shaw, a career criminal with nearly a dozen prior arrests in New York City who is currently on probation for a burglary in the Bronx, sources familiar with the investigation tell NBC 4 New York.

Shaw has been arrested 10 times in the city since 2006 for an array of offenses, including credit card theft, criminal trespassing and burglary, records show. The sources say he has been involved in four prior domestic cases; three of them involved arguments with family members and one stemmed from a fight with a girlfriend.

Police have also encountered him several times when responding to reports of an emotionally disturbed person; in April, they responded after he was running into oncoming traffic on 10th Avenue, putting himself and others in dangers, law enforcement sources say.

Authorities believe Shaw is the man who has attacked at least four Asian women in their 20s and 30s across Manhattan at random in less than two weeks, the sources say.

Police have released photos of the suspect in the case, who they say began attacking Asian women last week in Chinatown. In the first case, on June 10, he asked a 35-year-old woman, "Who is the president of the United States?" police say. When she didn't respond, police say, he walked away, then returned with a white plastic bag containing a hard object and hit her in the face.

About four hours later, a 29-year-old Asian woman was walking down Park Avenue near East 30th Street when the suspect walked past her and waited at the corner, police say. He hit her in the face with the bag when she reached the corner; she was treated at a hospital and released.

Two days later, last Friday, the same suspect attacked a 34-year-old woman walking near Second Avenue and East 60th Street. As in the earlier cases, he walked up to her, armed with the white bag containing the hard object, and bashed her in the forehead. She also was treated at a hospital.

The woman in that case said the man spoke to her, saying, "All Asian girls doesn't talk to me," the victim told NBC 4 New York. She said he complained he could never get their phone numbers; she said she ignored him.

"And then, just after next second, he just hit my face," the woman said.

She said she chased the man after the attack, but stopped when she realized she was covered in blood. The woman needed 10 stitches to close a gash above her eye. She says the wound is so painful that she can't work.

The most recent attack was Monday, when police say the suspect tried to strike up a conversation with a 41-year-old Asian woman on Mulberry Street. She ignored him and he left, but returned, this time with a gray bag containing a hard object, and whacked her in the face with it.

None of the victims were seriously injured in the attacks, which authorities are investigating as bias crimes.

On Wednesday, a tipster called Crime Stoppers to report a possible Wordpress account linked to Shaw that references his frustration with Asian women, the sources say. The writer says he spoke to nearly 1,500 Asian women in less than 350 days, and "none of them took time out of their day to say hello."

The blogger writes that he became furious.

"I never agreed with violence, but I knew the only way I could overcome that sense of rejection-would start by assaulting the Women that carelessly rejected me," the post reads. "I just couldn’t understand why Asian Women didn’t find me attractive. Suddenly, I assumed the ones that I am attracted to use cocaine so I decided to play a game. Bash Asian Women in the Nose so that they could stop sniffing cocaine and give me a chance."

Authorities are investigating whether the account is connected to Shaw, the sources say. Law enforcement sources also say he has been threatening suicide on social media in recent days, though they have found no indication he carried out with the threats.

Anyone with information on Shaw's whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.  

Photo Credit: NYPD]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused in Terror Plot, Kitchen Knife Attack on FBI: Docs]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 20:13:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/terror+arrest+staten+island+copy.jpg

The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a 21-year-old Staten Island man who allegedly repeatedly tried to stab an FBI agent with a kitchen knife Wednesday as officers attempted to search his home in connection with an ongoing ISIS-related investigation involving a Queens college student arrested over the weekend, according to court documents.

Fareed Mumuni was charged Wednesday with attempting to murder an FBI agent, though no serious injuries were reported in the scuffle, conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and trying to assist the terror group in carrying out an attack in the New York area, according to the complaint.

After his arrest, Mumuni allegedly told investigators he had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and that he planned to travel overseas to join the group. If he wasn't able to join ISIS overseas, he allegedly planned to attack law enforcement officers at home, and was coordinating that plan with others. 

Mumuni's alleged conspirators include Munther Omar Saleh, the 20-year-old college student from Queens arrested over the weekend for allegedly scouting possible targets for an ISIS-inspired attack. Court documents say Saleh also charged law enforcement officers with a knife when he saw them conducting surveillance of him and another alleged conspirator Saturday. No one was hurt.

Saleh allegedly named Mumuni as a co-conspirator when he agreed to speak with investigators following his arrest, court documents indicate. Investigators began reviewing cellphone records between the duo, and found discussions about attacking law enforcement.

In one conversation, Saleh allegedly told Mumuni to use a bomb, then to fight, later clarifying he should detonate an explosive, then run over law enforcement officers with a vehicle, gather up their weapons and use them to shoot at other victims, court papers say.   

Court documents indicate Saleh allegedly emailed himself information about how to build a pressure cooker bomb like the ones used in the 2013 Boston Marathon attack; he and another man also allegedly searched for items like an LED light, lava lamp, chemistry model, propane and other components that authorities say could be used in the creation of explosive devices. While Saleh allegedly was running the "op," as he described it to a confidential informant, authorities allege Mumuni helped him in his alleged efforts to carry out an attack on behalf of ISIS.

The two were seen meeting on several occasions since May; during one meeting, Saleh contacted Mumuni to tell him he had money and wanted to meet, stating that he had money that "talks," possibly referring to funding for an illegal transaction, the complaint alleges. Saleh eluded surveillance teams on the way to a meeting with Mumuni on Staten Island.

Saleh and Mumuni also met in lower Manhattan late last month. On June 1, Saleh and another alleged co-conspirator allegedly talked about how the meeting with Mumuni went. Saleh allegedly said it was "awesome" and "motivating."

When Saleh told Mumuni 11 days later, "I decided to tell my parents 'i will be gone in much less than a year, in sha Allah, you have two choices, either you let me go to Darul Islam or you watch me kill nonMuslims here," Mumuni replied, "May Allah make it easy for you," court documents say. 

Authorities went to Mumuni's home Wednesday to execute a search warrant in the case when Mumuni allegedly attacked them. Court papers say the suspect's mother and sister opened the door to let law enforcement officers in, and when they entered, Mumuni walked down the main staircase.

Officers ordered him to move to a couch in the living room and Mumuni refused, then allegedly lunged at the agents with a kitchen knife. He repeatedly tried to stab one officer as others attempted to restrain him, court papers say. None of the stabs penetrated the agent's body armor. 

After Mumuni's arrest, his mother allowed agents to search his car, where investigators found a bag containing another large kitchen knife, court papers say. After his arrest, he allegedly told FBI agents Wednesday's attack on the officers was premeditated and that he kept the knife used to attack the agent wrapped in a T-shirt in his bed for just such an occasion. He said he also stowed the knife found in his mother's car for a potential encounter with law enforcement, the complaint says.

Court papers say Mumuni also admitted to talking about building a pressure cooker bomb with Saleh.

Mumuni appeared briefly in federal court in Brooklyn; he was appointed an attorney, Anthony Ricco, who denied his client pledged allegiance to ISIS. Ricco said Mumuni would plead not guilty at an appropriate time. He said Mumuni is a religious man who had a job before Wednesday. The lawyer also said Mumuni and Saleh know each other, but he declined to elaborate on their relationship.

Ricco said Mumuni's mother and cousins, who were in court Wednesday, were surprised by the charges. They did not comment as they left court. The young man's uncle, who was also in court, said he didn't believe the charges. He said Mumuni attends the College of Staten Island and works as a home health aide on the weekends. The uncle described Mumuni as a good kid.

A neighbor who witnessed the arrest was Mumuni was cooperative when he was arrested by authorities; he was led out of his home wearing a bathrobe and shackles. The neighbor reiterated the uncle's statements that Mumuni is a good kid, saying he was always offering to shovel and carry groceries. The neighbor said he doesn't believe the allegations "for a minute." 

Mumuni was held without bail. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted of the charge of attempting to murder a federal officer.

Saleh appeared in court Saturday when the complaint against him was unsealed. The name of his attorney wasn't available, but his family denied the allegations Wednesday. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[N.Y. Man Gets 9 Years in Plot to Have Accuser Killed]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 20:43:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/daniel+miller+store+copy.jpg

A Long Island businessman who tried to have a teenager he sexually abused killed so he couldn't testify at trial has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Nassau County prosecutors say 47-year-old Daniel Miller pleaded guilty in April to charges including sexual abuse, conspiracy and criminal solicitation.

Miller admitted drugging a 17-year-old boy with an anti-anxiety medication, and then sexually abused him while the teen worked at his Santeria store in January 2012.

While in jail and awaiting trial, Miller offered to pay $15,000 to have the victim killed. Prosecutors say he wanted to make the killing look like a robbery so the boy would not testify at trial.

He also pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to charges he stole over $200,000 in a check-fraud scheme.

<![CDATA[NYC College Student Arrested for Alleged Role in Terror Plot]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 12:50:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg+20+may.jpg

A 20-year-old college student from Queens was arrested on Saturday by the FBI for allegedly scouting possible targets for an ISIS-inspired attack, law enforcement officials said.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Munther Omar Saleh with material support for terrorism. The FBI said he boasted he wanted to carry out a terror operation to an undercover informant.

A second man believed to be 17 years old was also questioned by authorities, according to federal court papers. Investigators said Saleh was researching how to make explosives and has watched ISIS videos online.

Saleh is a U.S. citizen who enrolled in a Queens aeronautical college and was allegedly trying to learn how to build a bomb.

Saleh allegedly posted jihadist writings online including claiming al-Qaida “could be getting too moderate” while also voicing support for the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the beheadings of hostages and establishing Sharia law in New York.

Investigators also said he voiced support for the Texas attack on a cartoon drawing contest of the prophet Mohammed.

In March, Saleh was twice spotted on the George Washington Bridge by Port Authority Police, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified of the suspicious activity.

JTTF searched his computer and discovered pro-ISIS translations, according to the criminal complaint.

In an online communication with a JTTF source, Saleh allegedly boasted, "Well, I am in NY trying to do an op." Investigators said he was also doing research on how to build a pressure cooker bomb similar to one used in the Boston Marathon bombings. The FBI said he also began shopping for components like a watch that could be used as a timing device for an explosive.

Neighbors at his family's home in Flushing were stunned to hear the allegations.

"Oh, my God. I don't know, that's a surprise for me," said Norma Morales. "I feel so bad about the family. They are very nice people." 

Saleh's father is a respected manager at a grocery store across the street, neighbors said. He didn't want to speak to NBC 4 New York at his home Tuesday night other to say his son is innocent. 

Luna Zhu recalled the FBI coming to the home a few days ago. She didn't seem to know much about Saleh.

"Usually he just walk out, walk in, just hold the door. That's it," she said. 

An unnamed co-conspirator allegedly exchanged ISIS videos from Syria with Saleh. Officials have not yet named that alleged co-conspirator.

On Saturday along the Whitestone Expressway, officials said Saleh noticed he and his co-conspirator were being followed, and they exited their green Jeep to approach the law enforcement vehicle. Police discovered a tactical folding knife on the co-conspirator when they were arrested, according to court papers.

The investigation is ongoing and spokesmen for the FBI and the US attorney’s office declined to comment beyond what is in the criminal complaint.

-- NBC News' Pete Williams and Robert Windrem contributed to this report 

<![CDATA[Ex-Dean Who Drove High Sentenced in Crash That Killed 2]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 20:04:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/north+merrick+fatal.jpg

Two grieving Long Island families attended the sentencing Monday of the former college administrator who killed two men in a crash on the Meadowbrook Parkway two years ago, but walked away with an empty feeling.

Debbie Fratello, the daughter of one of the victims, had asked that her father's killer be put in jail for a long time; instead, former Suffolk Community College associate dean Robert Beodeker was sentenced to a term of 4 to 12 years. 

He admitted he was driving to school high on crystal meth when his pickup truck slammed into a car that had broken down on the shoulder of the Meadowbrook Parkway in March 2013. 

Fratello's 76-year-old father John Elder, and the 65-year-old friend who came to help him, Edward Ross, were both killed. 

"I just don't think this is fair," said victim Edward Ross' son, also named Edward.

Ross said he's had trouble explaining the sentence to his own children. 

"How do I explain that he was killed by a methhead who could be on the streets in four years and kill then? How's that justice?" he said. 

Beodeker's sentence is a product of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He could have faced a maximum of 25 years in prison. 

Nassau Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCormick said, "Vehicular crimes suffer from penalties that never seem to match the harm that's caused."

Beodeker did apologize in court, saying to the victims' families: "I know it haunts you. It haunts me. I am truly sorry." 

But the families didn't buy it. 

"He has no remorse," said Ross. "He should spend the rest of his life in prison." 

Fratello said: "It's not going to bring my dad back. I just want my dad back." 

Photo Credit: NBCNewYork]]>
<![CDATA[5th Suspect Charged in Brooklyn ISIS Probe: Feds]]> Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:48:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bratton-islamic-state-presser-AP_617894346352.jpg

A fifth man has been arrested in connection with a federal investigation into the so-called Brooklyn ISIS conspiracy, federal authorities say.

Akmal Zakirov is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS -- also known as the Islamic State and ISIL -- and is expected to appear in federal court in Brooklyn later Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Zakirov's arrest comes months after 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanofvich Juraboev, 19-year-old Akhror Saidakhmetov were accused of conspiring to join ISIS overseas and planning to return to New York to shoot cops and FBI agents if their gambit failed. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Two other men, Abror Habibov and Dilkhayot Kasimov, have been accused of helping the pair raise money for the trip. Authorities allege Zakirov also helped in the fundraising effort, helping Saidakhmetov purchase a plane ticket to the Middle East.

“Zakirov is the fifth to be charged as part of the network of individuals alleged to have conspired and attempted to provide material support to ISIL,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie. “Our efforts to investigate terrorist support groups are ongoing -- we are committed to disrupting and deterring those who seek to support ISIL, whether by lending themselves or their funds to ISIL’s cause.”

If convicted, Zakirov faces up to 30 years in prison.

Saidakhmetov allegedly posted on an Uzbek-language website in the last six months that he would buy a machine gun and shoot police officers and FBI agents if his plan to join ISIS was thwarted, according to the complaint unsealed Wednesday. In August, 24-year-old Juraboev posted on the board that he would kill President Obama if ISIS asked him to and asked for help getting weapons, according to the complaint.

He also said he would plant a bomb on Coney Island if the terror group asked, the complaint said.

Law enforcement officials say any potential homegrown threat was aspirational, not operational, but authorities moved in because they believed the suspects' plans to travel abroad were imminent and their alleged intent to join ISIS real. Agents had been tracking the men for about eight months.

Saidakhmetov was arrested in March at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul. Juraboev had already bought a plane ticket to Istanbul from New York and was scheduled to leave March 29.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for killing several American hostages, including journalists James Foley, Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig. Another captive American, 26-year-old aid worker Kayla Mueller, was confirmed dead on Feb. 10, four days after ISIS claimed she had been killed in an airstrike in Syria.  

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fugitive Arraigned in Attempted Murder of U.S. Marshals, NYPD Cops]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 14:23:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Queens-Shootout-NY.jpg

A few dozen federal officers and local police packed a Brooklyn federal court room Friday as Oswald Lewis, a fugitive who had been on the run for two decades before he was apprehended last year, was arraigned on charges of attempted murder of U.S. Marshals and NYPD officers.

Lewis, who wore shackles and prison clothes when he faced a judge, was arrested in August by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force. He had been on the run since 1991, originally wanted in Virginia on a charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, when law enforcement officials tracked him to an apartment in Queens near JFK International Airport, authorities have said.

Lewis allegedly lay in wait for U.S. Marshals and NYPD officers and opened fire on the task force members when they went to arrest him last summer. Lewis, who was also a suspect in a Brooklyn stabbing, was wearing a bulletproof vest and had multiple guns under his pillow when they arrived.

Law enforcement officers returned his fire and wounded him in the hand and arm; Lewis wasn't badly hurt.

None of the law enforcement members were injured in the hail of gunfire. They were part of the same task force that worked to track the movements of Daron Dylon Wint, the suspect in the quadruple murder of a family and their housekeeper in Washington, D.C., when the suspect was in New York for a brief period hiding out amid a national manhunt last month. 

It wasn't clear if Lewis spoke at the hearing Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC New York]]>
<![CDATA[NY State Senator Probed Over Alleged $20K Car Bill to Taxpayers]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 20:19:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/marcellino+senate.jpg

The Nassau County District Attorney's office has opened an investigation into whether a powerful local state senator improperly billed taxpayers for nearly $20,000 in car expenses, sources close to the probe tell NBC 4 New York's I-Team.

Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino of Syosset, who represents the Fifth Senate District, spent more than $20,000 of his campaign funds on automobile expenses between 2010 and 2013, according to campaign finance records.

Because those expenses were paid for by his campaign, it would be against the law for him to bill taxpayers for the same expense. According to records provided to the I-Team, the state reimbursed Marcellino for $18,500 in auto expenses during the same period.

In a statement, Marcellino's communications director, Kathy Wilson, said he had not been contacted by any law enforcement entity concerning "recent claims by a local television station." 

"He is confident that he has followed all laws and appropriate guidelines," the statement said.

Marcellino, first elected to the New York State Senate via special election in 1995, of the senate Investigations Committee, Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee and was recently appointed head of the Committee on Education.

Marcellino also serves as a member on the senate committees on Rules, Finance, Banks, Consumer Protection, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Education, Environmental Conservation and Labor.

Sources familiar with the investigation say acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas' investigation is ongoing, and her staff has reached no conclusion of wrongdoing.

Her office declined comment.

Susan Lerner, who heads the good government group Common Cause, said she is not aware of the investigation into Marcellino. But she said car expenses are among many areas of lawmaker spending that should he more closely tracked.

"We have a system where anything goes in Albany," she said. "No oversight. No enforcement whatsoever."

So-called double dipping on automobile expenses was one of the subjects Gov. Cuomo's Moreland Commission was looking at before it disbanded. In it's preliminary report, the Democrat's commission listed 10 unnamed lawmakers it was investigating for possible auto expense propriety. Sources tell the I-Team Marcellino was one of them.

The investigation comes after a string of corruption allegations against state lawmakers. Late last year, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was arrested on charges of exchanging political favors for payments. He submitted his resignation as speaker in February to fight the charges, and has pleaded not guilty.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>