A New York man has been arrested after he allegedly targeted Hispanic men, drove them to remote locations on Long Island and attacked the victims.
Suffolk County Police say 19-year-old Christopher Cella of Selden was arrested Sunday and he was charged with several hate crimes in the alleged attacks of at least the three men, one of whom he tried to choke. The attacks occurred within a 24-hour period, authorities said.
Cella allegedly picked up a 52-year-old man near La Placita, a local grocery chain that sells products from Latin American countries, on Horseblock Road in Farmingville around 8:15 a.m. on Friday, Sept.17. He then brought the man to a nearby abandoned construction site on Blue Point Road and attacked him.
Police did not provide details of that attack but said Cella left the site and about an hour later picked up another victim, a 60-year-old man, at a 7-Eleven less than a mile down the road from La Placita.
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From there, Cella allegedly took the man to the Blue Ridge Condominium Complex and choked him. The victim was able to escape, police said, and Cella went back to the 7-Eleven around 8 a.m. the next day.
The third victim, a 47-year-old Brentwood resident, got into Cella's vehicle but he became suspicious of Cella and he was able to get out of the car.
Cella was later arrested Sunday at his home on Adirondack Drive. He was charged with two counts of Aggravated Harassment, two counts of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing, two counts of Unlawful Imprisonment under the Hate Crimes Law, and one count of Reckless Endangerment under the Hate Crimes Law.
He is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Monday. It's unclear if he has obtained an attorney who can speak on the charges on his behalf.