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Crime & Cases March 18, 2010  RSS feed

Gunfire, Cops Stop Pair On Rampage In S. Ozone Park

Officers Honored At 106th Council Meet
by Ralph Mancini

Police Officers Shawn Phillips (second from left) and Steven T. Betts (second from right) were honored with Cop of the Month plaques, donated by the Times Newsweekly, for their heroic actions in bringing down a pair of armed robbers. Also pictured are Community Council President Frank Dardani (at far left) and the commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis (at far right). (photo: Ralph Mancini) Police Officers Shawn Phillips (second from left) and Steven T. Betts (second from right) were honored with Cop of the Month plaques, donated by the Times Newsweekly, for their heroic actions in bringing down a pair of armed robbers. Also pictured are Community Council President Frank Dardani (at far left) and the commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis (at far right). (photo: Ralph Mancini) A high-speed car chase in which one of two fleeing perpetrators opened fire on officers in hot pursuit highlighted the Wednesday, Mar. 10 meeting of the 106th Precinct Community Council at the command’s stationhouse in Ozone Park.

Deputy Inspector Joseph Courtesis, the commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, credited P.O. Steven T. Betts and Shawn Phillips for their persistence and courage in tracking down two armed thieves only minutes after they committed two robberies along the Ozone Park/South Ozone Park border.

The audience was told how on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at about 8 a.m., two males pushed their way into a resi- dence in the area of 122nd Street and 150th Avenue where they proceeded to bound and gag two adults, who were in the process of taking their children to school.

Reportedly, the duo stole a 42- inch television from the location, fled in a white automobile and went on to rob a female at a nearby bus stop shortly after.

The crime victim recorded the license plate number of the car transporting the two thieves and informed the authorities of the incident, said the commanding officer.

Betts and Phillips sprung into action upon spotting the white vehicle at 130th Street and Foch Boulevard, where a three-minute, five-mile chase across three precincts reportedly commenced after the fugitives refused to pull over.

“At one point, the passenger began to waive a firearm out of the window to intimidate the officers to back off from the pursuit. This did not deter the officers,” recounted Coutesis. “The passenger then leaned out of the window and pointed the firearm in the direction of the officers and began to open fire. Yet these officers continued to pursue.”

The Starsky and Hutch-like pursuit came to an abrupt end when the driver reportedly jumped out of his seat while the car was still moving, causing the vehicle to crash into cars parked along the curb.

One of the armed robbers, continued Courtesis, tried to seek refuge in a nearby home. But after bullets were exchanged, the police men were able to catch up to him and place him under arrest. Subsequently, Betts and Phillips also arrested the second offender.

Following the collar, the precinct learned that the captured parties were both parolees.

The deputy inspector lauded the officers by adding: “They exemplified bravery at its highest standard.”

The two arrests, it was noted, brought a rash of recent robberies to a close after a strong 2009 in which robberies in the area were down by over 100.

Betts and Phillips received Cop of the Month plaques, donated by the Times Newsweekly, for their work in hunting down the two robbers.

Precinct cracks church burglary

Courtesis confirmed that the command arrested the individual responsible for the theft of two chalices from St. Helen’s Church in the Rockwood section of Howard Beach.

The suspect, he said, was a Howard Beach resident and he thanked Msgr. Alfred LoPinto for his help in solving the crime.

Car trouble An Ozone Park Nissan dealership was the subject of Conditions Sgt. Peter Iemma’s monthly report, in which he recapped how his unit issued summonses to the business for parking its vehicles in crosswalks and on sidewalks along Rockaway Boulevard.

In addition, the officer spoke about numerous fines that were written out to weekday subway commuters whose cars routinely block driveways on local side streets on their way to work.

Community Council President Frank Dardani followed by communicating the precincts efforts in ticketing parked vehicles with car covers over them.

Scam alert

The deputy inspector warned community members to avoid making donations over the phone to people claiming to represent the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA). He firmly stated that the NYPD doesn’t solicit donations.

Attendees were also instructed by Community Council Vice President Donna Gilmartin not to allow people posing as U.S. Census workers to enter their homes.

The civic leader recommended that homeowners let even legitimate government employees stand outside their entrances to perform their duties.

Dardani took it one step further by advising listeners to fill out their U.S. Census forms and mail then back in order to prevent house calls.

More robberies

Courtesis touched on garage burglaries that are becoming popular on both sides of Howard Beach.

He expressed the difficulty in investigating those particular crimes due to the fact that he rarely finds witnesses, which prevents the precinct from figuring out the modus operandi of the people behind the thefts.

Haiti relief effort

Those in attendance were asked to donate a case of spring water to Haitian earthquake victims by P.O. Brenda Bratcher of the Community Affairs Unit.

The 106th Precinct will be collecting bottles of water until Wednesday, Mar. 31 and shipping them to Haiti thereafter.

Phagwah parade

Courtesis and Dardani reported that the 2010 edition of the Phagwah Parade was successful, as several auxiliary officers assisted in confiscating bags of white powder, which can be harmful to people’s lungs, it was noted.

The 106th Precinct Community Council regularly meets at 8 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the group’s Ozone Park stationhouse, located at 103-53 101st St.