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Local News September 12, 2013  RSS feed


Say Gunplay Wasn’t In Glendale
story and photo by Max Jaeger

During a Liberty Park Home Owners Association meeting, Sept. 4, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley explains why she believes a proposed 150-family homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue in Glendale would be a bad idea. Also pictured are the group’s vice president, Jim Holt; President Tom Murawski; and Secretary Barbara Lombardi. During a Liberty Park Home Owners Association meeting, Sept. 4, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley explains why she believes a proposed 150-family homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue in Glendale would be a bad idea. Also pictured are the group’s vice president, Jim Holt; President Tom Murawski; and Secretary Barbara Lombardi. Crime in the 104th Precinct was a major topic at the Liberty Park Homeowners Association’s (LPHOA) quarterly meeting held last Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Serbian Association of New York.

John Burnett, a Republican running for Comptroller, also paid the civic a visit to stump for votes before the Sept. 10 primary that will choose his rival.

Crime update

Capt. Christopher Manson, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, and Det. Thomas Bell of the precinct’s Community Affairs Unit were on hand to talk about crime in the Liberty Park area and around the precinct.

Manson started off with some good news: Three out of the four shootings reported in the precinct this year appear to be shams, he said.

In the one legitimate shooting reported, the assailant was known to the victim, he said.

“I don’t want you to think we have random shootings out there–we don’t,” Manson told the LPHOA.

Stories given by victims of separate shootings recently reported in the area were so riddled with holes, police believe they were fabricated.

In one account, given June 24, a man said he was grazed by a bullet while driving in the vicinity of Cypress Hills Street and 78th Avenue. The victim, who gave a residence in Bushwick, reportedly drove himself home before transporting himself to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.

Police searched the area and found no evidence of gunfire.

In a second incident, a second Bushwick man reported on Aug. 17 that he was shot in the butt while riding a bicycle at the intersection of Cooper and Cypress avenues—in the Liberty Park section of Glendale.

Police interviewed several people in the area when the shooting supposedly took place, but none recalled hearing gunshots.

Police sources said the victim changed his story multiple times before becoming uncooperative.

“There’s no reason for us to believe it really happened there,” Manson said. “We believe the shooting happened over the border in Brooklyn. This was a very convenient story, and he picked a very desolate area...”

Manson said the two probably fabricated the accounts to hide the real circumstances surrounding the shootings, which manson speculated involved illicit activity.

Similarly, Mansons said one of the recent high-profile break-ins to occur in the area was not a random act.

The home invaders who reportedly encountered two young kids during a home invasion in Glendale, Aug. 21, were probably known to the victims, Manson said.

According to police, the assailants entered a home on 79th drive at about 11 a.m. that morning. They encountered two kids ages five and 12 who were home alone at the time.

Manson said the assailants began asking the kids “where’s the money,” which led investigators to believe the perps knew the kids’ parents stashed cash in the home.

Manson speculated the robbers may have been former employees of the kids’ father, who operates a pushcart business.

According to Manson, most burglars know their victims personally— often there are employment, gambling or narcotics histories.

“In my 26-year career, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a home invasion where they just randomly targeted anybody,” he said.

Phone snatchings on the rise

According to Manson, bicycleriding phone snatchers have made their way into the precinct.

The thieves ride by people who are talking on cell phones, snatch the devices, and pedal off before victims knew what hit them.

Manson noted the problem has existed in other parts of the city, but the 104th Precinct was relatively isolated until recently.

He said incidents have “exploded over the last week” with more than seven such snatchings reported.

Identifying thieves is tough, because they are able to swoop in so quickly. As a result, catching these perps can be a challenge, and Manson said the best bet is prevention by being aware of one’s surroundings and by limiting cell phone use in public. He suggested stopping into stores or restaurants when you need to use your phone.

The precinct made one arrest in a similar case on Sept. 2, Manson added .

Candidate John Burnett

Republican comptroller candidate John Burnett also visited the LPHOA to talk about his campaign and his credentials.

Burnett said he grew up in East New York and Jamaica, Queens. He began his career in finance at Smith Barney at the age of 19, eventually becoming a global wealth management supervisor at Merill Lynch.

While working on Wall Street, he earned both his bachelor’s degree from New York University and his MBA from Cornell University. He has also earned several financial registrations, he noted.

“I am the only candidate in this race that has those qualifications,” he said. “In my opinion—call me crazy—but you should know something about investments if you’re going to oversee $140 billion of investments.”

Chief among Burnett’s plans for improving the city’s finances is to consolidate its five public employee pension funds into one fund, eliminating administrative redundancies in running the five separate pensions. Burnett said the funds all invest in the same things, and there’s no reason they couldn’t be combined.

“There’s precedence for consolidation in New York City,” he said, citing the NYPD, fire and EMT services and New York’s five subway systems.

Burnett also called for a health care trust fund to absorb growing health care costs.

He said eliminating contracts with non-local contractors could increase the city’s tax base. If City Hall contracts with local workers, they will spend their paychecks in the city, creating income tax and sales tax revenue, Burnett said.

Along those lines, he suggested managing a portion of the fund inhouse in order to mitigate “exorbitant fees to larger brokerage dealers.”

Burnett said bringing accountability through transparency is crucial and proposed to post all city contracts to the Web and create a metric to gauge how those projects are performing.

“It’s very important that we manage the pension fund in the most beneficial way—cost-mitigating way—so that way we can boost the returns,” he said.