Impromptu Telethon Raises Christmas $ For Local Kids xBy Richard Gentilviso
Impromptu Telethon Raises Christmas $ For Local Kids
xBy Richard Gentilviso
Every Christmas, the 114th Police Precinct Community Council hosts a party for deserving children in the neighborhood. The costs for food, entertainment and most importantly, presents that brighten that special day for the kids all come from the generosity of the community at large. In that spirit, a group of concerned individuals, civic organizations and local business people, donated a total of $1,500 to this year’s party during the November meeting of the community council at Riccardo’s. Guest speaker George Delis, responding to the need, led an impromptu drive that netted about half of the $2,500 to $3,000 necessary for the neighborhood party. While expressing much gratitude, the council’s President Ann Bruno said more contributions are still needed to hold the event.
Calling Astoria "a great community, a vibrant community and a safe community," Delis, Community Board 1 district manager, praised the efforts of Bruno and the community council as well as the men and women of the 114th Precinct.
Deputy Inspector David Barrere, commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, introduced the recipients of the council’s Cop of the Month awards, Police Officers Steven Zanetis and Richard Colucci.
Zanetis received the award for his work as part of the Condition Unit in solving an active robbery pattern involving at least 15 cases that occurred on the north side of the Grand Central Parkway.
In July Zanetis observed a vehicle fitting a given description. He intercepted the car and was forced into a short chase when it sped off. But Zanetis caught the individual driving and then, interviewing him, acquired information that led to three more robbery arrests and closed an inventory of cases described by Barrere as a "major thorn in our community."
Colucci was cited for his actions in the early hours of October 3 during his usual midnight shift. Responding to a call for a robbery at gunpoint on the corner of 31st Street and 36th Avenue, Colucci apprehended a suspect without incident. "This guy keeps you safe while most of us are sleeping," said Barrere in recognition of the officer’s late-night efforts.
With the holiday season upon us, Barrere warned, "This is a wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, there are criminals out there. Watch your property at all times."
In addition, Barrere spoke of a growing concern about the crime of identity theft within the 114th Precinct. "There have been 21 identity thefts [reported in the 114th] in the last 28 days. Those are record numbers," he said. Mail containing notices or credit cards with personal identifying data should be shredded. Barrere recommended calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT to stop credit card mail solicitation. Credit card information can also be "skimmed" at ATMs, stores and restaurants by small copying machines, further underlining the need for keeping track of one’s mail.
Barrere advised keeping a close watch when using credit cards. "There are people who will take advantage of you," he said.