2008-03-05 / Features

Borough-Wide Blotter


102nd Precinct

Blaze Survivor Detained

Police arrested a 74-year-old Richmond Hill homeowner on February 26 after firefighters battling a blaze at the site discovered a cache of weapons and ammunition.

Authorities said Robert Fuchs had six handguns, one AK-47, a sniper-rifle, antique pistols and a large number of assorted knives, swords and bayonets at 87-34 114th Street.

Police sources said Fuchs had valid permits for two of the guns, but the other firearms were not registered.

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 3:20 a.m. on February 28 after neighbors spotted smoke and flames pouring from the house Fuchs shared with at least 20 cats. Sources said about 10 of the cats died in the blaze. Others were rescued by firefighters or escaped on their own.

Fuchs, who was not injured in the blaze, was taken to the 102nd Police Precinct where he was charged with misdemeanor weapons possession.

105th Precinct

Hunt Fatal Hit & Run Driver

Queens detectives are seeking help from the public to identify and locate a driver who struck and killed an 84-year-old Glen Oaks woman on February 29.

The victim was crossing Union Turnpike at 260th Street when a gold or tan two-door sedan struck her, then fled southbound on Union Turnpike. Police said the late-model car suffered front-end damage from the impact.

The victim was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Anyone with information on the vehicle or the driver is urged to call the Crimestoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

106th Precinct

Child Molester Ex-Cop Charged

Cops busted a former New York City police officer at his Ozone Park home on February 27, where they seized a stash of kid pornography and an arsenal of weapons.

Police arrested Matthew Fanning after a month-long investigation proved he attempted to buy sex over the Internet with the teenage daughters of a police informant, police sources said.

Sources said Fanning, 44, made at least one trip out of the U.S. to have sex with the teens. Investigators are also questioning the girlfriend of Fanning's 14-year-old to determine if he abused the teen.

Police said Fanning used an AOL site under the screen name, "Gunrunlover", to store and send pornographic images of children.

Police who raided Fanning's home seized two computers containing hundreds of hours of child porn, and more than two ounces of marijuana, a gravity knife, a switchblade, a rifle, a shotgun, three illegal handguns and 1,496 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

Fanning was charged with 19 counts of weapons possession and child porn offenses.

110th Precinct

Bicyclist Crushed A Queens bicycle messenger weaving between two trucks was crushed to death on February 29, police said.

Cops said Rahman Asif, 22, was heading east on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst at about 3:12 p.m. when he was caught between a box truck that passed another double-parked truck.

Asif was declared dead at the scene and no one was charged in the accident, police said.

111th Precinct

Scammer Charged With Hate Crime

Police recently arrested a 36-year-old Queens woman charged with abusing and targeting an elderly Bayside man, possession of stolen property and a host of other charges.

Alexandra Gilmore was charged with a hate crime for taking advantage of the 93-year-old Alzheimer's patient, police said. Investigators said Gilmore claimed she was the victim's daughter to scam him out of more than $800,000.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Gilmore befriended Artee McKay, who had been a friend of Gilmore's deceased father. Gilmore gained McKay's trust in order to take advantage of him, Brown said.

Authorities said Gilmore also allegedly refinanced McKay's Bayside home twice during the scam, once telling a mortgage firm her dad wanted cash to dole out as gifts to his children.

Gilmore later used a partner to play the role of a straw buyer to purchase a home McKay owned in Jamaica, Queens. The duo then sold the home, authorities said.

Authorities said the partner, Rebecca Tharpe, allegedly pocketed $102,000 from the sale, while Gilmore got $200,000.

Gilmore also opened a bank account in McKay's name without his knowledge, which she used to obtain credit cards she maxed-out with purchases, according to police.

Gilmore was held in lieu of $100,000 bail at her arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. Tharpe was arrested and released on $25,000 bail at her arraignment.

112th Precinct

'Perv' Teacher Busted

A popular Forest Hills math teacher was charged recently with e-mailing pornography to eight of his male students - all of whom were 12 or 13-years-old at the time, authorities said.

Bradley Dieffenbacher, 32, who resigned from his position as a math teacher at J.H.S. 190 on February 14, was charged in a 16-count criminal complaint- one count of use of a child in a sexual performance, three counts of attempted use of a child in a sexual performance, one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child, three counts of attempted promoting of a sexual performance by a child and eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

Dieffenbacher, who faces us to 15 years in prison if convicted, was held in lieu of $150,000 bail at his arraignment at Queens Criminal Court.

According to the charges, between April 1, 2007 and February 20, 2008 Dieffenbacher sent instant messages over the Internet to the eight teens, who were or had been students in his classes. The complaint alleges that Dieffenbacher asked the teens sexually explicit questions in the messages and suggested the teens use a Web cam to perform a sex act for him. Dieffenbacher also allegedly sent several of the students' links to various Internet porn sites.

Law enforcement sources said they are trying to determine if any other students were victimized by Dieffenbacher.

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