114th Pct. Cops Stop Thefts
Every day, it's taken for granted that police officers work around the clock to keep us safe. In daylight and overnight, less than two days apart Sergeant Michael Silva and Police Officer Tomas Ramirez of the 114th Precinct did just that. For their efforts, Silva and Ramirez were awarded Cop-of-the-Month honors for March at the April 28 meeting of the precinct community council.
On March 28, at approximately 3 p.m., Silva, in uniform and driving a marked police vehicle, responded to a burglary call at an apartment building on Broadway. Arriving, Silva noticed security cameras in the building and immediately thought they could be used to help identify the burglary suspects. Silva asked a man in the building if he could view the cameras, and was taken into an apartment. Once inside, he came upon an openly illegal gambling operation.
"There was cash and poker machines," Deputy Inspector Paul Vorbeck, commanding officer of the 114th Precinct, said.
The premises were locked down and Silva arrested two suspects. Soon thereafter, a search warrant was obtained and executed. Five poker machines were seized, cash confiscated and the two suspects charged with operating an illegal gambling parlor.
At about 3 a.m. on March 26, Ramirez, in plainclothes and an unmarked car, noticed a young woman standing in front of a building. She appeared to be nervous and acting suspiciously, so Ramirez continued to observe her.
"Shortly thereafter, P.O. Ramirez saw two men come out of the building carrying a whole bunch of boxes," Vorbeck said. All three suspects hurried away from the building, but Ramirez stopped them to investigate. The boxes were determined to have been stolen from the basement of the building, and burglar tools were found. Subsequently, all three suspects were arrested.
"Burglary is down nearly 25 percent, year to date in the precinct," Vorbeck said crediting efforts such as Ramirez' for the downturn.
"[The] recognition makes me feel good," said Ramirez. Silva was on vacation and the award accepted for him in absentia.
Vorbeck said a spike in felony assaults was attributable to several incidents related to bars. Three people were stabbed near Pizzeria Uno on 38th Street recently when a thrown bottle started a fracas. Vorbeck promised stepped-up enforcement, including a MARCH initiative.
MARCH, or Multi-Agency Response to Citywide Hotspots, employs the combined efforts of NYPD, the Department of Buildings, the Fire Department, the Department of Health and the NYPD Legal Bureau to issue violations that could lead to closure under nuisance abatement procedures.
Vorbeck also reported three shooting incidents, two in the Ravenswood Houses and one in the Astoria houses. "We have closed one case in Ravenswood with an arrest," he said. "The other is still open but we have a suspect who is wanted."
Likewise, in the Astoria houses incident, Vorbeck said the perpetrator has been identified. "It's just a matter of time before we apprehend this individual," he said.
Over the 28-day period ending April 26, robberies are down 30 percent, burglaries are down 52 percent, grand larceny is down more than 20 percent and auto thefts are down 24 percent.
"Crime is down due to great police work," Vorbeck asserted.