2011-07-06 / Front Page

114th Precinct Cops Honored, Hidden Auto Compartments Outlawed

By Richard Gentilviso

Police Officers Peter Predescu and Mubashir Tohfafarosh were honored as Cops of the Month at the June 28 meeting of the 114th Precinct Community Council.
Predescu was recognized for his actions on Tuesday, May 17. At 1:26 p.m., Predescu was on patrol with his partner when they responded to a 911 call of a robbery at gunpoint at 31-23 49th St.  The victim, a male age 21, was robbed of his cellphone by two males. Using the GPS application from the stolen phone, Predescu traced it to the Astoria Houses where the suspects resisted arrest and were charged with robbery in the second degree.
On Sunday May 15, Tohfafarosh was on anti-crime plainclothes duty in the vicinity of the Queensbridge Houses due to a robbery pattern. At 12:13 a.m. Tohfafarosh and his partner observed a male chasing another male. The male pursuing the second man had been robbed.  Tohfafarosh pursued the suspect, who was arrested and charged with robbery.
Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi said the individuals arrested had previous criminal histories and credited Predescu and Tohfafarosh with removing them from the street.
“I want to thank everybody,” said Predescu. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”
 “Thank you all for this honor,” Tohfafarosh said.
“I want to thank the officers honored tonight,” Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said. “Obviously, people who serve and protect us are very important.”
Simotas announced that she and state Senator Michael Gianaris had brought about the passage of bills in their respective legislative bodies that provide additional protections for law enforcement. Assembly bill A4535B, passed on June 23, and senate bill S2510B, passed on June 20, establish the offense of obstruction of governmental duties by means of a bomb, destructive device, explosive or hazardous substance.
“Law enforcement nationwide, as well as in New York state, have witnessed a surge in the number of hidden compartments found in motor vehicles,” reads the bill. “[Hidden compartments] are utilized to evade detection by law enforcement officers investigating drug and gun trafficking among other crimes. Even more disturbing…secret compartments are sometimes ‘booby-trapped’ causing serious risk to law enforcement officers seeking to locate and access them.”
The legislation amends the penal code by adding two new sections, 270.25 and 270.26, defining the crimes of unlawfully installing or possessing a concealed vehicular compartment in the first and second degree.
“These hidden compartments are a real danger and must be outlawed,” Gianaris told the Gazette in April.
A penalty of a Class E felony is charged for the offense in the first degree and a Class A misdemeanor for the offense in the second degree. The legislation also permits the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to suspend or revoke the registration of a motor vehicle repair shop where an owner or employee is found guilty of such crimes.
“The Simotas/Gianaris bill was passed to protect our police and law enforcement officers,” Simotas said. The bill becomes law 90 days after it is signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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