2017-03-08 / Front Page

108th Police Precinct Community Council Meeting

By Thomas Cogan
The 108th Police Precinct community council held its February meeting on the last day of the month.  It was a short meeting that contained a Cop of the Month award ceremony and a brief report by Commander Captain Ralph Forgione in which he had additional warnings about domestic abuse, car theft and elaborate tricks meant to get bank account information on depositors,  who are then set up to be theft victims.  The captain asked attending assistants to city officials to introduce themselves, as they did; and Schools Officer Diane Catogio also made an appearance. 

The Cop of the Month winners were Patrol Officer Kristy Massaro and Dominic Ruggiero, who were on patrol Monday evening, January 16 near the old Water’s Edge Restaurant on the East River at 4-01 44th Drive.  They noticed someone drive a U-Haul truck up to the restaurant, which has been closed for at least a temporary period, and back it up to the entrance.  Three got out of the truck and entered the dark restaurant.  The officers called in a likely burglary in progress and asked for back-up.  When back-up arrived, the officers went into the restaurant and found the three attempting to take away restaurant equipment.  All were apprehended, by which time they had already loaded furniture and other items into the truck.  Having called in the incident and secured   reinforcement, Massaro and Ruggiero were presented with their Cop of the Month plaques at the meeting.

In the crime report for most of February, there were no murders (and for that matter, none in the year to date).  There was one rape in the 28-day period, which prompted immediate inquiry, but the commander said he never comments on a rape case short of its resolution.  The last week of the period was especially heavy with felonious assault, there having been five in that time, compared to only one during the corresponding  week of 2016.  For the 28-day period, the picture remained ugly, with 18 incidents, compared to 10 for the same period of 2016.  Instances of burglary were down in the last week but up 12.5 percent for the 28-day period (nine burglaries, up from eight).  Grand larceny was up more than 25 percent during the latest week but for the 28-day period it declined 17.1 percent.

Grand larceny auto was down 100 percent for the last week (no thefts, compared to four) and two-thirds (three thefts, down from nine) for the past four weeks.  Still, Capt. Forgione issued a warning about it, saying he couldn’t believe that drivers still leave keys in the ignition when they leave the car to, say, pick up dry cleaning.  It’s only a short time, perhaps, but it’s time enough for a thief.  He also said that if a thief activates an ignition with no key in it, the car can be driven long distances and kept running so long as it isn’t stopped.  Additionally he advised that anyone hearing disruptive noise coming from a neighborhood house should report it and not just dismiss it as a domestic quarrel.  He said that one such recently-reported incident turned out to be a case of abuse and led to arrests.

The commander, leading his second community council meeting, made his first visit to the topic of automatic teller machine (ATM) crimes.  Precinct officers had recently staked out a Jackson Avenue bank and trapped a team running a skimming operation.  Skimming is done by actually installing a small machine in the ATM’s card insertion slot that reads the bank customer’s card when it is inserted and captures the information. This allows the skimmers to raid the account of that depositor or any other whose information has been similarly captured.

There were no politicians in attendance but their representatives were present and Capt. Forgione introduced them.  One, Leticia Johnson, works for State Senator Michael Gianaris and another, Stacy Elliott, for Public Advocate Leticia James.  Also at the meeting was Officer Diane Catogio, who commands school patrols in Borough Patrol Queens North.  She said that currently, the patrol is acutely understaffed and she is looking for recruits.








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