2019-02-06 / Front Page

New Commander Captain Gibbs Appears At 108th Precinct Community Council

By Thomas Cogan
The first 108th Precinct Community Council meeting of the year occurred on Captain Michael Gibbs’s first day as its new commander. Deputy Inspector Ralph Forgione had left the command four days earlier, having been assigned to Borough Patrol Brooklyn South. Capt. Gibbs, lately executive officer of the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, is in his first posting as a precinct commander. He told those present for the January 29th meeting at Sunnyside Community Services that he would soon complete 25 years on the force, being most of that time on duty in the Bronx, which included service in the 41st and 44th Precincts.

He got right down to business with a crime report, then moved on to congratulating and rewarding two patrol officers as Cops of the Month before he took questions from the audience. Among the responses was a complaint and inquiry about e-bikes or scooters, probably the first of many to come in future meetings.  

The captain began his crime report by saying that violent crime is down in frequency lately. The same can’t be said for grand larceny auto. He said he is looking to develop strategies to fight it.  Meanwhile, there is always standard advice, because there’s ample evidence that it’s still needed.  Do not, he pleaded, leave your car, however temporarily, with the motor running or the key in the ignition slot. A warning to beware of mail fishing followed, though this time he reported on the progress of innovation: the criminals now lower jars covered with glue or some sticky substance into the mailboxes. That provides more surface to which envelopes can adhere. When brought out of the mailbox, the money amount on the checks can be washed away and larger sums substituted before they are cashed.

The Cops of the Month were Patrolmen Steven Mercado and John De Luca. The crime they fought successfully occurred on a night in December at 69th Street and Queens Boulevard in Woodside.  A couple of people found themselves suddenly surrounded by four motorcyclists, one of whom pointed a silver-colored pistol at them and held them up. When put on the case, De Luca and Mercado took a description of the suspects and covered grid patterns in the area of the crime – what the captain called “good, old-fashioned police work.”  Finding an individual whose description came close, they confronted and searched him, discovering a silver-colored pistol. He was apprehended and his companions were later rounded up.
An incident on a local street in December was reported, about tacks and other sharp objects being spread on a bike lane to puncture tires. The captain said such incidents should be reported any time they are discovered. If often repeated, it can be traced and the chance of catching an offender is increased.

K.Y. Chow, owner of a cleaning store on Hunters Point Avenue, said he got a visit the previous Friday from officers who were investigating a complaint from someone who said Chow was parking his car off the roadway and in a place near his shop where it was said to be an obstruction for pedestrians. He was bewildered by this, since he’d been parking the car there for some time without any complaints.  The captain said that he would confer with the officers or anyone else involved and be back to Chow with his decision.

A representative from City Council Member Bob Holden’s office in Maspeth said he has noticed that someone had recently shown up in a recreational vehicle and parked it on 58th Street. He said he had reason to speculate that the owner might be dealing drugs near and far out of that RV. The captain promised to check it out.

 
   


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