Tag Archive | "cops"

Sag Harbor 7-Eleven Employee Arrested for Stealing on the Job

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Bernard Cooks

Bernard Cooks, 33, was arrested Friday on charges of grand larceny for allegedly stealing from the Sag Harbor 7-Eleven while working there.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sag Harbor Village Police arrested Bernard T. Cooks, 33, of Bridgehampton on Friday, September 5, at 2:42 p.m. on charges of grand larceny in the fourth degree, a felony.

While working at the 7-Eleven in Sag Harbor on August 10, Mr. Cooks allegedly stole $1,085.76 from the register he was manning.

The store manager told police Mr. Cooks took money out of the register and put it in a plastic bag, which he placed in the garbage before returning to retrieve the cash. This occurred at least twice between 6:55 and 7:55 p.m., the manager told police. At the end of Mr. Cooks’s shift, the register was $1,085.76 short, police said.

Mr. Cooks, who is currently on parole for previous offenses, was arrested and transported to police headquarters before being arraigned in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on Friday at 4 p.m.. He was transferred to Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead to await a later court appearance.

Southampton Town Police arrested Mr. Cooks in January 2011 as part of an investigation into crack-cocaine dealing at a house in North Sea. He was convicted of felony charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was released from prison in May 2012 after serving less than a year.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office dropped all charges against him due to an ongoing investigation into the alleged misconduct of a Southampton Town Police officer in the Street Crimes Unit that had conducted the initial drug raids on Mr. Cooks’s house.

Update: Sag Harbor Acupuncturist Arrested on Charges He Sexually Abused Female Patient

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Sag Harbor acupuncturist Michael Gohring was arrested July 12 on charges that he sexually abused a female patient. Mugshot courtesy Southampton Town Police Department.

Sag Harbor acupuncturist Michael Gohring was arrested July 12 on charges that he sexually abused a female patient. Mugshot courtesy Southampton Town Police Department.

Click here for the original version of this story.

By Tessa Raebeck

Southampton Town Police arrested Michael Gohring, an acupuncturist in Sag Harbor, on Saturday, July 12, on charges that he sexually abused a female patient he was treating.

Mr. Gohring, 64, a resident and business owner in Sag Harbor since 1987, was arrested at his office, Mikal Gohring Acupuncture & Comprehensive Oriental Medicine, on Noyac Road in Noyac. According to Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa of the Southampton Town Police Department, Mr. Gohring’s legal name on his identification is Michael, but he uses “Mikal” for business purposes.

The patient, who Sergeant Costa identified as a 50-year-old Southampton resident, told police that the acupuncturist had sexually abused her during an appointment while she had acupuncture needles inserted into her body and was thus unable to move. Mr. Gohring was charged with aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree, a Class C Felony, which alleges he violated the patient using his hand.

He was held overnight at Southampton Town Police Headquarters in Hampton Bays and arraigned Sunday, July 13, at Southampton Town Justice Court. Mr. Gohring was remanded to Suffolk County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail, police said in a press release issued Wednesday, July 16. He has since posted bail.

When approached outside his Noyac Road acupuncture office on Tuesday, July 22, Mr. Gohring and his attorney, Robert J. Coyle, who practices in Sag Harbor, said they are in the process of preparing a formal statement attesting to his innocence that will be issued sometime this week.

Mr. Gohring added that he has strong ties to the community and has treated countless local people who can corroborate his professionalism. A poll of Dan’s Papers readers named Mr. Gohring’s practice “Best of the Best Acupuncturist in the Hamptons” several times, most recently in 2013.

According to his website, Mr. Gohring has been practicing professionally 27 years and offers “comprehensive oriental medicine, acupuncture and acutonics treatments.” He lists “women’s health” as among his specialties.

“My training and experience have given me professional expertise in treating diseases and chronic conditions difficult to treat through other disciplines,” his website states.

Mr. Gohring is due back in Southampton Town Court on September 9.

Police have asked that anyone with related information call the Southampton Town Detective Unit at (631) 702-2230.

Update: Six-Year-Old Killed by Car in Water Mill

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Tess Burstein, 6, was killed by a car Sunday afternoon while crossing the road by her family's summer home in Water Mill.

Tess Burstein, 6, was killed by a car driven by her neighbor Sunday afternoon while crossing the road by her family’s summer home in Water Mill.

By Tessa Raebeck

Six-year-old Tess Burstein was hit and killed by a car Sunday, June 15, while crossing Blank Lane in Water Mill.

According to the Southampton Town Police Department, at around 11:19 a.m. Tess was crossing the road when a Toyota Prius traveling north hit her. She was taken to Southampton Hospital and then to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she was treated for critical injuries.

On Monday, a spokesperson from Stony Brook University Hospital confirmed that the girl had died from her injuries at 4:49 p.m. Sunday.

The driver of the Toyota, Maurice Wittenberg, 76, and his wife Harriet, 76, who was also in the car, were not injured in the crash.

The car was impounded for a safety check and no criminal charges have been filed at this time.

Tess is the daughter of Josef Burstein, 46, and Annabel Vered, 43. She leaves behind a 9-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister.

Mr. Burstein is an investment banker with UBS and his wife, Ms. Vered, was an editor at Life&Style, Star and InTouch celebrity magazines before becoming the top editor at the celebrity weekly Closer last year.

The Bursteins split their time between their Blank Lane home and a residence in Manhattan. Mr. Wittenberg, a retired chemist, and his wife, a retired teacher, are their neighbors in Water Mill.

The Burstein family was having a barbecue in celebration of Father’s Day Sunday afternoon when Tess, who was playing in the front yard, ran out into the road to reach her friend on the other side, police said.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have more information or who may have witnessed the accident to call (631) 702-2230.

The tragedy comes a year after the death of 14-year-old Anna Mirabai Lytton last June in East Hampton. The Springs School student was hit and killed by a car driven by Maria Brennan, 73, while riding her bike near the CVS on Pantigo Road.

Springs Man Assaulted with Machete in East Hampton

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Jose Javier Garces Hernandez, 24, of Springs, is charged with assault in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree for stabbing another East Hampton man with a machete Monday, May 26. Photo courtesy East Hampton Town Police Department.

Jose Javier Garces Hernandez, 24, of Springs, is charged with assault in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree for assaulting another East Hampton man with a machete Monday, May 26. Photo courtesy East Hampton Town Police Department.

By Tessa Raebeck

On May 26, East Hampton Town Police responded to a report of two men fighting in the roadway on Clinton Street in Springs. Upon arrival, police said they found Jose Maria Jimenez, 26, of Clinton Street had been assaulted with a machete and had suffered several serious wounds to his torso.

Mr. Jimenez was transported to Southampton Hospital for treatment before being transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

According to police, the second man involved in the fight, Jose Javier Garces Hernandez, 24, of Rutland Drive, fled the scene prior to police arrival and was later located at a residence on Springs Fireplace Road.

Mr. Garces Hernandez was treated for injuries by East Hampton Ambulance and subsequently airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment. He has been charged with assault in the second degree, a felony, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor.

Mr. Garces Hernandez was arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Wednesday.

Police ask that anyone with information contact the East Hampton Town Police Department at (631) 537-7575. All calls will be kept confidential.

Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike Closed After Two Car Accidents

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A three vehicle accident took place Tuesday morning near the intersection of the Bridgehampton Turnpike and Scuttlehole Road. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

A three vehicle accident took place Tuesday morning near the intersection of the Bridgehampton Turnpike and Scuttlehole Road. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Tessa Raebeck

The Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike is shut down, with the road blocked off from Huntington Crossway to Scuttle Hole Road, after two accidents occurred during the morning of Tuesday, May 20.

A single car accident on the turnpike sent the driver to the hospital with a broken leg. Photo by Steven Kotz.

A single car accident on the turnpike sent the driver to the hospital with a broken leg. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Sometime around 8 a.m. a southbound construction truck towing a small cement mixer struck a northbound SUV in its driver side door. Another northbound car was pushed off the road to be parallel to the SUV on its passenger side. An ambulance was called, but an EMT at the scene said injuries did not appear to be serious.

Sergeant Howard Kalb with the Southampton Town Police Department said a tow truck was called for “some kind of trouble” with the cement  mixer, but confirmed there were no serious injuries.

A second accident also occurred on the turnpike earlier Tuesday at 5:52 a.m. when a northbound vehicle struck a pole just north of Hampton Court. The collision caused the telephone wires to become low hanging wires, but they were not knocked into the street. The driver, who had to be removed from the vehicle, suffered a broken leg, Sergeant Kalb said Tuesday.

For more information, call the Southampton Town Police Department at 631-728-3400.



Sag Harbor Man Pleads Guilty to July DWI Accident on Route 114

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By Tessa Raebeck

A Sag Harbor man pled guilty Tuesday to charges that while driving drunk last July, he caused a collision that seriously injured a six-year-old boy, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said in a press release.

William Hurley, 60, of Sag Harbor pled guilty to the seven-count indictment at a court conference in Central Islip. He was charged with two counts of vehicular assault in the second degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, two counts of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and reckless driving, according to the release issued by District Attorney Thomas Spota.

The charges maintain that while driving drunk on Route 114 in East Hampton Town last July 6, Hurley caused a head-on collision that left a six-year-old boy seriously injured and his mother hospitalized. Hurley was reportedly driving his Toyota pickup truck northbound at around 6:15 p.m. when he crossed the double yellow line and swerved into oncoming traffic where he collided head-on with a southbound BMW driven by Elizabeth Krimendahl, 53, of New York City, according to East Hampton Town Police. His blood alcohol content was .14; the legal limit is .08.

Krimendahl suffered a leg injury in the crash and was taken by helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital. Her young son, Thaddeus, was in a car seat in the backseat and was seriously injured and hospitalized with a skull injury.

Hurley, the owner of Peconic Beverage East on Pantigo Place in East Hampton, was taken to Southampton Hospital and then transferred to Stony Brook at the time of the crash.

The cars collided in an area of Route 114 that is one of the road’s rare straight stretches. According to police, Hurley’s vehicle struck Krimendahl’s close to the double yellow line and both cars ricocheted off one another to opposite sides of the road. The truck rolled over before stopping and the front of the BMW, a four-door sedan, was crushed.

“The defendant,” said District Attorney Spota, “who was driving all over the highway crossing over the double yellow line several times prior to the crash, told East Hampton Town police officers that he was tired, and admitted at the scene that he consumed two drinks made of vodka and grapefruit juice, drinks that he described as ‘strong ones.’”

Hurley, who was described by police as having “glassy, bloodshot eyes,” and smelling of alcohol at the scene, said he thought he had fallen asleep at the wheel, according to Spota.

Following Hurley’s plea of guilty, State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho made a sentencing promise to sentence him to two years’ incarceration and two years of post-release supervision.

Taking It To The Streets—By Bike

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Bike Cop

By Claire Walla

They travel by horse, helicopter, motorcycle or car — even roller blades and Segways (my personal favorite) are fair game. Police officers have many ways of patrolling the streets. But here in Sag Harbor, when village police aren’t confined to a car, they prefer bikes.
With the addition of Officer Dave Driscoll who joined the village police squad last summer, Sag Harbor Village now has four certified bike cops. The 24-speed two-wheelers they ride give policemen a relatively hassle-free way to travel through the village.
I met Officer Driscoll at the station at 6:30 p.m. one recent Saturday night. Truth be told, half of me was eager to witness in person what I usually see written-out each week when I compile the police blotter. But, the other half was apprehensive of what an arrest would be like for someone on a bike. If you’ve ever read blotter, you know Sag Harbor is not necessarily immune to uncooperative arrestees. Maintaining law and order with a high-speed, patrol car on your side is one thing; getting into harm’s way with little more than a bicycle to get you out — that’s a little different.
Fortunately, Driscoll has top-of-the-line equipment. His mountain bike was donated by a shop in East Hampton, which outfitted the vehicle with bright LCD lights in front, a flashing red light in back, and the ability to flip colored panels to achieve that well-known red-and-blue blinking light effect. This custom bike even came equipped with its own siren, a deafening wail that — when standing only inches away — seemed even louder than the high-pitched whine standard for your average police vehicle.
Driscoll explained that each certified bike cop has to complete a weeklong training course. His took place at Suffolk Police Academy in Westhampton. There, police men and women take part in a real life bike boot camp: learning how to mount and dismount their bike efficiently, how to descend and even climb up a flight of stairs, how to “track stand” (or, maintain a standing position with both feet on the pedals for an extended period of time, like while stopped at a red light).
“We had a range day where we did some pursuit riding and learned how to dismount off the bike and shoot at targets,” Driscoll said. “On the last day we did a 30- to 40-mile night ride.”
While a little more assured of what I was getting into, I immediately came to grasp the benefits of traveling light as soon as we set out. After leaving the station and heading north on Route 114, we swiftly slid down the right-hand shoulder, past a line of cars all waiting to turn left onto Bay Street. Mimicking their route, we hung a left and flew past all the vehicles essentially parked at this Bay Street bottleneck I’ve grown so accustomed to, myself, as a driver.
While sailing along, I noticed Driscoll was being carefully observant. We were inches away from each vehicle, so he could actually peer in through the passenger side window and check to make sure seat-belt laws weren’t being violated and even see whether passenger seats were free of, well, incriminating materials.
“The best thing about being on a bike is that no one knows you’re coming,” he said.
I figured this was a less probable, now that Driscoll was traveling with a reporter in pigtails and a cameraman weighted down by several satchels of gear while pedaling furiously on a bright-yellow bike two sizes too small — but I can see how this would be the case ordinarily. We paused by Bay Street Theatre to examine a run-down hatchback that appeared to have one too many bodies crammed into the backseat. But, as it turned out, it was just cramped (such is the nature of a hatch-back.)
We continued our loop through the village by heading toward the back parking lots to the west of Main Street, and I asked Driscoll about the dangers of navigating high-traffic roads.
“There are a lot of crazy drivers everywhere, so you have to be aware of your surroundings — you almost have to have eyes in the back of your head,” he said, explaining that his uniform is equipped with reflectors. “There aren’t a lot of shoulders, there aren’t a lot of streetlights here, and in the summer it seems everyone’s always in a rush to go somewhere.”
And then — as if on cue — Driscoll pardoned himself and sped off for the parking lot.
“It’s not our fault, it’s his!” the passenger of the vehicle shrieked as Driscoll rolled to the parked car trying to back out of a spot in the midst two others attempting to take it.
We had stumbled upon our first incident of the evening: a parking feud. An S.U.V. and a luxury sedan were facing one other in what seemed like a sudden death scenario, competing for a soon-to-be-vacated space. Driscoll cleared the way for the car to leave and quickly extricated himself from the conflict. The S.U.V. bitterly drove off. Totally impartial, Driscoll picked the conversation where we left off. I got the sense he does this a lot.
Next, we meandered over to the corner of Main and Spring Streets, where we perched ourselves next to the curb to watch the flow of traffic. While riding around with a cop, it had become clear to me that the notion of being “on duty” brings with it a certain view of the world. You’re not riding defensively — even though you are certainly hoping to avert erratic drivers — you’re proactively looking for violations and errors.
Once again, mid-sentence, Driscoll spotted something my eyes have not been trained to see — and he was off.
A man in a Jeep who turned left onto Spring was not wearing a seatbelt. After signaling for him to pull over, Driscoll questioned the man and learned that the driver had just come back from a day at the beach and was less than two minutes from home. Noticing that the man had no prior record and that he was indeed in the right vicinity, Driscoll let him off with a warning.
This was not the case for a driver on Long Wharf whom Driscoll approached for parking in an undesignated parking space. After learning she was also driving without a license, Driscoll issued her several violations before telling her to call someone to pick her up and move the car.
In the course of the evening, we made several loops around Main Street and stopped by Haven’s Beach. Twice. (As far as we could tell, it was empty.) The fastest we sped was north on Route 114 in pursuit of a car that had run a stop sign. The driver ended up getting away. And the most deftly maneuvered traffic stop came later in the evening when Driscoll caught up with a pick-up truck with a broken taillight blasting loud music which attempted to turn left onto Main Street. For a moment it seemed as if the truck would try to out-run the bike cop, but the young driver complied and pulled over on the side of Long Island Avenue. He got off with a warning.
Before we knew it, it was 11 p.m. and Driscoll’s shift was over. There had only been one DWI arrest (by another officer), which I assumed to be low-key for a Sag Harbor summer night, and Main Street establishments were just beginning to empty.
I asked Officer Driscoll if he was perhaps a bit disappointed by the fact that the evening was so slow. He had made no arrests. But, he responded the way you’d expect any seasoned cop to answer.
“If nothing happens,” he began, “then it’s a good night.”

Cops and Town Debate Retirement

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Southampton Town Board, PBA, and attorneys

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, along with the rest of the town board, sat opposite Southampton town’s finest men in blue backed by men in black — their attorneys — at town hall on Tuesday. Each of the lawyers presented their clients’ side of issues surrounding the retirement, social security laws and criteria for why six longtime officers were left off a continuation of service list earlier this year.

The meeting was called for after a protest on August 26 at town hall where officers brought attention to a proposal that could have given Southampton Town Police Chief, James Overton, authority to force policemen to retire after 20 years of service. The resolution that was proposed listed 20 officers whose contracts will be renewed, but it left six others off this list. That resolution was tabled immediately at that August meeting, but the public along with officers and members of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) were still able to voice their concerns that night.

On Tuesday, attorney for the PBA Seth Greenberg, presented to the board the four options police can opt into for retirement. He argues that a 1990 collective bargaining agreement between the town and the PBA allows policemen to put in more than 20 years of service.

“This is to encourage the veteran and not to deprive the employer,” he commented, “A police officer’s pension is based on two things; years of service and his final salary.” He then quoted the State Constitution, “membership in any pension or retirement system of the state or of a civil division thereof shall be a contractual relationship the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Vince Toomey, labor counsel for the Town of Southampton, said  “The union has been very consistent, Mr. Greenberg laid out these points and I understand the union’s position – and I don’t agree with hardly any of it.”

Toomey handed out a letter which was sent to the state in 1971, stating that, “If the town of Southampton elects to adopt the optional 20 year retirement plan for its town police department, each member of such department shall be separated from service at the end of 20 years unless service is extended by the town board on an annual basis.” The letter was drafted by the Town of Southampton and the PBA. Toomey added that it was important to “honor your agreements.”

 “The New York State comptroller seems to agree with our interpretation,” Greenberg said. “It outlines who the employer is and it would suggest that there are four separate plans that this is in fact accurate — the concern is those individuals that have been excluded from this.”

The lawyers continued to argue over their interpretation of the retirement laws. Toomey said the statutes are supposed to be read together.

“If you have two statutes you can harmonize. You are not supposed to read these as one nullifies the other,” he said.

But Greenberg stated that there is an “inability to harmonize retirement plans – we can continue to disagree because harmonizing of statutes will not work in this instance.”

Greenberg also suggested that the town used an unfair criteria in determining which individuals would be left off the list for continuation of service.

Kabot explained that former supervisor Patrick “Skip” Heaney asked Chief Overton to produce a list at the end of last year of officers he would keep on the list for continued service. Chief Overton says he relied on a five-year review of attendance and evaluated officers with 20 years of service or more, and then proposed a list to give to the board this past year excluding the six who had missed more days.

“Sick time wasn’t taken into consideration. It was actual days worked,” said Overton in explaining how he made his decision.

Harry Greenberg, another attorney for the PBA, commented, “This is the first time I’m reading Patrick Heaney’s statement and nowhere in here does it say what criteria the chief should use. What’s interesting is — having never met Chief Overton, but working with chiefs across the county — I know that he knows there is more to look at than the number of times an officer comes to work.”