Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor Village Police"

UPDATE: Armed Suspect of Violent Bridgehampton Home Invasion Sought

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By Tessa Raebeck

Southampton Town Police, in pursuit of an armed suspect from an earlier home invasion, sealed off the Huntington Crossway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on Tuesday evening at about 7:30 p.m., according to multiple reports from witnesses.

Sag Harbor Village Police Clerk Gigi Oberlander confirmed Wednesday that the Southampton Town Police Department had called Sag Harbor police to the scene as backup, asking them to maintain the perimeter because a suspect was at large.

Sag Harbor police assisted in searching several properties, but the suspect could not be found, and the investigation remains with the Southampton Town Police, who declined to comment Wednesday.

Tuesday evening, a Bridgehampton resident told the Sag Harbor Express that police officers were on the Huntington Crossway armed with automatic weapons. Several minutes later, another passerby told the Express they were driving by the scene and saw cops with shotguns. A police helicopter arrived shortly thereafter, other residents said.

Another Bridgehampton resident was notified by a friend in the police department that police were searching for a male suspect armed with a firearm in the neighborhood.

A Sag Harbor police officer, speaking anonymously, said Southampton Town Police were called to a home invasion by an armed man on the Huntington Crossway on Tuesday afternoon. Police could not find the man at that time but were called back several hours later after receiving word that the suspect had returned to the neighborhood.

UPDATE: In a press release issued late Wednesday, Southampton Town Police confirmed they had received a call of a “burglary in progress” at a residence on Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton on Tuesday at approximately 11:31 a.m. Upon arrival, officers were told there was a 26-year-old male upstairs who was a victim of violence. Once the scene was secured, the man was transported by ambulance to Southampton Hospital, where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries.

An initial investigation of the site revealed to police that a man possessing a handgun had forced entry into the residence by violently shoving a 51-year-old woman when she answered the door. After entering the house, the armed man went upstairs and demanded that the 26-year-old victim give him money. The robber then hit the man repeatedly with the handgun and stole multiple electronic devices from the home, before fleeing on foot.

With the assistance of Sag Harbor Village Police and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, Southampton Town Police searched the area but were unable to find the armed man. The Southampton Town Police Detective Unit is undergoing an investigation into the incident. They have ascertained that the residence was not selected randomly, but targeted for the crime.

Arrests Made in Corner Closet Case

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Police respond to the scene of an armed robbery at The Corner Closet in November. 

By Kathryn G. Menu; Michael Heller photograph

Two individuals have been arrested in connection with the November armed robbery of the Corner Closet in Sag Harbor, according to Sag Harbor Village Police Detective Jeffrey Proctor, although he would not provide details in what has become a federal case.

“Two people are in custody with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and have been remanded without bail,” said Det. Proctor on Monday. Det. Proctor would not name the individuals or the charges they face, citing an ongoing federal investigation. Calls to U.S. Attorney Raymond Tierney, with New York’s eastern district office, were not returned as of press time.

Det. Proctor did allow that one of the arrests occurred in early January and involved a male suspect. After speaking with officials at the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the case, Det. Proctor said village police believed there could be a connection to the Corner Closet case.

“After putting that individual in a photo spread, the victim was able to positively identify the male subject,” he said.

Det. Proctor remained mum on details about the second arrest made by federal authorities in connection to the case, including the gender of the individual.

Seena Stromberg, the owner of the Corner Closet—a high-end vintage consignment clothing and jewelry store—reported on November 19 that a man and a female accomplice entered her store around 5:50 p.m. and the man held a gun to her head before dragging her to the back of the store and restraining her arms and legs. The couple, described as Hispanic and in their late 20s to early 30s, stole clothing and jewelry from the store, according to police, before fleeing in what police believe was a domestic four-door white sedan.

Ms. Stromberg was able to free herself, and around 6:25 p.m., she asked a pedestrian on Main Street to contact police.

In addition to the male and female Ms. Stromberg reported as being responsible for restraining her and stealing numerous goods from the store, police also sought another suspect—described as a Hispanic male, 25 to 35 years old—who police said entered Illusions jewelry store on Main Street, making similar statements as those made to Ms. Stromberg by the other couple. No goods were reported taken from the Illusions jewelry store.

“I am glad this case has come to a close,” said Det. Proctor. “I hope this puts any doubts to rest and eases the minds of business owners on Main Street.”

Alleged Counterfeit Culprit Collared

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By Kathryn G. Menu

This week, Sag Harbor Village Police arrested Daniel L. Gonzalez, 32, of Ozone Park in connection with a case involving counterfeit $100 bills police said he tried to use at village businesses this January.

On January 7, around 11 a.m. police said Gonzalez went to Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop on Division Street and intentionally used a $100 counterfeit bill, which the clerk at that store accepted. Police said Gonzalez then went to the neighboring Sag Harbor Beverage Store where he also attempted to use what police believe was another counterfeit $100 bill before he was rebuffed by a store employee.

An employee of Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop contacted police immediately and provided a detailed description of the suspect. Detective Jeffrey Proctor took charge of the investigation, which culminated in Gonzalez’s arrest by Sag Harbor Village Police on Wednesday morning at LaGuardia Airport.

During the course of his investigation, Detective Proctor made contact with different individuals connected to Gonzalez, and over time the detective was able to obtain a photo of his suspect. He used it in a photo lineup where victims identified Gonzalez as the man responsible for using the counterfeit money.

Gonzalez has no prior convictions, noted Detective Proctor, which made the case more difficult to crack in terms of finding an image for victims to positively identify him and also in tracking down Gonzalez west of the East End.

However, a source contacted Detective Proctor with information that Gonzalez intended to fly from New York to Ft. Lauderdale out of LaGuardia Airport, setting the stage for the Port Authority Police Department to pick up Gonzalez and read him his Miranda rights.

“This was just a case of some good, old fashioned police work yielding results,” said Detective Proctor following the arrest.

Gonzalez was transferred personally from LaGuardia Airport to the Sag Harbor Village Police Department headquarters by Detective Proctor and officer John Natuzzi, where he was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument and attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument — both felonies – and held for arraignment.

Community Rallies Around Accident Victim

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Many Sag Harbor residents think of Jhenny Bueno Arias much as Saqib Hameed does — bright, affable, hard working and great with children. Those are the qualities that made her shine for many who frequent the 7-Eleven where Arias and Hameed work at in Sag Harbor.

Since Arias, 36, was struck by a Jeep while walking home from work on January 15, community members have rallied around the single mother of four, donating roughly $1,600 through a bake sale at 7-Eleven and another $2,000 in donation jars.

According to Hameed — the manager at 7-Eleven and a friend of Arias — the injuries she suffered as a result of the accident will likely leave her thousands more in debt. This is why Hameed, working with several other residents, has vowed to continue fundraising to aid Arias, who as a single mother was the breadwinner for her four children.

On January 15, around 7:30 p.m. Arias was struck while crossing Brick Kiln Road at the intersection of Main Street. She was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center where she was treated for a number of injuries including a punctured lung, broken ribs and a fractured hip and pelvis, among others, said Hameed.

The 60-year-old East Hampton driver involved in the accident was not injured and police did not charge him with a crime.

Hameed said Arias, who is a Sag Harbor resident, was sent home from the hospital this week, largely because of her lack of health insurance. Her injuries have still left her unable to walk, said Hameed.

Hameed said he was working to get her into a serious rehabilitation program for her injuries. Arias did start physical therapy earlier this week and does have help from her older son, he added, but medical bills and household expenses are piling up and fundraising is necessary, said Hameed.

Hameed has recently begun asking people to donate to Arias cause by making a check payable to Jhenny Bueno Arias and dropping it off at 7-Eleven or mailing it to P.O. Box 3134, Sag Harbor, New York 11963.

Hameed has been aided in the fundraising effort, he said, by Julie Adamski and Delia Chicka, who helped organize a bake sale that raised over $1,600 for Arias.

“Everyone has already been so supportive, it makes me very happy to live here,” said Hameed. “We have such a loving and helping community in Sag Harbor. I am very grateful for Jhenny.”

Sag Harbor Village & PBA Continue Negotiations

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On Tuesday morning, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, accompanied by its attorney, met behind closed doors with Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Milazzo and the PBA’s labor attorney as the two entities attempt to negotiate a new police contract for the Sag Harbor Village Police force. Members of the force have been working without a contract for over a year now.

Negotiations between the village and PBA have been noticeably strained over the last six months, with Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride even exploring having an outside police agency provide police services in the village in the wake of the growing cost of the department. Much of the increases stem from not just salaries, but rising health care and pension costs.

Currently, Sag Harbor Village uses about $2 million of its annual $8 million budget to pay for the Sag Harbor Village Police Department, before benefits are factored into the equation. The annual average compensation for officers in the department is $183,884, with the average base salary coming in around $104,000.

While Mayor Gilbride has backed off the idea of bringing another department into Sag Harbor to run police services, either partially or completely, he continues to state the village board must devise a way to ensure it can afford to have a police department.

On Tuesday, following the meeting, Mayor Gilbride said Milazzo made another proposal to the village that is not public information as it is a part of an ongoing contract negotiation. He did allow the proposal was lower than the 4.5 percent salary increase requested when the PBA first began negotiations with the village, but declined to elaborate.

“We gave our attorney some direction and expect to hear from him in a week to 10 days,” said Gilbride. “I expect we will make a counter proposal, but I am one of four people on this board so it is premature to even say that with certainty.”

East End Looks West as Locals Aid in Hurricane Sandy Recovery Effort

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By Kathryn G. Menu; Photography by Michael Heller

On Saturday morning last week, a group of volunteers left Sag Harbor in two ambulances and another SUV, headed to Queens to offer relief and supplies to the residents of Broad Channel and Far Rockaway.

What they saw when they arrived were neighborhoods literally devastated by Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter that followed the week after the super storm made landfall in southern New Jersey. It was a stark contrast to the damage inflicted on most of the East End, where erosion, power outages and gas shortages marked a majority of the impact Sandy had on this part of Long Island. Further west, lives were changed forever, many washed away with rising floodwaters.

It was for this very reason that over a week ago Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps President Ed Downes, having just received a brand new ambulance purchased solely through donations, decided to give its 2002 modular ambulance to the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department, located on a narrow channel island connecting Queens and the Rockaways.

His effort was quickly doubled by Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano, who spent four days packing the ambulance with canned goods, dog food, water, blankets and other supplies.

On Saturday morning three emergency service personnel and a photographer joined Downes and Fabiano on the trip west. As soon as they turned off the Cross Island Parkway and onto Cross Bay Boulevard, which took the group down through Howard Beach and into Broad Channel headed towards the Rockaways, much changed. Traffic lights were out, but roads were busy — cars negotiated intersections by being patient with each other. Travelling over the bridge to Broad Channel, debris and leaves had climbed over five and a half feet up a chain link fence — a watermark for how high the tide rose.

“The streets were covered in mud and had debris all over them,” said photographer Michael Heller. “You could see they had tried to clear them, but there was stuff literally everywhere. We saw a boat in the middle of a median. The houses that were totally wrecked were closer to the ocean, but you could see a lot of the ones still standing sustained a lot of water damage. I am sure they all had to be gutted.”

As the journey took them onto Noel Road, where the Broad Channel Fire Department headquarters resides, generators were posted on corners and a large police presence was found in the area.

When they arrived, a volunteer with the department, Tom Moss, greeted the group at the department headquarters, a small building that had clearly been flooded significantly during the storm.

“They had both of their ambulances out, but they were ruined and they had another on site that needed some work,” said Downes. “One of their fire trucks was incinerated from the inside out because of a short during the flooding. They had another truck, usually just for parades, in service and another on loan.”

“It really hit you hard how lucky we got and how horrible some of the things are these people have to go through,” said Chief Fabiano. “Some don’t have anything left, others have been without power for weeks. It was very sad.”

“Hurricane Sandy wiped out every vehicle we have — fire trucks, engines, fly cars, boats — we lost everything,” said Broad Channel Fire Department Lieutenant Frank Pasterak. “We put out some feelers to try to get some help from out of state companies, and Sag Harbor was one of the first ones to come back to us … Sag Harbor’s ambulance is definitely a big home run for us to get back in service — it’s helping us out a lot.”

According to Lieutenant Pasternak, the response for aid has been overwhelming.

“Whatever we needed, we got — clothes, food — everyone has helped us out with everything,” said Pasternak. “We’re overstocked with everything, and everyone in town is getting what they need right away. Not just the city and the state; there are other countries, like Ireland, who sent some workers down to help.”

Chief Tracey Moccio said she was “eternally grateful” for Sag Harbor’s donation.

Despite the devastation, Lieutenant Pasternak said the department was already back up and running, and was needed through the region. While the ambulance was being delivered, it received its first call, for a man up the block with a nail in his chin.

Moss would take the team south to Breezy Point, where they spent an hour unloading the supplies Chief Fabiano had collected in Sag Harbor. The clothing was later transported back to Broad Channel after a woman with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) informed them she was no longer accepting clothing. Four trailers were already filled to the brim.

“I am just really grateful for everyone in the village who donated towards this cause,” said Chief Fabiano. “This kind of experience really wakes you up. I don’t even want to think what would have happened if we sustained a direct hit. We were very fortunate.”

This group is one of many from East Hampton and Southampton that have dedicated themselves towards the relief effort. A Saturday night benefit concert at LTV Studios in East Hampton, organized by local musicians and government leaders like Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, raised over $34,000 that will directly benefit organizations like the Salvation Army and Island Harvest in their relief efforts.

Sag Harbor’s Wendy Tarlow and her partner, Claudia Patino, have also dedicated themselves to the relief effort since their televisions first started working a few days after Hurricane Sandy passed.

“It was right away we knew we had to do something,” said Tarlow.

Patino was literally rebuilding houses in Island Park, N.Y. on Monday and began recruiting helpers on Tuesday via Facebook.

The two have also organized several relief drives, most recently putting together backpacks filled with supplies for schoolchildren. Residents can bring donations to Our Gig Two Whatever, 56 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

East End Cares is a group of local residents dedicated to providing relief for residents in the Rockaways, Staten Island and New Jersey. Using a Facebook page, the organization has been a focal point for volunteers on the East End lending a hand further west. It can be accessed by visiting www.facebook.com/groups/EastEndCares.

“The reality is this kind of relief effort is going to need to go on for several months,” said Tarlow. “People lost everything. It’s time for us to help them rebuild.”

Sag Harbor Trustees Push Forward Plans for Outside Police Services

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Any question about whether or not the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees was bluffing as a means of strong-arming the Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association (PBA) into a contract agreement when it talked about looking elsewhere for police services was answered on Friday morning.

After a two-hour executive session on Friday, the trustees voted 3-1 to authorize Sag Harbor Village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and the village’s labor attorney Vincent Twomey to draft an early retirement incentive package for eligible village police officers. In addition, they were instructed to draft an inter-municipal agreement between the Village of Sag Harbor and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office for police service.

Trustee Kevin Duchemin voted against the resolution.

In an exploratory fashion, Thiele will now begin to look at what other municipalities have done in terms of shared police services.

“To say there are a lot of details and issues out there would be an understatement,” said Thiele on Wednesday. “Really, this is the village doing its due diligence and examining the legal issues involved.”

Thiele acknowledged that if the village board tells him to strike a deal with the Suffolk County Sheriffs’ office he is authorized to do so, but that “we have not proceeded far enough for that to happen yet.”

What has happened, however, is it does appear that the sheriff’s have edged out East Hampton and Southampton Town Police Departments as the favored candidate for sharing police services.

This summer, facing a stalled contract negotiation with the PBA, the village board asked all three agencies to submit proposals to provide police services in the village.

Village police officers have been working without a new contract for more than a year.

On Monday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said the village has received proposals from the sheriffs as well as East Hampton Town, but not from Southampton Town. He said the Suffolk County Sheriffs have currently offered the most competitive proposal.

The contents of the proposal have not been made public.

According to Mayor Gilbride, the Sheriffs have stated — in writing — that they could provide two police officers and cars for all shifts in Sag Harbor at a cost of $923,000, far below the over $2 million budget of the Sag Harbor Village Police Department.

However, according to Gilbride, he would like to see the village maintain its police department, but cut the number of officers from 12 to six, having another agency provide police services during the shifts not covered by members of the local department. Gilbride said the sheriff’s office has estimated the village could save between $400,000 and $600,000 annually if it took this route.

The mayor added that negotiations with the PBA, which are in arbitration, have continued to be “unproductive.” Gilbride and trustee Ed Gregory met with PBA President Patrick Milazzo last week, but failed to come to any agreement on a new contract.

“They do a great job and we love these guys, but when looking at these costs it is just a question if such a small village can afford this,” said Gilbride.

For Duchemin, who voted against the resolution, this is not what he believes the residents of Sag Harbor want.

“I can understand where the mayor is coming from,” said Duchemin on Wednesday. “His whole mindset is to save the taxpayers money; but I hear nothing but positive things from the taxpayers about the department and a lot of them are wondering why we would get rid of them.”

Duchemin said one resident even showed him his tax bill and remarked on how little he is paying for comprehensive police services.

The PBA, he added, would never be able to pare down its contract to provide the village with the kind of savings it is looking at if it contracts with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office.

“But until this is approved by the Suffolk County Legislature this isn’t going anywhere,” added Duchemin, adding he wonders if the legislature or even Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone knows what is being proposed behind closed doors.

 

Update: Motorcyclist In “Grave Condition” After Wednesday Night Accident

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A motorcyclist that was airlifted last week after losing control of his vehicle and rear ending a car driving in front of him on Route 114 in North Haven is still being treated at Stony Brook University Medical Center and according to Southampton Town Police is listed in “grave condition.”

Santiago V. Velay, 34, of Florida was identified as the driver of the motorcycle on Monday morning.

According to Southampton Town Police Velay collided with another driver on Route 114 at Fresh Pond Road in North Haven on Wednesday, September 5.

According to Southampton Town Police, around 7:05 p.m. they received a call from a passing motorist reporting an accident in North Haven. Police said the caller stated a motorcyclist was down in the roadway and was not moving. Southampton Town Police Officers and Sag Harbor Police Department Officers were dispatched to the scene as well as the Sag Harbor Ambulance personnel. The Sag Harbor Fire Department and Southampton Town Police Traffic Control Officers were also dispatched to the scene to assist with a road closure while the accident was being investigated.

The investigation revealed that Velay was operating a 2000 Honda motorcycle northbound on  Route 114 when he struck a 2003 Jeep Liberty that was also being operated northbound on 114. The operator and sole occupant of the Jeep was not injured. Velay was transported by Suffolk County Police Department Helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital.

The accident closed the Lance Corporal Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge for several hours. Both vehicles were impounded to the Southampton Town Police Headquarters for safety checks. The accident remains under investigation by Southampton Town Police Detectives.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Southampton Town Police Detective Division at 631-702-2230.

Diesel Fuel Spill Reported in Sag Harbor

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Sag Harbor Village Police received two reports of diesel fuel spilling from a vessel docked at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club last week, the latter prompting calls to the United States Coast Guard, which located the departing vessel in Gardiners Bay.

On Wednesday, July 11, Sag Harbor Village Police said they received a call reporting “a slight fuel spill,” at the yacht club. According to the incident report, police spoke with Darrin Dutoit, the captain of the motor yacht NCH who told them two-to-three gallons of diesel fuel spilled out of the fuel vent. Dutoit was issued a uniform traffic ticket by village police for violating village code.

However, on July 12, another caller phoned village police to report the same vessel was discharging diesel fuel again, prompting police to call Sag Harbor Village Harbor Master Bob Bori and the United States Coast Guard after learning the yacht had already left the Sag Harbor Yacht Club. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was also called.

According to the incident report filed with police, “a large amount” of diesel fuel was in the water. The Coast Guard located the boat off Cedar Point in East Hampton.

According to Bori, who said he believed about 10-gallons of diesel fuel had been spilled during the incident, the Coast Guard boarded NCH and said they would conduct an formal investigation into what occurred. The Coast Guard team was unavailable as of press time to discuss the incident.

Bori added that the NYSDEC did issue a summons.

According to the incident report, the Sag Harbor Yacht Club immediately began cleanup procedures. The Coast Guard also sent in its spill response team to deal with the situation, said Bori.

Bori said while he could not confirm the cause of the spill, he believed the rear tank could have been filled to capacity with fuel leading to excess fuel spilling out of the fuel vent. The other possibility for how an incident like this would occur, he said, was if a transfer was being made from one fuel tank to another.

According to Bill Fonda, a spokesman with the NYSDEC, the Coast Guard was leading the investigation, but he believed as much as 80-to-100 gallons could have been spilled off the vessel.

On Wednesday morning, Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait said he was called by the Breakwater Yacht Club after the second spill occurred, the youth sailing program director seeing fuel in the water.

“It was pervasive in the harbor that day,” said Tait. “You could smell it.”

Drug-Sniffing Dogs Brought to Pierson

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By Claire Walla

Last Thursday around 8:45 a.m., Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols got on the intercom and told students to remain in their classrooms.  Suffolk County Police were on the premises, he explained — drug-sniffing dogs in tow.

Two dogs from the county’s K-9 unit performed a quick sweep of middle and high school lockers on June 7 with negative results.  Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto said no illegal substances or related contraband were found.

According to Sag Harbor Village Police, which sent patrol units to the school to supervise the search, the entire operation took 14 minutes.

In an interview this week, Dr. Gratto confirmed the county’s K-9 unit was not brought to the school as the result of a specific incident.

“We wanted to get [the drug-sniffing dogs] in before the end of the school year,” he said.

Dr. Gratto added that the district had arranged for the dogs to come in on two other occasions, but the date kept getting pushed back due to school conflicts, one of which was state testing.

“It went quite smoothly,” Dr. Gratto continued, adding that he has not received any complaints from parents.

The decision to bring drug-sniffing dogs to the campus was preceded in February with the adoption of a policy on the “Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs.”  The policy details the process of bringing drug-sniffing dogs onto the Pierson campus, which allows the administration to bring the dogs in unannounced.

As for whether or not those in the district can expect to see similar instances in the future, Dr. Gratto could not say for sure.

“It’s a tool,” he began, “along with other preventative measures, that can be used occasionally to let kids know they can’t bring drugs to school.”