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Police Blotter: Van careens into empty storefront at 175th Street and Jamaica Avenue

By Staff Writers

JAMAICA – An out-of-control van sent pestrians running for cover Saturday after it careened off Jamaica Avenue and crashed through the storefront of an empty insurance business office.

Only the driver, whose name was not released, was injured in the crash, which happened about noon Saturday, authorities said.

The office building, at the corner of 175th Street and Jamaica Avenue, housed a travel agency and insurance office. The front section, where the van had smashed through the glass main entrance, normally served as the waiting area for customers. There were also two desks in the ruined area.

EMS workers and witnesses, standing in a cold, driving rain at the scene, said the male driver most likely was drunk.

They said the van, traveling westbound on Jamaica Avenue, crossed over into the oncoming lane and careened into the storefront, which stood on the eastbound side.

The store happened to be empty at the time, witnesses said. “A lot of people would have gotten hurt if they were sitting in there,” said Jamaica resident Manuel Tavarec.

Five Fire Department units responded to the call, which came in at 12:01 p.m., said Joseph Leoncavello, a Fire Department spokesman. He said there were no other injuries.

Man shot in Sunnyside during robbery attempt

SUNNYSIDE – A 29-year-old man was shot at several times when three men apparently tried to rob him early Tuesday, police said.

Luiz Rodriguez, 29, was shot once in the chest and right arm at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Detective Madelyne Galindo, a police spokeswoman.

There were no arrests and an investigation was continuing.

Richmond Hill man arrested on murder conspiracy charge

JAMAICA – A Guyanese immigrant was arrested Saturday for conspiring to murder his estranged spouse and in-laws, police said.

Jerome Persuda, 35, of Richmond Hill and a native of Guyana, had tried to hire someone to kill his wife and her parents, said Detective Joseph Pentangelo, a police spokesman.

He was arrested in Jamaica after a joint investigation by U.S. Customs officials and narcotics police, Pentangelo said.

Persuda was charged with three counts of conspiracy.

Ozone Park man arrested on criminal trespassing charge

OZONE PARK – A Sanitation worker was arrested at his home Sunday after a neighbor charged him with trespassing, police said.

John Peska, of 89-10 Gold St., got into an argument with his neighbor and he allegedly forced his way into the neighbor's home, said Officer Cheryl Cox, a police spokeswoman.

The neighbor called police and Peska, an employee of the city Sanitation Department, was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing at about 5:15 p.m., Cox said.

Man stable after being shot on Rockaway Boulevard

SOUTH OZONE PARK – A man was shot in the leg by an unidentified suspect while walking on Rockaway Boulevard early Tuesday, police said.

The shooting happened at 131-01 Rockaway Blvd. at 3:11 a.m. Tuesday, said Detective Madelyne Galindo, a police spokeswoman. The man was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was listed as stable, Galindo said.

There were no arrests and a motive was not known.

Ozone Park market robbed

OZONE PARK – Police were searching for the person who stole more than $240,000 in grocery goods and cash from the Fine Fare supermarket Monday night.

The burglary happened at about 8:45 p.m. Monday, when the suspect got into the supermarket at 84-12 97th Ave. through an unlocked loading dock doorway, said Officer Theresa Farello, a Police Department spokeswoman.

The suspect stole more than $200,000 worth of grocery store items and $40,000 in cash from an ATM inside the store, Farello said.

Police have not made any arrests and an investigation continued.

Jackson Heights man gets 37 years for manslaughter

KEW GARDENS – A Jackson Heights man was sentenced last week to at least 37 years in prison for killing his wife, son and sister-in-law in 1997, authorities said.

Israel Otero, 55, of 35-05 72nd St., was convicted last month on three counts of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced last week. Judge Arthur Cooperman imposed the sentence, the maximum allowable under the law, on March 8.

“This was a senseless act of violence visited by the defendant against his wife, her sister and his young son,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “The sentence is more than justified.”

According to testimony at the trial, Otero had been arguing with his estranged wife and sister-in-law, who wanted him to move out of their home, on the evening of Sept. 8, 1997. He shot both women four times and then shot his 12-year-old son, the DA's office said.

Man drives to hospital after being stabbed in car

JACKSON HEIGHTS – A 20-year-old man drove himself to the hospital Sunday after being stabbed several times while fending off three men trying to steal his car, police said.

The man was driving a 1990 Toyota Camry west on Northern Boulevard when he stopped at a red light at 100th Street at about 7:30 a.m., said Officer Cheryl Cox, a police spokeswoman.

Three men accosted him on the driver's side of the car and tried to steal the vehicle, Cox said. He was stabbed numerous times on the left side of the face and body.

The man drove away and arrived at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, where he was treated, Cox said. There were no arrests, no weapon was recovered, and police were searching for three Hispanic men.

Police look for suicidal girl, young boy in Jackson Hts.

JACKSON HEIGHTS – Police were searching for a 13-year-old girl who might be suicidal and a 12-year-old boy, who were last seen at a friend's house Tuesday night.

Melanie Lartiga, of 78-04 32nd Ave., is 5-foot-3, Hispanic, and 100 pounds and was last seen wearing a white bubble jacket, a pink sweater, black jeans and black shoes, said Detective Madelyne Galindo, a police spokeswoman.

She was with 12-year-old Kristen Forde, of 33-53 82nd St., who is 5-foot-8, white, and 145 pounds, Galindo said. He has black hair and was wearing a blue Old Navy pullover and blue jeans.

The two were last seen at about 9 p.m. Tuesday at a friend's home at 32-66 80th St., Apt. 1E, Galindo said. She said Lartiga was considered to be suicidal.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 115th Precinct at 533-2002. All calls will be kept confidential.

111th Precinct releases anti-burglary tips

BAYSIDE-The 111th Police Precinct has released some hints that may help homeowners avoid burglaries:

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