By -Tom Tracy
Cops from the 63rd Precinct seem to be driving purveyors of the illegal dollar van trade crazy, according to statistics released by the Brooklyn Avenue stationhouse Monday. Officials said that cops participating in a re-invigorated dollar van crackdown under the leadership of 63rd Precinct Captain Frank Cangiarella have written 123 Taxi and Limousine Commission summonses and 70 moving violations in the last month alone. Seven illegal van drivers have been arrested – mostly for driving on suspended licenses – and 70 dollar vans have been seized in the same time period, officials said. The crackdown coincides with Cangiarella’s decision to remove police barricades from the residential streets surrounding Kings Plaza, where dollar van drivers pick up most of their customers. The captain ordered the barricades removed over the objections of several elected officials and block residents, replacing them with squad cars. “We’re doing great now,” said one high-ranking officer from the 63rd Precinct. “You can travel all the way down from the Marine Parkway Bridge to Flatbush and never get held up by a dollar van.” The dollar van issue has been a divisive issue for years, with shoppers at Kings Plaza welcoming the added transportation and residents living around the mall complaining about the added traffic. Some residents have complained in the past about disruptive confrontations with dollar van drivers, who idle, litter and sometimes urinate in front of their homes. Bolstering their fact that some dollar van drivers are up to no good, police announced that they are looking for a particular dollar van driver who has been accused of stealing from one of his passengers. A young woman told police that she was on her way to Rogers Avenue sometime after midnight on February 9 when she boarded a white dollar van she found near Kings Plaza. The van had only gotten to the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue L when the driver, described only as a black male, announced that he didn’t want to take her any further, officials said. The two argued, with the young woman ultimately disembarking from the van. But before she stormed off, the van driver jumped out, grabbed her wallet, which was in her hands, vaulted back into the van and sped off, officials said. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call the 63rd Precinct at (718) 258-4411. All calls will be kept confidential.