By Stephen Witt
Two eagle-eyed cops on routine patrol chased down and collared an alleged cell phone thief on the run in Coney Island last month. The bust stopped a pattern of similar robberies and earned police officer Michelle Gangi and Sgt. Glenn Amico November “Cops of the Month” awards at the recent 60th Precinct Community Council meeting. “We come on this job for various reasons, but there is nothing finer for a cop than to catch a bad guy who just took someone’s property,” said Dep. Inspector Richard Johnsen, commanding officer of the 60th Precinct, in handing out the certificates. “It’s hard work, though. The bad guy’s job is trying not to get caught and it’s our job to catch them,” he added. The incident for which the cops received the award unfolded near the end of Gangi and Amico’s shift, about 3:15 p.m., November 17, as they drove around West 5th Street and Neptune Avenue on routine patrol. “Michelle sees this guy running across the street and thinks aloud, ‘What’s this guy running for?’” recalled Amico. Amico said at the same time there was a person standing nearby who looked over at the two cops. They pulled up to him and were told that the guy running just took a cell phone from a woman. “Michelle kind of knew the area around the Trump Village so we doubled around to the back of the building and we ran right into him,” said Amico. The two quickly made the arrest without incident and recovered the cell phone. It was Gangi’s second robbery collar of the month. She has been in the NYPD for five years – all in the 60th Precinct – and grew up in Bensonhurst. Amico is a 16-year veteran who advises new cops to try to make sure they enjoy the work and to never lose sight of why they became a cop, which is to help people. “It also helps to get a good partner like Gangi. She has a lot of talent. I always try to find good partners. It makes me look good,” said Amico, wryly. Amico said he backed into the profession while living in Manhattan and making friends with a local beat cop who convinced him to take the police test. “I never really wanted to do it. I backed into it, went to the academy and fell in love with it ever since,” said Amico. “I love the helping of people. It allows you to look in the mirror every day and say, ‘Wow, I did okay,’” he added.